Sam is in the hospital recovering from surgery. On his wrist is a high-tech remote-controlled wristband that can monitor his blood pressure, pulse oximetry, breathing and temperature, and also send an immediate alert to his nurse if a problem arises. Suddenly, his nurse smartphone app beeps, advising her that Sam’s temperature had just spiked to 101 degrees Fahrenheit, a sign that something might be wrong.
Meanwhile, Debra, a home patient, receives a cellphone message that it’s time to breathe into her respirator (spirometer). The care coordinator at her doctor’s office displays the dashboard with data on Debra’s results and is warned if the result falls outside the safe parameter and instructs her on treatment.
And Linda, an elderly patient with mild dementia, has just woken up and her alarm device reminds her to take her morning medication. A sensor in her pills dispenser confirms this, and the alarm says, “We make sure your daughter knows you took your medication this morning. By the way, have you eaten breakfast?”
What is Intelligent Care? The emergence of leading, patient-centered technologies and the innovative integration of these technologies are at the center of intelligent care. “To me, intelligent care means going beyond simple rule-based solutions (such as cross-checking allergies or alerting patients when their medication is due) to actively integrate traditionally disconnected data sources to care for a patient,” says Naresh Ramarajan, MD, founder and chief medical officer of Navya, an organization that helps patients make cancer treatment decisions using a step-by-step intelligent care system.
Eg. Must intelligent decision-making systems be able to take into account a patient’s preferences for a therapy with fewer side effects as well as the best results and potential costs. They must be able to integrate the best clinical trial results and the most current international guidelines. “An intelligent care system may even search a database to find similar patients for whom treatments have been successful,” says Ramarajan. “It would then synthesize all of these to come up with a ranked list of options with the reasons behind each option.”
This data can then help patients make smart, informed choices. “As mobile app developers, we often get more requests from doctors and hospitals that include the need for ways to make their patient care more intelligent and innovative,” Dulio Denis says, a mobile program manager at Blue Label Labs, an industry leader in mobile, tablet, watch and television app design.
App developers work with healthcare clients who recognize that the adaptation of consumer technology into mobile phones and advances in new applications in what a hospital can do with cloud computing has reached a crossroads where providers can be more patient-centric. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we come to a place where medical treatment works as seamlessly as the social media communication systems work,” Says Denis.
The Internet of Medical Things?
Just as the Internet of Things now combines technology with life (turns on your thermostat, alerts you when the milk is gone), the Internet of Medical Things can do the same for healthcare. After all, women have been diagnosing their own pregnancies for three decades, so patients using our latest technology should definitely be able to rinse their throat and submit the test for a strep test without having to visit a medical office – thus saving both patient and doctor’s time and money. Intelligent care can also bring about safer and more effective patient care by streamlining procedures that produce smarter evidence-based guidelines and provide improved safety, education and service.
Roy Smythe, MD, cancer surgeon and founder of Valence Health – a company that provides healthcare providers with complete turnkey solutions for value-based care – “The entities we will place and in our bodies in the future will become much more sophisticated and will give us insights that we never thought we would get.”
According to Orbita, a leader in innovative cloud-based technology for connected home health care, the smart healthcare industry will soon include ubiquitous wireless connectivity. The widespread use of smart phones and a growing range of connected, sensor-enabled devices that measure and track personal wellness data, test results, and health reminders now enable health scenarios we never dreamed of were possible a few years ago.
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• Remote hospital bracelets that monitor vital signs and alert staff to changes immediately
• Interactive systems that respond to patient requests faster using smartphones and apps instead of the old-fashioned “call button”
• Smartbeds that can monitor position and comfort and alert staff to problems Hand hygiene systems that can improve infection control practices and warn clinicians to disinfect before entering each room
• Digital delivery of tailor-made information for patient education
• Apps that allow patients to fill prescriptions from their hospital bed before discharge
• Handheld ultrasound devices that allow patients to scan their own bodies and send results to a radiologist
• Self-test for medical conditions such as strep throat, STDs and elevated cholesterol.