IoT is rapidly revolutionizing the healthcare industry, creating efficiencies, bringing new innovations to market, and ultimately improving patient outcomes. Research from Accenture Consulting reports that 73 percent of healthcare executives believe IoT will be “disruptive” within three years. However, only 49 percent of healthcare executives state that their leaders completely understand what the IoT means for the industry.
Despite the lack of clarity, there are three use cases that are already making rapid strides in healthcare IOT: Mobile Personal Emergency Response System (mPERS), outpatient monitoring solutions, and Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) systems for remote workforce monitoring.
Mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems
The World Health Organization predicts that the number of people aged 65 or older is expected to reach nearly 1.5 billion globally by 2050, enabled by significant improvements in life expectancy and healthcare delivery. People are living longer, working longer, and are determined to maintain their independence longer. In fact, 87 percent of adults above 65 in the United States are choosing to stay in their current home and community as they age, according to a survey by AARP. With many of these older adults living alone, more than 40 percent of seniors surveyed by Aging in Place Technology Watch, said they would be likely to use fall detection or location tracking solutions to ensure their safety and security.
mPERS solutions provide aging adults and other at-risk individuals, such as patients who have disabilities, with wearable, push-button systems that signal the need for emergency assistance. Prior to mPERS technology, solutions relied on landline telephone connections to facilitate the medical response service. Today, IoT technologies provide patients with flexible, cellular-based options, enabling them to live independently with connectivity both inside and outside their homes.
Next-gen, IoT-enabled mPERS solutions deliver more than just a simple “panic button.” They provide in-demand services such as automatic fall detection, navigation guidance, and boundary perimeter alerts for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. These solutions are now available in a variety of different form factors, such as pendants and other GPS-capable wearable devices embedded with accelerometer sensor technologies to provide enhanced tracking capabilities.
Healthcare organizations are under increasing pressure to reduce unnecessary patient re-admissions, which contribute to negative patient experiences and pose a significant financial threat. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the cost of treating patients re-admitted within 30 days of discharge is estimated at $41.3 billion annually. The leading cause of preventable readmissions is the recurrence of the initial chronic issue.
In this environment, healthcare providers are increasingly leveraging IoT-enabled patient monitoring solutions to better manage chronic conditions, keep patients healthy, and reduce skyrocketing re-admission costs. IoT-based outpatient monitoring solutions enable healthcare providers to receive critical data from devices such as cardiac monitors (including blood pressure, arrhythmia, and ECG devices), pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, weight scales, and resynchronization therapy devices. These solutions wirelessly transmit medical data to a secure, cloud-based application or platform where medical professionals can assess treatment efficacy, detect anomalies or potential issues, and ultimately reduce hospitalizations, and improve overall patient health.
Electronic Visit Verification Systems
A number of legal and regulatory requirements are driving the need to accurately capture and verify home-based care sessions. In 2016, the United States Department of Justice reported that criminal and civil charges were brought against more than 300 medical professionals for participating in healthcare insurance fraud schemes, totaling approximately $900 million in false billings. In an effort to prevent such fraud, the use of EVV systems is now required for all Medicaid-reimbursed home healthcare providers.
EVV systems utilize connected devices to monitor home healthcare and personal care providers, and to capture onsite patient diagnostics. These solutions typically use tablets or smartphones to collect data, and also utilize GPS functionality to verify location and identity through biometric capabilities such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition. EVV transaction records create auditable records for proof-of-presence as well as billing, scheduling, and tracking, including when service begins and ends, enabling healthcare professionals to validate that patient care has been delivered and insurance claims are accurate.
EVV solutions also facilitate enhanced operational efficiencies and improved patient experiences. Enabling caregivers to update patient-specific information in electronic health records (EHRs) at the point-of-care to allows for accurate and expedient recording of patient information. This reduces the instances of missed patient data, and contributes to a continuity of care that improves patient outcomes.
Navigating Healthcare IoT Implementations
IoT technologies enable healthcare providers to implement transformative, patient-centric treatment options that can significantly improve the quality of care and deliver better outcomes. Successfully implementing healthcare IoT solutions can be complex, requiring strategic planning across a broad range of stakeholders and connected technologies. Critical areas include interoperability, security and scalability.
To learn more about the opportunities in connected healthcare, download the KORE eBook, "IoT: The Key to Improving Patient Outcomes Through Connected Healthcare"