The Alchemy of the IoT and RTC: The Exponential Creation of Value in Wellness & Healthcare
The Internet of Things (IoT) as a stand-alone world of connections without question will continue to grow and make machines more efficient, make the production of goods less expensive, make our energy grid more reliable, our environment more sustainable, and our cities safer.
The growth of the IoT follows decades of growth connecting human beings, a century really when one considers the birth of the telegraph and telephone, followed by the advent of the Internet itself, the Web, telephony, mobile networks, billions of computers, smartphones, tablets and more, connected for human interaction without boundaries.
So it is surprising to me that so little has been written about the intersection of “things and people” and how our interactions with machines and sensors are the real “tipping point” for the radical improvement of life as we have yet to know it – in our immediate future.
Let’s take a look at just healthcare and wellness as a start.
At Kandy, we have been working with some of the most brilliant entrepreneurs and advanced technology companies in the world, providing a real-time communications and connectivity platform at this intersection where machines and machines, people and people, and machines and people are served by the orchestration of billions of “sessions” – transactions that are solving problems and making better science possible.
Take, for example, our work with TeleMedCo and IBM Watson. TeleMedCo’s application makes admissions in the Emergeny Room (ER) exponentially faster and more accurate. Nearly all ER visits commence with a series of questions of the patient and with data secured from various diagnostic devices designed to measure blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and other inputs. These devices are connectable through USB ports or via Bluetooth to telemedicine computers and are capable of giving digital readings to Watson in real-time. The patient record is integrated with the treatment history including all drugs that the patient may be taking and the insurance carrier.
The process won’t change, but the speed of the process and the ability to triage? A world of difference. Kandy is where the humans come in – if a cardiac patient, for example, comes into the ER and the TeleMedCo solution, powered by Watson, immediately indicates a crisis based on the rules in the system and the patient’s medical history, that patient’s cardiologist will receive an alert, can touch one link in that alert, and begin speaking within seconds to the patient and ER team no matter where that cardiologist happens to be.
To avoid ending up in the ER, more and more people are taking charge of their own health and wellness, using applications like MBody360, another application powered by Kandy. This application enables coaches to provide guidance to their clients, reminding them to exercise, eat well, even meditate and take their supplements. For busy people, having a video consult rather than having to physically go into their wellness coach’s office, saves time which can be converted into an hour of yoga. All the data is stored in the cloud, and over time will be analyzed to ensure the best possible protocols, adjustment of habits, and in the aggregate can inform future wellness science helping reduce illness, extend life, ensure a better quality of life, and reduce healthcare costs.
Human sensors will create vast streams of big data throughout our lives, particularly when we consider matching health activity with the human genome or social media. IBM created the Watson Health Cloud in 2015, and said, “With the increasing prevalence of personal fitness trackers, connected medical devices, implantables and other sensors that collect real-time information, the average person is likely to generate more than one million gigabytes of health-related data in their lifetime (the equivalent of more than 300 million books).”
Their highly scalable and secure global information platform is designed for individualized care, providing individualized insights to help people and providers make timely, evidence-based decisions about health-related issues.
The possibilities in wellness and healthcare, where data science, mobile apps, and big data also meet, doesn’t happen without the orchestration of IoT and RTC.
Wearables make the machine and human connection easy to understand and practice, with sensors embedded in or connected to mobile phones, with consumer applications focused on health, fitness and wellness apps.
On the opposite side of the spectrum lie sophisticated sensor devices that capture clinical data, including apps providing patient monitoring and disease support. According to PwC, 86 percent of clinicians believe mobile apps will become important to physicians for patient health management over the next five years, while the FDA continues to review and approve mobile applications just as they do pharmaceuticals and medical devices in the U.S.
One of the most interesting trends Kandy is seeing as we continue to support the development of solutions across the consumer and professional spectrum is telemedicine. It is the natural intersection, with so much natural value (saving time, improving care, reducing costs) that applications created become immediately successful.
This includes one of our most recently announced projects with CoolDoctors. This platform provides one of the world’s first true telemedicine alternatives to eye care professionals, which is helping them provide extremely convenient and effective care through diagnosis of certain issues (dry eye, for example) and follow up care after certain procedures. With their HIPAA compliant mobile app, ophthalmologists are able to improve their relationships with their patients, advance the profession, and provide more data over their secure platform.
The market for measuring and managing humans in the healthcare industry is huge. According to some analysts, the IoT market for healthcare is poised to grow 56% each year through 2019, reaching $15 billion from $4 billion in 2014. Developers are in the driver’s seat with platforms like Apple’s HealthKit, a framework for developers who are building health and fitness services or companies building app-enabled accessories like a Bluetooth compatible heartrate monitor, Google’s Fit SDK, providing APIs with a central data repository being leveraged by partners like Adidas, Nike and Motorola. Neurosky makes biosensors and biometric algorithms for ECG and EEG, addressing stress, fatigue, heart age, attention, and more.
And Kandy, with our expertise in multimedia, multichannel real-time communications, our API friendly platform, and SDK for mobile developers, contributes the means by which humans can receive data and collaborate with each other, whether via messaging, voice chat, videoconferencing, care team collaboration – all in real-time, all the time.
With each and every application we enhance by making it easier to integrate the world of people and machines, the world of data and collaboration, we are creating value by addressing the urgent need to reduce the need for healthcare through prevention and wellness, and making healthcare less expensive, more effective and more intelligent, working with visionary platforms including IBM Watson’s Health Cloud.