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The Internet of Health Things???

By February 24, 2017Commentary

Its Friday, I am more tired than usual of hope and hype, as applied to health care technology.  When are we going to learn that all the technology in the world has minimal impact compared to real human interactions relating to health.  Basic commonsense execution matters more.  But hype sells, especially for consultants, so here comes Accenture with another survey on consumer-oriented technology, this one relating to the “internet of health things (IOHT).”  This covers all the devices and apps that are providing all this information that will transform health care.  According to the survey, 73% of responding health care executives think the IOHT will be “disruptive” in the next three years.  I am guessing 73% of health care executives don’t actually know what the hell that means and, quite appropriately, aren’t spending any significant time worrying about it.  There are three major areas where organizations are spending more IOHT dollars, Accenture says, remote patient monitoring, wellness and certain administrative functions.

33% of the provider respondents apparently told Accenture that they got extensive administrative savings from IOHT remote patient monitoring and 42% of payer respondents said they saw significant medical cost savings from such programs.  Funny, I don’t recall see solid research results that would support savings of that magnitude.  The respondents made similar claims in regard to wellness uses for the IOHT, which again don’t appear to be supported by actual research.  Some of the business drivers for an interest in the IOHT include consumer satisfaction, being competitive and a focus on the individual market. The respondents said that there are barriers to further use of IOHT, including privacy concerns and how the new devices and software fit with legacy systems.  From a disease category perspective, much of the investment to date has been related to cardiac care and other common diseases, with mental health an emerging area of focus.  Okay, well that’s enough on that survey, now you and I can go enjoy our weekends, and keep an eye on that Fitbit or Apple watch.  Someone’s probably watching.

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