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Will the internet of things make doctor visits a thing of the past?

Don’t worry, the days of face-to-face doctor appointments aren’t gone just yet. Well not quite. Whether it’s handheld devices sending data to the doctor ahead of a check-up or proprietary devices monitoring blood-sugar levels in diabetic patients, mobile and digital services are providing healthcare professionals with exciting new ways of monitoring and caring for their patients.

Bring your own examination room

In other industries, the concept of “bring your own device” has existed for some time. Now with the huge popularity of third-party apps available for handheld devices, as well as proprietary devices provided by healthcare companies, the idea that many people are carrying around their own medical examination room in their pockets is not too far a stretch. Harnessing this potential to transform the way we interact with our healthcare provider is the next challenge.

Healthy communications

Interoperability will be a key success factor. Personal and proprietary devices need to work in a seamless manner with the hospitals and other healthcare provider’s solutions and equipment. Data captured through remote monitoring and through privately-owned medical devices needs to be integrated with the patient’s Electronic Medical Record. Security of data and communications is also vital to maintain patient confidentiality and privacy.

No substitute for trained professionals

Technology can be exciting, but let’s not think that data in the form of ones and zeroes can ever replace the interaction between a doctor and their patient. Some experts are warning of an over-reliance by people on non-medically certified applications for alerting them to potential health risks and problems. There is also a risk of over-reaction and focus on the natural fluctuations in the measured levels of say, blood pressure or blood-sugar.

A spoonful of data helps the medicine go down

And just think of all that wonderful data being generated by all those devices! Through the right use of advanced analytics, this data can be used to predict diseases and improve the quality of patient treatment by having a better basis for making the right medical decisions.

In the Nordics, BearingPoint and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) have entered into a strategic partnership to jointly address the needs of the Nordic healthcare market and apply the experience of one of the largest players in the US healthcare market.

According to Dr. Andrew Watson, UPMC, “The consumerization of medicine is the natural evolution of healthcare in the digital era. The consumer electronics market is driving healthcare in a new direction which will positively impact value”.

There now, that didn’t hurt so bad, did it?

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