The opportunity for connected devices to transform the healthcare experience for all
Nicole Mather, Life Sciences Lead Partner, IBM Consulting
Putting patients at the centre of a care ecosystem will enable a transformation in the way devices are integrated into care pathways. This can be achieved by designing the digital experience and devices for patients and carers, rather than being restricted by technology functionality or existing processes.
In the future, connected devices will be a central part of healthcare provision, transmitting real-time data that can deliver a range of benefits from monitoring patient health and making informed real-time treatment recommendations, to enabling smarter appointment scheduling and sharing information with manufacturers. For example, triggering preventative maintenance.
In this future vision, the gains are significant and could benefit all users – patients, healthcare providers and manufacturers. Patients will have the opportunity to engage in their treatment more closely, healthcare providers will have options to deliver more personalised and efficient care, and manufacturers will be able to optimise operations whilst extending their solutions to offer value-added services.
Underpinning this vision is data. Capturing, integrating, and managing data effectively is key to achieving a patient-centred healthcare ecosystem and its associated benefits. Making care more personalised and participative will be enabled by data drawn from connected devices to generate insights, which form a continuous feedback loop to enhance care. Any connected device efforts should be underpinned by a robust approach to transparency and data governance.
Now is the time to make a step change to the way care is delivered — previous barriers to achieving a connected healthcare ecosystem are being overcome and governments are streamlining regulation to accelerate the introduction of digital technologies. Data is becoming more available with further work underway. Healthcare is dealing with a significant global workforce shortage which means the opportunities for automation and self-service care models have become an operational imperative.
Successful delivery of this change will be dependent on a user-centred design which enables effective business change, so the workforce embraces new ways of working and additional capacity is created rather than requiring “double-running” services or processes. This has been proven through the pandemic as we witnessed citizens taking control of their healthcare – ordering tests, attending appointments and recording results which help them take care decisions – through a national digital interface.
This is the time for the MedTech industry to begin to take steps to leverage this opportunity, including:
- Taking a patient-centred view to understanding the patient journey and wider clinical pathway;
- Working with patients and carers in an agile way to develop a patient engagement experience;
- Choosing the right platform to accelerate the integration of data to enable insights and support experience; and,
- Supporting engagement and collaboration across the ecosystem.
As the healthcare ecosystem becomes more connected, we are excited to continue to understand and increase the benefit for all users.
Recognising the importance of fostering this complex ecosystem, techUK has formed a new Life Sciences workstream. If you are actively involved or interested in this collaborative work, please get in touch with [email protected].