Connected medical devices and iot analytics combine to save lives

Friday, June 12, 2015

Among the most dynamic market segments where IoT analytics has the potential to grow rapidly is medical devices. Market research firm FREEDONIA GROUP notes that 2.5 million people rely on these devices today and predicts the market will grow 7.7 percent in 2015. More than 300,000 Americans receive these devices each year.

Many benefits of IoT enabled devices are obvious. Pacemakers, for example, can inform medical staff if a patient’s device is failing or if other vital signs have changed. Other benefits are less obvious. Pacemaker manufacturers can monitor the performance of their devices and use IoT data to design better devices for the future.

The new generation of wearable devices will also contribute to the body of information available about a person and the devices she is wearing. Wearables range from in-hospital devices to fitness trackers. The information provided by these devices range from a person’s complete set of vital signs to basic heart rate and blood pressure information.

By integrating data from implanted and wearable devices, medical professionals, product manufacturers and the “wearer” themselves can gain an ongoing, real-time picture of the person’s health and performance of the implanted and/or wearable products.

However, converting that raw data into MEANINGFUL INSIGHTS is a complex process. Before those monitoring the devices can analyze information, an analytics platform must capture very large amounts of structured and unstructured, sometimes as much as terabytes. It must then integrate these different data and then identify meaningful relationships between, for example, a person’s heart rate and the performance of his pacemaker.

Today’s advanced analytics platforms go beyond this. They can generate insights that enable devices to text a person that she needs to increase a medication or go to the hospital. Different insights can inform a device manufacturer that a specific component failure earlier than other components. Other insights can let hospital staff know that based on a patient’s history, current vital signs indicate he is about to suffer a heart attack or seizure.

At the core of these breakthroughs is not the wearable devices or the data they create, but the analytics platform that captures and processes the data, and then generate insights that lead to action. Today’s new and powerful IoT analytics are revolutionizing healthcare just as they are many other industries.