Datica Blog

The Health Internet of Things (IoT)

Travis Good, MD

Travis Good, MD

Co-founder, CEO & Chief Privacy Officer

May 13, 2014   Company

There’s a new research report by GigaOM about what they call the “health internet of things” (health IoT), which is essentially what most people in the industry today describe as “connected health”. It’s inclusive of devices, sensors, apps and other tools that can track an individual’s activity and the other data on that individual. The report delves into the potential and power of that data, specifically the power of that data as it relates to health and wellness and the healthcare industry more broadly. The report’s worth reading if you haven’t see it.

The author Jody Ranck is well respected in the industry and he did a very nice job with the report, laying out in pretty good detail the case for the health IoT and connected health. It includes a lot of good case studies in it. To me, there are several key things which Jody calls out in the report that are worth highlighting.

The first insight is obvious, namely that sensors and individual tracking present huge opportunities in terms of the volume and the value of data on individuals. Connected sensors and devices will dramatically expand data points and dimensions on individuals, providing more value than what has traditionally been captured and used in healthcare.

The second insight is that data alone doesn’t do that much; but, creating intelligent algorithms can. Using health IoT data + algorithms to drive behavior change and shape programs to improve access to health and wellness services is exceptionally valuable.

The third insight is that connected health has largely not been associated with the power and the future of personalized medicine. To date, genomics has held the monopoly on that “personalized medicine”, and with good reason. The argument in the report for personalized medicine is that, through connected health devices and the data they generate, we will have insights into environmental, behavioral, and social data for an individual. Those contexts for an individuals are extremely powerful for a lot of reasons, but one of the major areas that could benefit is healthcare and wellness.

The last point that Jody makes in the report is that there is extreme power and value in combining health IoT data from multiple devices with data from clinical systems. This existing data is present in troves in the industry today. It’s just locked up behind walls and in silos. But those silos are being pried open through Meaningful Use and patient access initiatives.

Tied closely to mashing up of health IoT data with existing clinical data are issues of trust, security, and privacy. Patient device companies, via things like pedometers and home scales, have not traditionally had to worry about compliance. Healthcare is a risk averse industry that is highly regulated, and errs on the side of caution, especially if data from patient devices is merging with clinical data and/or being used to inform care.

We firmly agree with the report that there are paradigm shifts coming to healthcare, and a lot of those shifts are going to be technology and data-driven; but, in order for those shifts to take hold, in order for those shifts to scale, both on the consumer side as well as on the enterprise side, there needs to be a high level of security. There also needs to be transparency into the policies and procedures that manage that security. This is essential to provide the assurances needed for both individuals as well as enterprises that will be using these technologies.

This security and transparency is in the core of how we build our technology at Datica. It’s in our DNA. It’s the compliance and security layer that we want to help vendors, enterprises, and developers address so that they can focus on creating meaningful health IoT applications or the actionable insights or algorithms based on health IoT data. Whether you’re building a mobile app using our compliant cloud or deploying a custom application on our compliant platform, we want to help you build and sell the future of healthcare.

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