Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future

Susan Nunziata, Director of Editorial | 11/9/2012 | 21 comments

Susan Nunziata
Healthcare CIOs need to get ready for a tsunami of data heading their way via the burgeoning use of wearable medical devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) healthcare applications.

According to ABI Research, the market for such devices -- which include heart rate monitors and wearable blood glucose meters -- will reach more than 100 million units annually by 2016.

According to a report by Machina Research, "Machine-to-Machine Communications in Healthcare 2011-20," the global market for machine-to-machine healthcare applications will reach $85 billion by 2020. This includes both personal consumer healthcare apps, as well as apps used within the medical environment.

Machina predicts that the installed base of M2M-connected devices within healthcare will reach 726 million worldwide by 2020, with North America accounting for the largest share.

Examples of some of these devices include T-shirts that can monitor a patient's vital signs, as well as sensors and meters that monitor a range of statistics, including blood glucose, sleep patterns, and even breaths taken per minute.

"Remote patient monitoring and on-site professional healthcare use will represent just over 20 percent of the wearable wireless device market by 2017, up from less than half that in 2011," said Jonathan Collins, principal analyst, wireless healthcare and M2M at ABI Research, in a prepared statement. "As the devices can be worn and can upload collected data to the network automatically, collected data can not only be more regularly collected, but also shared, analyzed, and acted on quicker and more efficiently than existing wired or manpower-laden techniques."

What does this mean for your network and IT infrastructure? Well, according to Machina's report, total mobile network traffic generated by M2M solutions in healthcare will exceed 37 petabytes of data by 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 64 percent from 2011. It's estimated that there are already 40,000 healthcare applications available today, according to Gartner analyst Tom Handler, MD, who presented at last month's Gartner Symposium/ITXpo.

According to Handler, as care moves toward wherever the patient is located, EHR and other clinical systems will need to connect to remote devices. Additionally, systems will be able to collect data that can influence care.

What's a healthcare CIO to do? Handler advises:

  • Create a formal strategy for using technology to engage the individual

  • Develop patient portals, especially those that are tethered to the healthcare organization's electronic health record (EHR) system

  • Provide online scheduling options, refill requests, test results, and answers to simple, non-acute questions, and more complicated e-visits through the patient portal

"Healthcare CIOs should not assume that the needs of patients are being considered as IT systems are implemented," said Handler in his presentation. He went on to say:

This is an area of frontier investment in which the CIO must play a key strategic role in looking at options, evolution, costs and operations questions for the enterprise. The key is to establish a multidisciplinary patient experience team composed of clinicians, patient advocates, community representatives, and, of course, legal counsel. This committee must fit in with the organization's clinical governance and must have the power to ensure that most, if not all, decisions are made with the goal of increasing patient engagement and satisfaction.

Is your healthcare organization ready for the M2M challenges ahead?

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
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KeithGrinsted   Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future   5/30/2013 5:55:24 PM
Re: Best get some programmers
@don just because we do not know about it does not mean it is not happening in some deep dark laboratory somewhere. Let's face it, we've had robots for years that had the intelligence to win chess tournaments.
Don K   Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future   5/27/2013 11:18:52 AM
Re: Best get some programmers
@Keith: Still for robots to build intelligence, some human brain must inputs the logics to it. 
KeithGrinsted   Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future   5/26/2013 6:02:53 PM
Re: Best get some programmers
It will be open to tge highest bidder to take advantage of such development. And don't believe the ethics of the big chemical companies will hold them back. What if the robots develop intelligence? Where will we be then?
Don K   Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future   2/15/2013 11:40:46 PM
Re: Best get some programmers
Yes but we cannot stay like that for ever. I know its not possible to stop it practically but we have to take action to mitigate the risk.
Don K   Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future   2/15/2013 11:34:19 PM
Re: Information overload?
True susan but my fear is that if someone creates an fake app and grabs the data, what will happen ? See waht has happened to mobile technology these days. Same might be highly possible for this too.
Susan Nunziata   Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future   2/12/2013 11:26:42 PM
Re: Information overload?
@DonK: Agreed though it's going to be increasingly easier said than done as our personal health information gets utilized by a wide range of apps designed to presumably improve our lives, and quality of care. there's always a price to pay. 
batye   Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future   2/10/2013 4:58:05 PM
Re: Best get some programmers
yes, this thing do happens in real life whatever we like it or not...
Don K   Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future   2/10/2013 10:37:30 AM
Re: Best get some programmers
Everything you said is true batye but does it happen in practical world ?
Don K   Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future   2/10/2013 10:36:20 AM
Re: Information overload?
Keith: Its not impossible mate. Anyway I cant point out a vendor who will create the so called monster so far but in the future it will be so :)
Don K   Healthcare CIOs Need to Prep for M2M Future   2/10/2013 10:34:55 AM
Re: Information overload?
Robots ?? No way.. Anyway Privacy is something which is important in every aspect. I too feel privacy should be given high priority here. You simply cannot allow people to hack someones medical records.
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