Internet of Things Taking Shape

Despite the disappointment of overblown predictions, the Internet of Things is finally taking shape at companies across industries. Initial pilots offer a glimpse of how a tightly interconnected physical and virtual world can drive breakthroughs in clinical staff productivity, organizational efficiency, and entirely new product and service models that radically improve clinical care experiences.

In fact, experimentation is beginning to give way to pilots that progressive organizations are undertaking to advance their digital business agendas. I’d like share one transformative example in healthcare:

Empowering Patients and Improving Clinical Care with Remote Patient Monitoring

With over nine million health plan members and 180,000 employees, this non-profit orga­nization is the largest integrated healthcare provider in the U.S. It has also been one of the most successful in finding innovative ways to reduce costs and increase the convenience of patient care. As part of these efforts, the organization wanted to explore how to improve connectivity between hospitals, clinics and medical devices to empower clinicians with remote, real-time access to patient data.

The Project

TS470145350_edited_webThe healthcare provider worked with Cognizant to create a remote patient-monitoring system prototype that uses smartphones to connect medical devices such as blood pressure monitors, glucose meters and wearable “bracelet” monitors in patients’ homes. The system integrates the data with an existing analytics program used in the organization’s hospitals and gives clinicians a central dashboard for a holistic, near-real-time view of a patient’s health and activities.

In this pilot, patients such as expectant mothers, diabetics and people with Alzheimer’s disease could choose to participate in remote monitoring from their homes, which reduced the number of clinic visits and, as a result, the cost of care. Not only did the health plan save on the cost of manually taking and recording visits, but the remotely collected data could also send automated alerts and provide a broader dataset of vitals recorded across time for clinicians to study, giving them better insight into patient care.

The Value of Internet of Things

As a result of the successful pilot, the healthcare organization is looking to expand the program as it continues to explore how digital technologies can transform the delivery, quality and experience of healthcare.

Getting Started with IoT

A successful approach for IoT programs is to incorporate a rapid ideation and fast prototyping process to explore business opportunities, quickly discard those that don’t work and scale the ones that do. I recommend that healthcare organizations initially identify short-term, “smart process” opportunities, in which you can use IoT to improve existing healthcare practices. A few short term improvements can include:

  • Enhance patient safety through near real-time alerts with remote monitoring of vital signs
  • Reduce in outpatient visits for routine checks and reporting of vital signs
  • Reduce in cost-of-care for the provider as well as for patients
  • Serve more patients without increasing staff or infrastructure
  • Improve care team collaboration, with one view of patient health a
  • Enhance the efficiency and quality of patient care

Then, focus on the long term strategies to create new business models that will radically change how you do business and personalize each patient experience anywhere and at any time.

Learn more about a major healthcare organization’s proof-of-concept.

 

Mehul Shah

Assoc. Director, Engineering Solutions at Cognizant Technology Solutions. Over 19 years of all-round experience with blend of technical, management and consulting skills.