Ambulatory Treatment and the Revolution of Sensors

The sensor revolution is also shaping outpatient treatment. For clinics, it promises the same operating advantages that hospitals enjoy. In addition, sensors offer the ability to leverage patients and their families, the largest untapped healthcare workforce in the world. Early experience indicates that all socio-economic classes will be motivated and well received by these tools, providing the ability to reduce the annual cost of treating major chronic diseases by up to one-third.

This is critical considering that approximately two-dozen chronic diseases account for about 75% of U.S. spending on healthcare. They will encourage new, more geographically distributed, proactive, and continuous (24X7) efficient care models, while allowing individual care providers to handle the health and well-being of more patients efficiently, helping to solve the looming shortage of doctors and nurses.

As data collection, processing, and analysis technology continues to develop at an unprecedented rate, we can definitely see more innovative sensor-driven healthcare applications spanning the continuum of treatment from hospital to clinic to the home and workplace of the patient.

Not only will these solutions be driven by the needs of healthcare, but also by customer demand and market forces. Apple’s latest announcement of its HealthKit development platform, Health App, and the Apple Watch is one of hundreds of examples. For a variety of purposes, HealthKit provides immense value as a medical tool. It can aggregate data from a variety of apps or linked medical devices, such as a glucose meter, as well as an increasingly increasing number of consumer-oriented fitness devices, such as the Apple Watch.

The ability to automate the recording of medical metrics is also given. This helps to ensure the consistency of the data if a patient/consumer uses connected devices, so it goes straight from the computer to the corresponding app on their iPhone and then into HealthKit. When an electronic health record that supports HealthKit is used by a patient’s doctor or health system, that data will then be automatically inserted into their medical record.