2013
01.31

My husband, being diabetic since grade school, has seen firsthand all the medical advances related to diabetes throughout the past two decades. But now there is a whole new set of advances available to him—connected devices and M2M.

As an editor in the space, I know health-monitoring technology can lead to more efficient long-term care for patients. Roughly a month ago, when I saw the news about Telcare offering one of the first wireless-enabled blood glucose meters for individuals with diabetes and other chronic illnesses, my interest was piqued even further.

The wireless blood glucose meter enables two-way messaging, transmitting medical data to a clinical server and a suite of smartphone apps. The server connects directly to EMR (electronic medical record) systems, while the phone apps are used by caregivers or patients.

The challenge is my husband isn’t quite as eager as I am to incorporate M2M and connected devices into his daily regime. And this mimics much of the sentiment in the marketplace. While M2M can lead to decreased costs, more efficient care delivery, and improved sustainability of the healthcare system, the rate of adoption is still very slow. Berg Insights estimates 2.8 million patients used home-monitoring systems with integrated connectivity as of the end of 2012. That’s all!

With the amount of technological innovation taking place in M2M and connected devices as of late, I would hope home healthcare would be one of the leading areas of adoption—especially considering what’s at stake. But alas, adoption remains low. One of the main reasons, which is likely the cause in my husband’s case, is simply resistance to change—that and the fact that he is still young and has been managing his diabetes successfully for years without the aid of technology.

But let’s look at another example. I have another elderly family member who was also recently diagnosed with diabetes. While she is young enough to still care for herself, she is approaching an age where I might begin to worry if she is left alone for extended periods of time. This is the perfect use case for a wireless blood glucose meter. And yet there is another major hurdle standing in the way: She is technology challenged, let’s say, (she just recently got the swing of email) and it can be difficult to talk her into using anything connected.

So what is going to drive adoption of health-monitoring systems? Home healthcare systems will need to be driven by incentives from insurance companies as well as national health systems that demand remote monitoring. That and of course worried family members, like myself, looking to secure the highest level of care for loved ones.

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