M2M Advances Healthcare

Connected technology provides both patients and healthcare professionals quick access to realtime data, which can then be acted on in a timely, efficient manner. This allows both doctors and patients to reap immense benefits. But what is the next step in technology for healthcare?

The answer may be connected mobile devices. A new report from MarketsandMarkets, www.marketsandmarkets.com, says the market for mobile health apps and solutions will grow from $6,336 million this year to $20,683 million by 2018. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 26.7%.

The report states connected devices dominate the current market with roughly 85% of the total revenue contribution, with heart monitoring and fitness tracking accounting for the most prominent use cases. Increasing awareness for the need for healthy lifestyles, and a desire to have vital signs continuously monitored are seemingly driving the adoption.

The market for mobile apps, on the other hand, is apparently still in an introductory phase. A major element holding back the market for paid apps may be the large number of free ones available. Free apps make up almost 90% of the download market for healthcare apps, according to the report.

The research firm notes the elements advancing the mobile health market include the increased adoption of smartphones, tablets, and PDAs (personal digital assistants), as well as the advancement of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and the robust penetration of 3G and 4G. The need for chronic disease management and the prospect of cost efficiency during treatment are also cited as driving factors.

But M2M’s contributions to healthcare go beyond the technology and the data itself. It’s also about what the data can tell us, and how it can help serve the greater good.

This notion was recently demonstrated by Nanthealth, www.nanthealth.com, an organization which aims to power next-generation care through the use of advanced fiber networks, cloud computing, machine learning, and wireless mobile technology, may have the answer. The company recently announced a partnership with Alert Life Sciences Computing, www.alert-online.com, an organization which aims to create a software solution for the complete computerization of healthcare across entire countries.

Through this partnership, Nanthealth’s iCOS (Integrated Intelligent Clinical Operating System) will integrate with ALERT software on an exclusive basis in the United States, with co-distribution rights in the United Kingdom. This will allow doctors and healthcare organizations to harness Big Data and connected intelligence, and to make informed decisions in realtime and at point of care. This could result in more personalized treatment options, a reduction in errors, and improved medical outcomes.

“Together, our two companies will present to the world what’s possible when healthcare providers control smart, industry-leading technology to make better informed choices for their patients,” says Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and CEO of Nanthealth. “We will demonstrate that the right technology, giving doctors the right information, at the right time, can improve and save lives.”

In addition, Nanthealth and ALERT have disclosed intentions to develop new products, specifically a cancer center information system, as well as software for clinical research. Additional details are expected later this year.

M2M and connected technology have the potential to place vital information and resources in the hands of healthcare professionals, thus providing a higher quality of care for patients. Patients can also gain greater insight into their own health and wellbeing. When looked at from that perspective, it’s difficult to deny the impact M2M has on the healthcare industry, and may continue to have for years to come.

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June/July 2014
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