Remote Care! The Great Healthcare Disruptor

In late October in Boston, Mass., the top minds in healthcare and technology came together at the Connected Health Conference to envision how connected healthcare will transform patient care and the systems used to deliver it, making remote care the standard of care. And right after the conference, as if on cue, Medicare published new reimbursement rules for 2018 that promise to greatly accelerate adoption of effective remote care models.

An increasingly connected world is fueling industries from manufacturing to entertainment with the enormous benefits of merging data with technology, thus enabling end-user interaction in better and more personal ways than ever before. Healthcare is no exception. What the Connected Health Conference demonstrated is that we are at a rare inflection point. Healthcare stakeholders are aligned, aided by the indisputable evidence in efficacy, and with technological breakthrough already underway, the remote care revolution is imminent, set to improve patient access and patient outcomes, while creating efficiencies and lowering costs.

A human checks their blood pressure during a connected health conference in 2017.

Distributing the Delivery of Care

Similar to the sea change that occurred in care delivery with the establishment of the institutional hospital system in the 1800s, the path to transformation today lies in taking patient care from the most expensive place, the hospital, to the least expensive, like a person’s residence. In fact, today’s most dramatic improvements in outcomes—both for the patient and for the system at large—result from the use of some form of remote care, the need and benefit for which has already been widely researched and documented in the industry.

One of the biggest problems we face in healthcare today—aside from prohibitive costs and lack of universal access—is the absence of a cohesive data ecosystem that fuses insights seamlessly into assisting the clinician workflow. Healthcare data today flows through numerous disparate channels that don’t speak to each other. As many industry experts agree, we need to build a dataflow ecosystem into the collaborative workflow of care teams, patients and family simultaneously. Giving people this greater access to their care group through clear, efficient data gathered by the devices they already use will not only improve the quality of care, but it can eliminate unnecessary hospital readmissions and provide a reliable, proactive, and connected continuum of care. This will truly rival the revolutionary changes brought about by the first hospital system two centuries ago.

IoT-enabled devices can help keep humans healthy.

A Vision for Remote Care

Intel Health Application Platform (HAP) is a new category of technology architected to aid the transformation to remote care. When coupled with the Intel-architecture-based design specification implemented by Flex, this software can help enable healthcare solution providers to securely and reliably deliver distributed healthcare services across an always-connected and ever-expanding healthcare edge and to any cloud. When combined with the Flex IoT Compute Engine, the Intel HAP can empower the healthcare industry to develop novel and exciting products and services at the edge with enterprise-grade stability, security, and longevity.

With Intel HAP, solution providers are working to usher in this new age where devices and data are connected regardless of the environment or records that are used, information can be delivered privately and securely to patient and provider, and adverse health events can be avoided rather than responded to.

At the conference, I was also delighted to once again spend some time with Dr. Clayton Christensen, a Harvard professor and one of the world’s top experts on innovation and growth, in discussion of the shared belief that technology and healthcare will merge but only when innovators create the new business models that enable remote patient care in the first place.

Indeed, in order to overcome the barriers to remote care adoption, we need a shift in provider and consumer behavior, a change in the economic model, and to ensure access to technology. Hospitals are already innovating and deploying new models, and better business and health outcomes are happening, helping more people live healthier lives. The road ahead will require not just technologies like IoT, but also new legislation and reimbursement frameworks, so that the technological progress can be sustained by a business model that enables doctors and patients to embrace remote care as a new medical standard of care.

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These 3 technologies will shape the future of healthcare

Transforming healthcare through technology is no longer the Sisyphean task it once was. Technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are all helping to drive change, prevent illnesses, and even reshape healthcare IT.

1. Internet of Things

One executive in the mobility industry recently told me that healthcare is a ‘very careful’ market, which traditionally looks at industries such as defence and avionics and follows suit. Yet progress is being made. For the IoT, there are two benefits: assisting diagnosis and making sure treatment is working. With the latter, for example, sensors are now being piloted in intensive care units. In the former, telephone microphones are now being used to develop algorithms which can assess the early stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“AI is a little behind this, but its scope is potentially more wide-ranging. The key here is in terms of the volume of work; and the fact intelligent health assistants get smarter the more work they do. Millions of samples can be analysed in quick time and patterns gleaned from them. Take CATI as a recent example. The system, short for ‘cognitive automation of time lapse images’, can, alongside aneuploidy screening (PGS), improve embryo selection for pregnancy by preventing the misdiagnosis of mosaic embryos…”

2. Artificial Intelligence

AI is a little behind this, but its scope is potentially more wide-ranging. The key here is in terms of the volume of work; and the fact intelligent health assistants get smarter the more work they do. Millions of samples can be analysed in quick time and patterns gleaned from them. Take CATI as a recent example. The system, short for ‘cognitive automation of time lapse images’, can, alongside aneuploidy screening (PGS), improve embryo selection for pregnancy by preventing the misdiagnosis of mosaic embryos.

3. Blockchain

While these are all fascinating and potentially transformative use cases, they may not stop healthcare from being a risk-averse industry simply due to the sensitivity of the data involved. Blockchain, however, could. By using a secure, distributed ledger, the potential is there to secure patient data in an unprecedented way. There are other benefits too; as one industry executive told me, it will help organisations be more efficient with healthcare budgets, allowing a ‘greater focus on illness prevention rather than cure.’

The combination of blockchain, AI and IoT could therefore be an irresistible one. Patient data secured on the blockchain; AI-enabled assistants and automated health checks cutting time and costs; and millions of ‘things’ connecting the dots and finding better, clearer diagnoses. This is the future of healthcare – and it cannot come soon enough.

(c) istockphoto.com / Antiv3D | deepblue4you

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To find out more about the potential of IoT, blockchain and AI, attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo and AI Expo Global 2018 taking place in London’s Olympia on 18-19 April 2018. You can find out more and register for a free pass here. The event will host 12,000 attendees, a free exhibition of 300+ companies, 500+ speakers across 15 conference tracks. The co-located event series will also host events in Amsterdam and Silicon Valley in 2018.

IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo & AI Expo World Series 2018
Global: 18-19 April 2018, Olympia, London
Europe: 1-2 October 2018, RAI, Amsterdam
North America: 28-29 November 2018, Santa Clara, Silicon Valley

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Apple Watch KardiaBand accessory shows it’s time for IoT in healthcare

Apple Watch KardiaBand accessory shows it’s time for IoT in healthcare

A new watch band from KardiaBand by AliveCor has received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to carry out electrocardiography (EKG).

When the first commercial electrocardiography (EKG) devices were introduced over 100 years ago, they took up considerable space and often required patients to submerge their limbs in jars of salt solution.

A century later, EKG equipment has advanced to the point that it can be integrated into a smartwatch that’s capable of far more besides. AliveCor, the watch band’s creator, is alive to the healthcare opportunities that come with technological advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and electronics.

The Califonia-based company has just announced FDA approval for its device, making it the first sanctioned medical device accessory for Apple Watch and a milestone for IoT in healthcare. The KardiaBand is a replacement watch strap (and accompanying software) for the Apple Watch, containing an sensor module that can discretely capture the wearer’s EKG at any time.

Read more: New wearables options for UnitedHealthcare customers

The KardiaBand smart accessory

The Apple Watch’s integrated heart-rate senor (a photoplethysmogram) uses green and infrared LEDs to measure your arteries expanding and contracting. This is limited to recording what happens after each heart beat. An EKG differs in that it can measure the electrical activity in your heart muscles, revealing a whole host of information on how the heart is behaving, including existing issues and past events.

A touch of the integrated sensor on the KardiaBand accessory triggers a 30 second EKG reading. The results from the Kardia App are then displayed on the Apple Watch.

AliveCor has also introduced SmartRhythm, a new feature that uses AI alongside data from the watch’s heart rate and activity sensors to constantly evaluate the correlation between heart activity and physical activity. When the feature detects that there are disparities between the two, it advises the user to capture an EKG.

“KardiaBand paired with SmartRhythm technology will be life-changing for people who are serious about heart health,” said Vic Gundotra, CEO at AliveCor. “These capabilities will allow people to easily and discreetly check their heart rhythms when they may be abnormal, capturing essential information to help doctors identify the issue and inform a clear path of care to help manage AFib, a leading cause of stroke, and other serious conditions.”

Read more: Real-time medical imaging AI platform Lunit Insight to aid radiologists

Getting to the heart of IoT in healthcare

The most common heart arrhythmia and a leading cause of strokes, atrial fibrillation (AFib) affects over 30 million people worldwide. Many people are unknowingly living with AFib, yet two out of three strokes are preventable when AFib is detected and treated. There is therefore huge scope for accessible real-time monitoring solutions to help prevent major heart-related health issues.

Preventative measures that utilize IoT in healthcare not only stand to benefit the patient, they also go a long way to lowering costs for healthcare services. expensive treatments are avoided and hospital beds freed-up.

“This is a paradigm shift for cardiac care as well as an important advance in healthcare,” said Dr Karlsberg, Cardiologist and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Cedars Sinai Heart Institute and David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. “Today, EKGs are available only in offices and hospitals, using complex equipment, and usually only after a life-threatening event, for example a stroke. With an EKG device on the wrist, AFib can be detected wherever the patient is, 24 hours a day.”

Existing mobile EKG products have limited lifetimes, are highly sensitive to proper placement, can be uncomfortable to use and are often invasive and expensive. For example, EKG patches and Holter monitors can only be worn for a very limited time and loop recorders require surgery to implant them.

KardiaBand is available from $ 199. A $ 99 annual subscription on top offers several optional extras. The service includes SmartRhythm notifications on Apple Watch, unlimited EKG recordings, email sharing, cloud history and reporting, weight and medication tracking, and a mailed monthly report on that period’s readings.

Read more: Healthcare’s three IoT pain points

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Transform Healthcare With Future-Facing Technologies

Never before have there been so many promising breakthrough technologies available – and so many ways to capitalize on them. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to machine learning, cloud to blockchain, analytics, smart devices, and more, these innovations promise to transform industries and offer previously unfathomable possibilities.

By 2025, IoT alone will produce an economic impact of $ 11.1 trillion, of which healthcare will contribute up to $ 3.3 trillion (considering IoT’s usage in human as well as in public health and safety) – according to McKinsey Global Institute.

Roche Diagnostics: Reimagining chronic disease management

But how exactly can these innovative technologies be harnessed to transform healthcare and save lives? Let’s look at how a pioneer is already doing it – Roche Diagnostics.

Roche Diagnostics wanted to reimagine the prevention and treatment of illnesses on a grand scale. It wanted to do so in ways that will empower people to be proactive with their own healthcare. The company had a vision to allow people to age gracefully, without the pain and burden of chronic disease – the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Roche decided to target type II diabetes, an increasing prevalent disease worldwide.

Knowing that diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with diet, physical activity, medication, and regular screening, Roche Diagnostics turned to future-facing technologies – a connected health platform and an open cloud platform-as-a-service providing unique in-memory database and business application services – to create an innovation to that end.

Enter Roche’s Accu-ChekView, a new package that combines a blood glucose monitor, a wearable fitness tracker, and an app. With Accu-ChekView, a patient’s vital signs and blood sugar level can be monitored in relation to their physical activity level in real time. The doctor can observe the patient remotely, and the patient can communicate with the doctor’s office.

Accu-ChekView also fosters a stronger connection between patient and doctor. Patients feel supported and empowered. Lifestyle slip-ups can be caught quickly because the app will red flag the issue, and the doctor and patient can work on solutions together. The innovation has motivated people to take charge of their health and is giving doctors real insights into patients’ lifestyles they never had before.

Pre-diabetic people can now conceivably reverse symptoms and lead a normal, healthy life. And doctors are now learning about the causes of chronic illnesses much faster, with a “bird’s-eye view” of a patient’s life in action.

National Cancer Centre Singapore: Advancing and personalizing cancer treatment

This is not just happening in the western world. Leading organizations in other parts of the world are also harnessing future-facing technologies to revolutionize healthcare.

National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) recently announced a co-innovation project to help clinical research in Singapore as well as advance the treatment and care for cancer patients. Leveraging a sophisticated connected health platform – the first of its kind in Singapore – the platform is targeted to integrate both structured and unstructured data such as clinical and genomic data.

By opening access to critical data held throughout the healthcare system and generating real, actionable insights for researchers and physicians/oncologists, medical professionals will be able to advance treatment and care for cancer patients. Armed with relevant, powerful insights, healthcare practitioners will be able to generate new treatment ideas – from drugs, to devices, to care plans – and deliver the best outcomes for patients. It also enables the medical community to make sense of the growing amount of data derived from advances and digitalization of the medical industry. This includes data such as medical records and biomolecular profiling of a patient’s tumor cells.

NCCS will also tap innovative technologies to gain deeper patient insights and allow the organization to access real-time analysis and reporting that together lead to personalized treatment options.

Tip of the iceberg: A whole new world for healthcare

And this is just the tip of the iceberg in what new breakthrough technologies can offer.

Examples of functions that transformational technologies can enable include applying blockchain to strengthen privacy and security, using machine learning / artificial intelligence to generate timely strategic insights that can vastly improve health outcomes, and helping healthcare organizations or life sciences companies convert unconnected market offerings into data-driven connected products (IoT).

We are talking about a new healthcare world where patients can get personal health dashboards to drive better health outcomes. Healthcare providers can get access to comprehensive and longitudinal patient data sets with personalized decision support. Medical research can understand risk factors for diseases and drivers for better outcomes. And pharmaceutical companies can benefit by having access to real-world evidence to inform their research and development efforts while allowing them to run innovative clinical trials.

The future is nearly here. It’s time to transform!

Find out more about how other leading organizations are capitalizing on innovative breakthrough technologies.


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

How IoT will disrupt healthcare

There are hundreds of proposals for the IoT in the health services. Half of them could be terrible. If only we knew which half! I’m not sure about other countries but whenever I hear about ‘disruptive technology’ and the British National Health Service (NHS), I always feel nervous.

We’ve already wasted £11 billion (€12.31 billion) and rising on a ‘fit for purpose’ programme for IT that wasn’t fit for anything. It would be a brave NHS purchaser that would sign off on any more ‘disruption’. Surely, if they are going to sell the idea, they need a new catchphrase, says Nick Booth, freelance IT and communications writer.

For now, in this sector at least, IoT needs to be a bit less brash and ambitious. We don’t want to see any more flash IT salesmen flaunting their wealth. Acqueon claims its IoT could save the NHS £500 million (€559.72 million) a year. Well, OK, prove it, by taking your payment as a commission on the savings you create.

The savings they are so confident about will come from solving the problem of medication noncompliance – that situation where patients don’t keep taking the pills. This will get worse as our population ages. IoT connected pill boxes don’t miss their doses.

Failing to take medication correctly leads to 200,000 premature deaths in Europe a year. Partly it’s because the old are bamboozled with complicated drug taking regimes. This polypharmacy involves a smorgasboard of pills which have to be taken in varying intervals.

A smart pill box knows when they’ve not been opened and sends automated reminders to the patient. If these messages go answered and the pill box still not opened, the device snitches on you to the clinician who then phones you directly.

Robots are getting old now too. The first robot assistant, the Arthrobot, made its debut in an operating theatre in 1984. Since then, robots have performed surgery on everything in degrees of complexity ranging from eyes and knees to neurosurgery.

Imperial College London created the PROBOT, which first performed prostate surgery at Guy’s & St Thomas’s Hospital in 1992. The robots are starting to take on human characteristics.

They’re starting to leave pieces of equipment in the patients, just like their human counterparts. This is all documented in Adverse Events in Robotic Surgery: A Retrospective Study of 14 Years of FDA Data. The authors from University of Illinois, Michigan Institute of Technology and Rush Medical Center compiled the report from MAUDE data (as in Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience).

In a study of 1.74 million robotic surgical procedures – mostly urological or gynaecological – the data recorded 8,061 device malfunctions, 1,391 patient injuries and 144 patient deaths. Adverse incidents included electrical arcing, sparking or charring of instruments and the falling of broken or burnt pieces into the patient’s body. Such incidents were said to have contributed to 119 injuries and one patient death.

“Clearly, operations utilising robotics are not without their risk, says Greg McEwen, partner at insurance law specialist BLM. As he points out, incidents relating to broken or left behind instruments […]

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