Investments in healthcare technology backed by the Internet of Things technology is anticipated to continue climbing in 2022. The convergence of several technologies, as well as demand, will help increase adoption by solutions providers in a few hallmark areas, KORE predicts.
One of the key areas of growth within the connected health sector is medical-grade wearables that will be a hybrid solution of mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems (mPERS) and remote patient monitoring (RPM). According to Fierce Healthcare, wearable technology to monitor healthcare is positioned to increase in 2022. Citing Deloitte analysts, Fierce Healthcare continues by stating the wearable wellness technology in 2022 to see 320 million wearable wellness devices shipped this year.
Typically, a remote patient monitoring solution is a very closed-circuit application where a patient receives a pre-configured device or devices to monitor an area of health (in the case of cardiac disease, it would be a connected cardiac rhythm monitor) which is fed into a software-based application that can be viewed holistically by the patient’s healthcare provider.
In mPERS solutions, it’s traditionally been a simple pendant worn by someone that allows for real-time communication with an emergency call center when the distress button is pressed on the pendant. More current mPERS solutions connect cellularly and via Wi-Fi to smartphone applications so loved ones can monitor the user from afar via GPS-enabled location tracking. The primary use case is for aging-in-place with mPERS.
But the ability to track movement and health outside of the home, whether it’s those aging in place, managing chronic diseases, or those who want greater insight into their health is creating a new use case of near medical-grade wearables.
This combination of remote patient monitoring that can travel outside of the home is attractive and with wearables growing in complexity to detect falls, pulse oximetry, and heart rate, greater self-advocacy in health will be made more available.
The healthcare industry is pivoting very quickly toward a digital transformation. While digitising was well underway a few years ago, the pandemic created an urgency to move toward digital operations, which began a pace that is unlikely to slow.
Between telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, the bandwidth for reliable and secure connectivity is broadening. With 4G LTE and 5G significant cellular platforms for building private networks, the opportunity to strengthen connectivity and security within the healthcare industry is primed.
Looking at bandwidth requirements alone – whether it’s in a more “right now” application of telehealth or remote patient monitoring or further into the future with more complex applications of robotics or augmented reality – healthcare devices are communicating mission-critical data. Having dedicated network bandwidth through a private network helps ensure that data is being communicated consistently and reliably.
From a security standpoint, especially in healthcare, any opportunity to build connectivity infrastructure with greater security is noteworthy. In private networks, only authenticated devices are allowed to connect to the network, meaning less risk of intrusion.
Private networks also offer a greater measure of scalability. One of the key post-pandemic trends is the ability for organisations to have more agility in the face of disruption. Hospitals can scale operations much faster with a private cellular network than with Wi-Fi/LAN.
Cybersecurity continues to grow as a concern in technology, IoT, and the related applications. Healthcare in particular stands as an opportunity for attackers.
According to HIPAA Journal, the number of data breaches of 500 or more records has been steadily rising since 2010, from 199 to the most recent data of 616 in 2020. The article continues by stating 2020 as one of the worst years for healthcare attacks with 616 data breaches of 500 or more records reported to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Trinity Health was the largest in 2020, with more than 3.3 million records compromised by a ransomware attack.
Emerging trends to help address these issues can be found within technology, such as leveraging artificial intelligence to monitor healthcare technology at both the device and network level.
Working with OEMs to disclose or guard against vulnerabilities will also be a trend, as internet-enabled devices typically have weak security defaults coming off the manufacturing floor, which leaves the recipient or end-user to create strong security protocols out of the box.
KORE Connected Health has the technology and solutions to connect patients and healthcare providers no matter the application. Our Connected Health Data Telemetry Solutions make healthcare communications seamless and secure; our regulatory compliant managed services help bring applications to market faster and with less hassle; and our full suite of connectivity solutions ensure that devices and applications are communicating. See how KORE Connected Health works.
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