One of the fun aspects of my job is research. I get to research the Connected Health trends to understand where the market is headed and how to then prepare healthcare organizations for those changes to capitalize off of the advantage of public health meets good timing meets technology. I typically chart the trends out through the next ten years. Some recent information that caught my attention include this infographic by Bupa and a study by Thomson Reuters IP & Science. Want to know what the world of Connected Health will look like in ten years? There will be four major themes:
Micro Mobile: The biggest net delta to be seen in the world of Connected Health between now and 2025 will be in the form of mobile technology. Mobile capabilities will continue to be provided in smaller form providing the Healthcare industry with opportunities to, for example, use contact lenses that can take pictures of the retina to identify early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. Sensing capabilities from fiberoptics are currently being used within telehealth in the form of smart carpets that relay signals from footstep patterns. These capabilities are forecasted to innovate into a form that could signal the possible onset of diseases such as skin cancer when applied to human skin. Mobile capabilities imbedded in shoes, socks, and baby diapers will impact our ability to monitor weight, fitness goals, hydration, temperature, sleeping patterns, and other symptoms of illness. Nano tattoos are already used to measure blood glucose levels. These tattoos, that are half the width of a human hair, are expected to be able to detect precise temperature changes to indicate cardiovascular activity in the future.
Personalized Prevention: Now lets take microscopic mobile and pair it with the more prevalent DNA mapping that will occur in 2025. Babies born in that year will be tested at the DNA level with full genomic mapping. We are not talking once or twice. We are talking continuously tested using nano-probes inserted in the body to identify potential onset of disease. When it comes to the most costly chronic conditions (both in terms of dollars and hardship), a simple and inexpensive genomics test can be used to help a patient, and their team of clinicians, understand the risk of certain disease states. These individuals can then be given the right treatments and education from the start and throughout life. Imagine the impact of this level of personalized prevention can have not only for the individual involved but for population health in terms of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and the like.
The Internet of Everywhere: The “internet of things” is defined as an environment where everyday physical objects are connected to the internet and are able to identify themselves to other devices. We do that at some level today. By 2025, the internet of things will be everywhere, and everything will be connected. A report from Thomson Reuters IP & Science states “Thanks to the prevalence of improved semiconductors, graphene-carbon nanotube capacitators, cell-free networks of service antenna, and 5G technology, wireless communications will dominate everything, everywhere.” What does that mean for Connected Health? That means your nutrition can talk to you medication because your fridge can talk to your prescription bottles. Really.
Continuous Data Collection & Instant Reporting: These Connected Health innovations not only provide the ability for healthcare organizations to continually monitor health conditions but also with the ability to collect and report on this data. This can drive positive behavior change through incentivizing verifiable behaviors. At the organizational level, this can be used to augment current loyalty programs that rely upon CRM data. Just imagine the power this also provides to public health research programs worldwide.
Creepy or cool? What do you think about what is to come in the world of Connected Health?