Note: This article was originally published on Disruptive Views.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is disrupting a broad spectrum of industries. None more so than healthcare. According to a recent report by Mind Commerce, healthcare will experience the fastest growth in IoT adoption of any industry segment over the next five years, with deployments expected to top $117 billion by 2020. Many of the revenues generated through IoT will be recurring in nature, continuing a growing trend in a healthcare industry increasingly reliant on pay-per-use and subscription billing mechanisms.
Here are just a few examples of the ways that IoT innovations and cloud computing are disrupting the delivery of medical care and fueling monetization opportunities.
With advances in telemedicine and IoT, doctors are able to bridge the geographical boundaries that separate them from patients. For example, a robotic system called RP Vita relies on IoT advances to help doctors in hospitals overcome a challenge they’ve been struggling with for decades — how to visit more patients in less time. Equipped with two-way video communications and cloud-connected diagnostic gear, the robot allows doctors to appear at patients’ bedsides remotely and perform most of the services they provide in person. More often than not, advanced healthcare systems such as these are paid for on a lease or consumption basis.
Wearable IoT devices are making it easier for medical teams and patients to stay on top of health issues on an ongoing basis. The tiny BioStamp is worn on the skin like a Band Aid. It tracks health status in real time for a broad spectrum of patients and allows practitioners to monitor patients remotely. With IoT devices such as the AliveCor heart monitor, patients can self-monitor their conditions, reducing the need for costly in-person visits. Subscription-based services are available for many devices of this nature. They provide patients with additional insights and analysis from health professionals based on the data the devices track.
The Internet of Things is also reshaping something as fundamental as how we deliver medicines. For instance, a tiny drug-filled chip from Microchip Biotech puts drug administration on autopilot. Intended for chronic ailments, it’s placed under the skin and can release drugs in precise doses for up to 16 years without removal. Doctors can adjust doses and timing wirelessly. The long timeframes involved in such systems lend themselves to recurring revenue payment mechanisms.
Thanks to IoT innovation, it’s now easier than ever to capture data from a vast array of medical devices such as respirators and cardiac monitors. But making sense from the oceans of data these connected medical devices produce becomes an enormous challenge.
Enter data integration solutions like the one from Capsule Tech. These systems integrate IoT information streaming from different devices and empower doctors to see patient data in context, resulting in faster and more accurate medical decisions. Integrated analytics such as these often rely on an assortment of usage and subscription-based billing alternatives.
Hospitals are deploying cloud-connected smart sensors to improve care and reduce costs in nearly every phase of their operations. For example, embedded sensors can alert medical staff if individual units of heat-sensitive supplies such as certain drugs or plasma ever fall out of safe ranges at any time during shipment, storage, or handling. In addition, IoT-powered healthcare platforms such as the one from GE Healthcare combine smart chips, wireless technology, and geo-location features to help hospitals better manage the flow of patients, staff members, and medical equipment throughout their facilities. Sophisticated solutions such as these often encompass the full range of billing options, including one-time payments, pay-per-use, and subscription services.
We’ve barely touched on the ways that the Internet of Things is reshaping the delivery of healthcare. It’s a disruption that’s only just beginning. One thing is certain. The many health benefits and cost savings IoT will make possible in the coming months and years will open up whole new avenues for recurring monetization — with valuable lessons applied, and life-saving services delivered, across a wide range of industries.
Brendan O’Brien has been in the subscription services business for over 20 years, and is recognized as a pioneer and thought-leader. It’s fair to say that he introduced the world to cloud billing, and innovated database-driven, enterprise-grade web applications for companies ranging from Medical Manager, to Wright Express, and LaserLink. All this before the concept of “cloud” was even on the horizon. Brendan is trained as a professional stage actor and classical tenor.