How IoT Testing Will Make Telemedicine More Credible?

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

Healthcare industry was a late bloomer in terms of digital transformation – but, once it took the plunge, it is going ahead with full swing. As per a Business Insider Intelligence report, this digital transformation is triggered by the changing consumer demands and the need for reducing costs. The key players which initiated this shift are the digital solutions such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs), Telehealth, AI, wearables, and blockchain.

Jason Krantz – CEO, Definitive Healthcare – emphasized on the proliferation of Telehealth with the support of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in a recent webinar on “Top Healthcare Trends in 2019”. Growing at an exponential rate, global telehealth industry is expected to hit $130 Billion by 2025 while the IoMT market will rise to $409.9 Billion. As of 2018, funding for U.S. digital health sector has touched $6.8 Billion. There is an increase in the adoption of telemedicine, with technology-driven smart insights gaining momentum. As of now, nearly 1800 hospitals use mobile applications to monitor and interact with patients. These devices are generating massive amount of data, which must be dealt with effectively. With AI and deep learning, the collected data can be utilized in real time to deliver efficient care.

The Blessings of Telemedicine

The focus of Telehealth or Telemedicine is on improving access and saving costs. It paves a two-way street, which ensures convenience for both care providers and receivers. The number of deaths occurred annually, due to delayed medical assistance, is staggering. Even if 911 delivers assistance on time, many-a-times the nearest hospitals do not have the required expertise to treat the incoming patient. In such cases, crucial time is wasted in transporting the patient to the expert facility. Telemedicine equips hospitals, big or small, to accept and treat an emergency patient irrespective of the availability of in-house specialists. It essentially facilitates remote connectivity, eliminating the need to physically cover the distance.

It is not that easy, or is it?

The idea of getting healthcare delivered to you at the comfort of your home, when you can barely get out of the bed, seems tempting. But, presence of a screen removes the magic of doctor’s touch. Majority of the population still prefers physical examination over an algorithm’s analysis. This apprehension is a huge obstacle to a wider adoption of telehealth.

While hospitals are involving predictive analysis for a more accurate assessment, there is a dark side to AI that they need to consider. At the end of the day, AI is a machine, which depends on data to learn patterns and make decisions. Even the slightest error in the data may prove to be of dangerous consequences, especially in healthcare. Additionally, there is also a high possibility of data breaches. Healthcare industry traditionally works in silos, where patient privacy is of utmost concern as the stakes are high. The 18 data breaches happened in 2018 compromised over 1 lac healthcare records, driving the attention to the cybersecurity aspect of Telemedicine.

Why AI, ML, and IoMT are in the picture?

Because, they are the picture!

With the rise of consumerism in healthcare, the tech-savvy, price-sensitive patients now prioritize convenience above everything else. The market is proliferating with IoMT devices and wearables. These devices are used to maintain the flow of data between patients and doctors. They also provide easy accessibility to existing health records for reference purposes and offer a platform to maintain an open communication channel. Due to the physical absence, AI and ML are critical in reading reports, analyzing data, and presenting a final diagnosis, based on which the doctors can take a call and make the necessary prescriptions.

How Does IoT Testing Bring It All Together?

IoT Testing of medical devices ensures a seamless execution of this “Virtual healthcare” strategy. As IoMT devices offer a platform to establish a dialogue between the patients and caregivers, it is extremely important that it functions smoothly. Also, the sensitivity of data involved requires that the cyber-walls are fortified with apt reliable solutions. IoT testing becomes imperative in making the whole system immune to threats and preventing data leaks.

Telemedicine, Telehealth, or mHealth has set out to revolutionize the way healthcare is received or provided. With the incorporation of technology, the modern healthcare industry will significantly improve the average quality of life.

In a World of Data, Ethics has No Substitute

By Lloyd Adams, SAP

Traditionally, the relationship between companies and their customers has been simple and symbiotic: customers seek solutions, in the form of goods and services, from companies that are eager to provide them. Early in my career, creating personal relationships with customers was the key to success. While the product always opened the door to a prospective customer, authentic and personal relationships proved to be most valued by the customer.

New and emerging technologies have enhanced this relationship, allowing for precision as the gap between company and consumer begins to dissolve in the digital age. Tools and methodology — such as artificial intelligence and machine learning — enable companies to predict customers’ needs and deliver a more personalized consumer experience.

But with these advancements comes a new ethical responsibility for companies. To maintain consumer trust and grow fruitful business relationships, ethical and transparent data treatment must be a priority.

While many companies are leveraging data to benefit consumer experience, others see the temptation to misuse the data and circumvent vital, personalized relationship-building. The European Union adopted GDPR as a means of establishing regulatory footing to deal with the growing amount of data and its commercial uses. While this regulation provides guidelines for companies on data use and misuse, it should not be the only guiding light in the new digital landscape. Rather than forming compromises based on legislation, ethics should be the arbiter of customer data usage, and put pressure on both individual and corporate accountability.

At SAPPHIRE this year, we unveiled a new customer relationship management tool, SAP C/4HANA, that has a slew of capabilities that help us and our customers better understand consumers. We were confident that we could release an offering that is so heavily reliant on data on the heels of a high-profile data privacy scandal — where consumer data was mishandled — because we have a proven record of collaborative partnership with our customers. We’ve only been able to reach this level of hallowed ground by creating mutually beneficial relationships.

Privacy is a basic human right. Companies must prioritize creating data landscapes and digital environments that are not intrusive. Companies must not sacrifice ethical standards for a bottom line. As we prioritize personalized consumer experiences that evolve with customer preferences, we must also prioritize customer privacy and sensitivity. Companies need to hold themselves accountable for their use of privileged information in a time when business strategy can toe the line of corruption.

The key to building strong customer relationships is establishing trust at the onset. Especially on the topic of data, transparency is critical to developing a successful partnership. When you’re upfront with customers about how and why their data is used, they become more likely to work with you.

With the ubiquity of data and the cognitive tools it fuels, companies are eager to implement tools that will benefit their bottom line. However, the companies that will succeed are those that don’t lose sight of customers’ preferences for privacy and transparency, and blend technology and soft skills to create the lasting customer relationships that will prove mutually beneficial.