Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - policy-iot-healthcare
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The Internet of Things and Healthcare
Within the next ten years, half of all care will be delivered virtually, with providers paid based on
their teamwork and quality. We expect 24x7 diagnostics monitoring from phones, wearables, and
even implantables with dramatic growth in sensing technologies from the hospital to the home.
The integration of device data (inpatient, outpatient, and home- or mobile-based) into medical
records will be a major push for the foreseeable future. In large part because of widespread
wastefulness in service delivery and need for virtual care models, McKinsey forecasts that 40
percent of the global economic impact of the IoT revolution will occur in healthcare, more than
any other sector.1
Mobile healthcare devices will be used to track everything from fitness goals to
surgical rehab faster, more convenient, and at reduced costs. Two distinct factors have the
potential to make dramatic changes in U.S. healthcare: consumer engagement and payment for
outcomes. These are crucial to meeting the needs brought by shifts in demographics.
century care platforms require titanic shifts in thinking, business models, and
infrastructure. The old “mainframe health” paradigm (i.e., centralized, hospital-centric, expert-
driven, reactive, costly) is giving way to a new “personal health” paradigm (i.e., distributed, data-
rich, preventive, home- and consumer-
centric, and efficiency-driven).
Demographic and economic drivers to a
personalized healthcare shift include:
Population aging – a shift from younger
to older population. Only 3 years from
now, the human population will hit a
crossover point for the first time in
history. There will be more people over age 65 than under age 5. “No other force is likely to shape
the future of national economic health, public finances, and policymaking than the irreversible
rate at which the world’s population is aging,” according to Standard & Poors.2
By 2030, China will
have more people over age 60 than the total current U.S. population.3
Big Data at Center of Disruptive Technologies, McKinsey Global Institute (May 2013),
Global Aging 2010: An Irreversible Truth, Standard & Poors (Oct 2010),
No Country for Old Age, The New York Times (Feb 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/opinion/no-country-
Chronic diseases – a shift from predominantly infectious disease threats to predominantly chronic
diseases, often exacerbated by lifestyle. Population aging increases the number of patients with
heart disease, cancer, diabetes, lung and kidney disorders, Alzheimer’s, and overweightness. These
issues hinder productivity and are expensive and difficult to treat, requiring behavior changes.
Today, 63 percent of the world’s deaths are from non-communicable diseases (non-infectious; not
transmitted by humans).4
Low- to middle-income countries now carry roughly 80 percent of the
burden of diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases.5
Global shortage of healthcare workers. The U.S. alone is projected to face a shortage of 124,000
physicians by the year 2025, yet this pales in comparison with the needs in Asia and Africa.6
On top of demographic and workforce problems, the healthcare sector is dramatically
inefficient. Even if healthcare services were delivered efficiently, it would be extraordinarily
difficult for a shortage of medical professionals to care for greater numbers of sicker people over
the next several decades. Yet by all accounts, there are hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful
spending that need to be squeezed out of healthcare systems worldwide.
With the rise of the internet culture, there is a shift from passive to active patients. Patients and
families are more engaged and digitally monitored by a growing array of apps and devices. The
Intel Healthcare Innovation Barometer, an eight-nation, 12,000-adult survey last year,7
80 percent are optimistic about healthcare through innovation and technology.
70 percent are willing to see a doctor via video conference for non-urgent appointments.
70 percent are receptive to using toilet sensors, prescription bottle sensors, or swallowed
50 percent believe the traditional hospital will be obsolete in the future, and would trust a
test they personally administered as much or more than if performed by a doctor.
Health apps, social networks, and collaboration tools are growing rapidly. Enterprise and
consumer health apps will continue to proliferate, shake out. Parks Associates indicates that 28
percent of U.S. broadband households have used some type of virtual care communication tool, and
estimates the figure will grow to 65 percent by 2018.8
Death from NCDs, World Health Org. (2014), http://www.who.int/gho/ncd/mortality_morbidity/ncd_total/en/.
The worldwide rise of chronic noncommunicable diseases: a slow-motion catastrophe, World Health Org. (2014),
Forecasting the global shortage of physicians: an economic-and needs-based approach, Bulletin of the World Health
Org. (July 2008), http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/86/7/07-046474.pdf.
Intel Global Innovation Barometer: www.intel.com/newsroom/healthcare.
More than one-fourth of U.S. broadband households have used some type of online healthcare communications,
Parks Associates (Feb 2014), https://www.parksassociates.com/blog/article/feb2014-digital-health-webinar.
Three categories are emerging for IoT healthcare: Person to Person, Person to Computer, and
Person as a Computer.
Person to Person: Dulcie Madden of Mimo developed an infant monitor that sends parents
real-time information on their baby’s breathing, skin temperature, sleeping position, and
activity level. Mimo sends the baby’s sleep data straight to her parents’ smartphones.
Person to Computer: Vigilant, a Swiss company, has developed a smart insulin injection tracker
to help diabetic patients manage their health. The injection tracker, called Bee+, is an
electronic cap that fits most insulin pens on the market. It wirelessly transmits a diabetic’s
insulin injection data to a smartphone app.
Person as Computer: Myo (pictured right) uses the electrical
activity in your muscles to wirelessly control your computer, phone,
and other favorite digital technologies. With a wave of your hand,
Myo will transform how you interact with your digital world. The
technology is by Thalmiclabs, an Intel Capital investment.
The potential for IoT and consumer engagement to dramatically improve health status/outcomes
is limited by policies defined by face to face transactions. The shift is beginning and we urge
Congress and the Administration to embrace new healthcare models by tackling difficult policy
Require Data Standards for Connectivity and Interoperability
IoT in healthcare has the potential to aggregate data from patient records, wearable
sensors, labs, diet, the environment, and social networking in real time, but only if thes
data can be analyzed. This takes standardized data formats. Policymakers should
strengthen current requirements for data exchange among EHR’s and the emerging IoT
Regulate Smartly/Don’t De-Innovate
The regulation of software as a medical device has created confusion and missteps for
health IT entrepreneurs. Today, Congress, regulators, and industry are collaborating to find
the best regulatory framework through initiatives like the Food and Drug Administration
Safety Innovation Act (FDASIA) to better define what attributes of technology are subject
to FDA device regulation.
Regulatory pathways should be refined to reflect health technologies that are not medical
devices. This will require alternative frameworks to ensure functionality and safety.
IoT provides a new platform for capturing daily biometric data
that shows trends and changes in health status in real time.
However, this rich and actionable data is not being used today
because our health systems are unprepared to incorporate the
data into the fee for service payments, or shared savings
models. Even the Accountable Care Organizations which have
incentives to offer innovative services, are restricted by
outdated Medicare regulations which dictate that payment for
virtual services is only for patients living in rural areas (20
percent of U.S.), and will not pay for services at home and
certainly not “on the go.”
Healthcare IoT solutions poised to change access and outcomes
for chronically ill patients are now delayed not by technology,
but by the lack of payment where virtual care is substituted
and enhanced over face to face visits.
Capture Patient Generated Health Data (PGHD) as a Vital Part of the Patient Record
The $27B investment made by the U.S. Government in electronic medical records has
spurred unparalleled adoption rates – 78 percent of physicians and 66 percent of our
nation’s qualifying hospitals have been certified. Yet, the real time data from sensors,
tablets, smartphones, and peripherals are not captured in the EHR. Physicians can now
diagnose a patient’s medical condition from daily feeds provided by IoT devices noting
changes in environment, diet, exercise, and medications, giving more accurate and
longitudinal data rather than through readings from occasional office visits. HHS should
address the issues of liability and data overload associated with PGHD and then
recommend best practices for all future EHR regulations, to include PGHD.
Privacy and Security Required for IoT solutions
According to the Office of Civil Rights in HHS, 199 PHI breaches were reported in 2013
affecting 7 million patient records. The need for security today in HIPAA covered entities is
pervasive and as health information transfers between consumer and enterprise devices,
message-level data encryption, API management, and data tokenization will become
essential. HHS should continue to work with the healthcare industry to achieve agreement
on a universally accepted health IT security standard or principals that can be enforceable
and agree on criteria that deems organizations “HIPAA Security Rule Compliant.”
Virtual Care Improves Quality
& Reduces Costs
With funding from a federal Beacon
Community grant, St. Vincent Health
worked with Intel-GE Care
Innovations™ to test a remote care
management program designed to
reduce readmissions. Findings of the
study, which concluded in 2012,
show a 64% reduction in hospital
readmissions compared to the study
control group. Through daily
telemonitoring of patients’
biometrics (blood pressure, body
weight, and oxygen saturation) and
periodic videoconferencing, patients
and their nurses were able to
recognize any “red flags” and help
address health problems before they
became serious enough to require