- What is connected health?
- Benefits of connected healthcare
- Types of technologies used in connected healthcare
- How does MDM help connected healthcare, and what makes it important?
- Final Thoughts
What is connected health?
It is the use of new technologies to improve one’s health, according to the definition of the Connected Health Guide. They can indeed facilitate access to care and allow their users personalized care in terms of prevention or medical care. Without a doubt, it helps with improving patient experience.
Connected health includes both:
- • Objects used occasionally which transmit information to an application or to a server: blood glucose meter, blood pressure monitor, etc.
- • Applications to download on smartphones, also known as m-health (for “mobile health”).
Are these objects and apps really useful?
Contrary to popular belief, health applications and connected objects are not just expensive gadgets. They are also not intended for healthy people who are already taking care of themselves. In addition to important data such as sports activity or sleep, more and more sensors are used to measure vital parameters. “This is true for respiratory rate, pulse, sugar level, or even blood pressure, for example,” says Dr. Scheimann. Parameters that are important to monitor regularly in certain diseases. And in recent years, these sensors have become more democratic in terms of price. For people who are already sick, these tools make it possible to follow the evolution of their pathology. They can thus be more independent in their day-to-day care. This gives them the opportunity to verify the relevance of my advice or prescriptions by seeing the results for themselves.
Benefits of connected healthcare
Health professionals today can no longer ignore the existence and use of connected health products by their patients. In essence, it offers remote patient monitoring which allows for better overall connectivity; because today more than ever, connected healthcare devices should be viewed as tools that enable doctors to stay connected to their patients. Even when they are back at home: after an appointment, to monitor a patient’s vitals and values and to customize the treatment; or after a hospital stay, to shorten the stay and to remotely monitor the evolution of the data. Remote patient monitoring is sensible in many ways because it gives the patient plenty of confidence and a sense of security.
However, we sense a completely legitimate reluctance on the part of doctors. This reluctance does not apply to the reliability of the products themselves, as they are clinically validated according to the regulations for medical devices, which is a seal of approval for consumers who should pay particular attention to this aspect. Rather, they fear a veritable avalanche of data to be processed and the responsibility that will result from querying this data.
You have to recognize the interest in networked health products, especially for individualized care. The number of people who require individual and regular medical care increases proportionally with our increasing life expectancy. The medical instruments of the future aim to simplify the exchange between health professionals and patients. When these tools are understood and used correctly, the resulting benefits are the relief of overworked health professionals and the maintenance of patient independence.
The digital world applied to the health sector: an excellent tool for prevention and monitoring
After the networked devices for monitoring activity (watches and bracelets for activity), the connected medical devices for monitoring health and preventing (and curing) chronic diseases are only the beginning. Remote patient monitoring is likely to continue expanding.
For example, the patient’s high blood pressure is not always detected and the blood pressure is not measured automatically apart from visits to the doctor. 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure and 50% of patients with this chronic disease are not controlled (Chiffres OMS 2013). It should be taken into account that measuring your blood pressure at your own doctor’s office is not always informative, depending on the time of the appointment or the so-called “white coat effect”. Blood pressure is measured after a few minutes of rest, especially in the morning when you get up or in the evening before you go to bed. Self-measurement by the patient is therefore the best way for the doctor to get an accurate picture of the blood pressure.
The “connected health” approach gives the patient the ability to share their collected data with their doctor for a period of time, thereby improving their monitoring and relationship with their doctor. For diabetes patients (382 million worldwide according to WHO), the networked devices improve their daily life considerably: the small notebook, in which each measurement is noted by hand, is obsolete. The data is now automatically saved in a mobile application and the patient can call it up at any time and share it securely with their doctor. With more regular monitoring that is more accurate and tailored to the patient, doctors get more data to help them make their diagnosis or adjust treatments. Doctors’ appointments are inevitably improved with daily measurement and an unprecedented collection of data. It can even detect and cure chronic diseases, which are largely considered silent diseases and are nowadays often only recognized too late. All these combined offers the industry to help in improving patient experience.
Types of technologies used in connected healthcare
So how can digital change help us become healthier and the health industry fitter? Here are a few of the ways digital technologies could help us not only live longer, but healthier, leading more productive lives:
As computers become more and more powerful, we are beginning to exploit the full potential of human DNA analysis – individual tests and personalized medical care are made possible, which could enormously improve patient outcomes for numerous diseases.
So-called wearables are portable, intelligent health monitors that collect personalized data in real-time and thus encourage a healthier lifestyle. They can also collect huge amounts of data for medical research. Some companies are already using wearables to improve performance in the workplace. By monitoring employee health and stress levels, companies can provide health tips, which often leads to increased productivity.
Big data in medicine
Thanks to increasing DNA analysis, the collection of lifestyle data via wearables and the digitization of medical records, a more detailed comparative patient analysis is possible. Comparing the data of patients with a comparable DNA, a corresponding medical history and similar lifestyles, health risks, and the effects of different treatments can be better understood.
Digital trend monitoring
By monitoring social media channels and search engines for specific keywords, search trends for certain medical symptoms can be discovered. The results are increasingly being used to identify disease outbreaks and respond quickly to them. The findings are of course helpful for any company in the healthcare industry. They can also be useful for those employers who want a healthy and well-positioned team in the future. By accurately interpreting the data, large employers could recognize when certain preparations need to be made – whether it is about ordering an extra ration of tissues in time for the cold wave or hiring additional temporary workers to replace sick staff. If algorithms correctly predict these trends, much can be achieved – but there are major challenges to be overcome.
While manipulating human DNA to fight disease remains controversial, gene therapy and the use of genetically modified viruses to fight disease are becoming more common. In the fight against malaria and the Zika virus, for example, genetically modified mosquitoes are used. We are likely to see new concepts such as this as we progress through the decade.
How does MDM help connected healthcare, and what makes it important?
Mobile device management software (MDM) can be used regardless of the industry and is suitable for every company in the supply chain. No matter what industry your company operates in, mobile device management solutions from Airdroid Business can support you in managing mobile devices and ensure maximum device security. Both in the office and in the field. Use mobile device management in production, field service, retail, transport, or healthcare and optimize the productivity of your employees to help with remote patient monitoring. However, greater networking of people and devices leads to increased security risks and a higher potential for compromising confidential patient data. Therefore, you must seek to tighten all safety measures to prevent possible danger. This way you can protect your devices and ultimately your patients.
Optimization of the workflow
Mobile devices improve the medical doctor’s ability to access and update electronic health records. Prompt and accurate patient information is crucial for improving clinical workflows for inpatients and outpatients. An intelligent app delivery and secure content library put the right tools and data in the hands of healthcare workers wherever and when they need it. MDM gives you full control over your sensitive content and allows IT administrators to set access controls, priority levels, document flow and location-based delivery for great remote patient monitoring. It is simple and effective.
Whether it is HIPAA in the USA or GDPR in the EU, many health organizations are legally obliged to protect patient data. MDM offers central management tools that control who can access device data and prototype how, when and where data can be accessed. Robust reporting and logging functions provide an audit trail for all compliance requirements. This makes MDM easier for you to make all mobile devices, including BYOD smartphones and employees’ tablets, uniform. This way connected health technologies can remain safe and secure and give patients added security which adds to improving patient experience.
MDM solutions can also assist with the following within connected healthcare:
- Phishing attacks, in which attackers pretend to be trustworthy people
- Malicious software – unauthorized code that is injected into a system to disrupt its operation
- Ransomware, usually presented in the form of software that requires payment to restore it to normal functioning
- Access data abuse aimed at the functions of user accounts
- Malware that uses data extraction to obtain sensitive data from vulnerable devices
And also assist in the following ways:
- Understand and control mobile data usage in your company in real-time:
- Create transparency – uncover key productivity figures
- Recognize which services or apps are consuming the mobile data volume
- Blocking of data-hungry apps and websites
- Set individual data limits and warning thresholds
While managing the security of the Internet of Things is complex in other sectors, in healthcare the stakes are much higher. Security vulnerabilities can affect people’s safety, or even put their lives at risk altogether. This hyperconnectivity of ultra-secure “objects” has led to the digital transformation of healthcare establishments. They must now take concrete steps to protect patients, data, and the healthcare system against cyberattacks and data hacking attempts. That is why MDM solutions are the best option. Augmented and virtual reality and its applications in medicine and surgery are also beginning. Virtual reality can, for example, be used in the treatment of phobic disorders in psychiatry: the immersion of patients in a virtual universe evoking phobic situations reduces their symptoms. It could also become an educational tool for teaching medicine and surgical techniques.
The hope aroused by these new technologies in the medical field is to provide solutions in the care of patients and in the organization of the healthcare system, both in terms of prevention and the treatment of diseases. At present, the value of most of these digital tools is not scientifically proven but it is known that it focuses on improving patient experience.
The proof of their effectiveness often remains to be provided. However, we cannot ignore it. With AI also developing, we may see that more concentrated within Connected Healthcare in the future. This may not be visible until 2025 when more tests have been completed but as we know already remote patient monitoring is highly effective. However, it is known that MDM solutions are going to help in many ways. MDM solutions are effective and simple and a good investment for all companies who want to take their business seriously for the future.
E-health, according to the definition adopted by the European Commission, is “the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) to all activities related to health ” and/or “remote care provision ”. The term e-health includes the terms telehealth, digital health, connected health. And this decade, not only are we going to see a vast change within technologies but also smarter hackers and hacking devices, which is why having optimum support like MDM is vital.