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Remote Monitoring, Operations Drive Healthcare IoT Adoption

Survey finds that remote monitoring, operations, and wellness and prevention are the top drivers of healthcare IoT.

Healthcare IoT is growing due to remote monitoring benefits.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare organizations benefit by introducing more connectivity and remote monitoring using the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT adoption encourages better use of healthcare resources allowing clinicians to make more informed decisions and reduce inefficiencies according to a recent Accenture Consulting survey.

The survey found that many healthcare executives are aware of the potential in healthcare IoT, but are unable to take advantage of it. Half of the healthcare executives surveyed said that their leaders do not fully understand the potential of healthcare IoT, stalling them from implementing IoT technology.

Organizations that are investing in healthcare IoT technology are not limiting their investments to their IT departments. Fifty-seven percent of healthcare organizations said that their IT departments have the most IoT investments, while 26 percent said that their research and development departments have the most IoT implementations.

Healthcare organizations allocate about 10 percent of their annual IT budgets for IoT investments, according to the survey.

Remote patient monitoring (RPM), wellness and prevention, and operations are the three major areas positively impacted by healthcare IoT.

“The value is being demonstrated from IoT programs in the areas of medical or administrative/ operational cost savings, improvements in consumer experience, and revenue growth through consumer attraction/retention,” said survey authors.

The survey polled respondents in the three major areas, asking if their respective IoT programs had extensive, moderate, or minimal cost savings due to their IoT programs.

Thirty-three percent of providers and 42 percent of payers reported extensive operational cost savings from their RPM IoT programs. Forty-two percent of payers achieved extensive medical cost savings from their RMP IoT programs.

Most of RPM healthcare IoT investments focus on cardiac conditions.

Other popular RPM investments include chronic respiratory conditions, cancer, mental health, diabetes, and obesity.

The survey identified consumer satisfaction as a major business driver in offering RPM IoT solutions. Eighty-two percent said that better patient experience is important or extremely important.

Improved health management, improved staff efficiency, improved patient care plan adherence, and reduced hospital readmissions are also driving factors for RPM IoT solutions.

Forty-two percent of providers and 45 percent of payers achieved extensive medical cost savings from their wellness and prevention IoT programs.

Ninety-one percent of providers and 95 percent of payers said that wearables are an important component of their wellness and prevention IoT plans and investments.

Similar to RPM, patient satisfaction is one of the most important factors driving wellness and prevention IoT investments.

Thirty-one percent of providers reported extensive administrative cost savings from their operations IoT programs and 44 percent of payers noted extensive improvement in customer experience scores from their operations IoT programs.

Organizations are embracing IoT to manage inventory and medical supplies. Keeping better track of these things saves money and increases patient experience.

Benefits of healthcare IoT adoption are proven, however executives are still met with barriers preventing wider adoption.

“No single barrier stands out significantly from the others as a particular inhibitor,” survey authors stated. “In fact, executives see the top two barriers— privacy concerns and legacy systems— as equal hindrances. These top two are only slightly ahead of the next three cited barriers: Security concerns, technology immaturity and lack of budget.”

Lack of interoperability standards and unclear business needs were also cited as barriers preventing healthcare IoT adoption.

Survey authors advised healthcare organizations to invest in IoT solutions now.

IoT offers a very high level of patient satisfaction. As IoT becomes more common in healthcare, patients are going to expect the latest IoT technology from their provider. Patients will leave in favor of providers who offer better technology for their care if organizations drag their feet at adopting healthcare IoT technology.

The survey also suggested that organizations measure and build on success. A successful IoT program doesn’t mean that the investment and improvement of the technology is over. Organizations can take successful IoT deployments and build on them, applying them to other parts of the organization as well.

Building on successful IoT technology will save organizations money and improve patient satisfaction.