The Internet of Things is a trend that spans almost every industry but has particular relevance for the healthcare industry. The ever-expanding collection of Internet-connected devices, including wearables, implants, skin sensors, home monitoring tools, and mHealth applications, has the potential to provide clinical trial coordinators with data from almost every factor in a trial participant’s daily life.
As health IT developers explore new ways to collect, analyze, and report on patient-generated health data, the healthcare Internet of Things (IoT) is destined for success.
However, no new health IT option is without its drawbacks, and the Internet of Things is no exception. Many sponsors feel like they don’t have the bandwidth to integrate IoT devices and data into their already-crowded workflow, and it’s difficult to tell which of the dozens of new industry offerings will bring value to their patients in a time of constant change.
What is the Internet of Things?
The FTC estimates that there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020 – from refrigerators and toasters to cars, home thermostats, cameras, pet monitors, and infusion pumps. While most of these devices are designed exclusively for consumer use, the healthcare industry has seen the potential of using connected devices to monitor chronic disease patients, bring independence to the elderly, and warn clinicians of imminent adverse events.
IoT data could be the key to intelligently targeting preventative care and forestalling crisis events by extending the reach of sponsors and giving patients the background support they need to make better decisions. However, the concepts are so new that there is little understanding between the patients who are generating the data and the sponsors who may not be willing to rearrange their infrastructure to accommodate the advancements.
Why are Sponsors Hesitant to Employ IoT Data?
An overabundance of data without practical and relevant analysis leaves clinicians feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and unable to get to the crux of what will help them treat their patients more effectively.
IoT developers advertise their ability to generate real-time streaming data, but until they collaborate their developments with the needs of sponsors and CROs, they’ll have a great deal of difficulty ensuring their devices are right for their users.
A high level of patient engagement is becoming increasingly important for ROI. The best way to approach this trend is to work with a trusted procurement source who can guide you through the complicated landscape of IoT devices. Integrating them into clinical trials is clearly the future but unless the process is simplified, the hassles could outweigh the benefits.