Healthcare Analytics, Population Health Management, Healthcare Big Data

Population Health News

IoT Adoption Tracks with Increased Spending on Population Health

Healthcare organizations investing in population health management are also exploring the role of the Internet of Things for reducing the burdens of chronic disease.

Internet of Things and population health management

Source: Thinkstock

By Jennifer Bresnick

- The Internet of Things (IoT) is getting bigger every day as consumers and providers continue to adopt smart technologies and devices at a rapid clip.

From wearable fitness trackers to ingestible sensors tucked into tiny pills, the IoT is creating unprecedented opportunities for providers to help individuals maintain wellness or monitor chronic diseases in innovative, unobtrusive ways.

According to a new market report from Zion Market Research, the global market for smart medical products, such as smart pills and RFID-based technologies, will be pushing $67 billion by 2024 as healthcare providers and vendors search for new pathways to improve population health and reduce spending on chronic disease.

The smart medical products market forms a small but substantial subset of the larger Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) segment, which one 2016 report predicted would top $410 billion by 2022.

This represents a healthy 9.5 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from a 2017 baseline of $35.6 billion.

READ MORE: Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Spending to Hit $36B

“Smart healthcare products improve outcomes related to diagnostic tools and enhance patient treatment along with improving their quality of life,” explains the report.

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2017, about 40 million deaths were due to chronic ailments, i.e., 70 percent deaths worldwide.”

Healthcare providers and policymakers are investing significant resources in reducing the financial and clinical burdens of chronic disease by developing population health management techniques – and adopting their attendant technologies.

In a separate report, Zion Market Research notes that the global population health management market is expected to expand from $16.5 billion in 2017 to $86.3 billion in 2024, a CAGR of more than 25 percent.

 “Some significant features of population health management include the access of comprehensive longitudinal patient record, integrated user experience, the transition to proactive and preventative care, effective coordinate care, identification of at-risk patients, and chronic conditions management,” the report states.

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“The key role of population health management is to provide a significant platform to deliver effective care management for intensive or long-term care by engaging with their patients, tracking patients’ progress, assigning tasks, and performing necessary risk assessments for future care planning. The demand for efficient patient care system platform is fueling the demand for population health management market globally.”

IoT devices are likely to comprise a critical component of the digital population health platform, as will the underlying analytics and interoperability tools that enable the collection and synthesis of data from multiple devices.

“Population health management simplifies the complex task of data collection from different care settings along with data accessibility through various application program interface (APIs),” the report says.

“This integrated information at one place allows the consumers to make informed and reliable decisions of delivering effective healthcare solutions.”

Developing population health solutions that are both provider- and consumer-friendly will be a major challenge for vendors and other entities hoping to take advantage of the crossover market.

READ MORE: Predictive Analytics, IoT Data Flag ED Visits, 30-Day Readmissions

End-users have often complained that IoT data is simply too voluminous and too difficult to navigate within the confines of a typical patient-provider relationship, rendering the data functionally useless for making decisions about individual health.

With expected sales of more than 430 million Internet of Things devices a year by the middle of the coming decade, however, healthcare providers and software developers will need to tackle the problem as quickly as possible.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will no doubt play an important role in consuming and processing these vast datasets, as will innovative infrastructure management techniques such as edge computing and network visibility solutions.

Organizations that implement the infrastructure and data management strategies to help them harness the IoT in a population health management context are likely to gain a competitive edge over their peers.

IoT data can fuel predictive analytics and risk stratification, the basis for identifying individuals in need of targeted interventions; the data can also alert providers to sudden changes in health status, which may help prevent a costly hospital admission or emergency department visit.

These proactive population health management capabilities will be key for organizations looking to reduce unnecessary spending and succeed in risk-based contracting or other value-based initiatives.

“Population health management supports the sharing of actions and tasks to ensure full planning and allow the implementation of patient-centric care plans, and leverage the tools to provide well-coordinated care experience,” the report says.

“Proper planning results in the identification of patients that require proactive intervention and assign the necessary tasks and actions to ensure that they receive appropriate and timely care. All these features are likely to fuel the global population health management market in the future.”

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