After Big Data-Keep Healthcare Ahead with Internet of Things
In the book Nudge, renowned behavioral economist Richard Thaler makes the case for subtly changing people's behavior to improve human conditions. Additionally, quality improvement literature shows that complex interventions like comprehensive education, data, or even signs do not work nearly as well as a timely reminder when the right action counts.
For the health provider who must manage hundreds of data pieces on a daily basis, it is easy to forget simple little things. Integration with smart sensors on a frequently used object like the modern hospital pager or stethoscope can help ensure that these important little actions are not forgotten.
One user case scenario is hand hygiene. As early as the 19th century, the benefits of handwashing were established as a clear source of reducing hospital-associated infections. More recently, the Joint Commission published a monograph that showed a hospital with high compliance is overall safer than a hospital with low compliance for hand washing. Although healthcare has made great strides in promoting hand hygiene, maintaining high compliance is a challenging task for every health system. In the world of IoT, a timely and gentle vibration to the wrist as a health provider exits a patient's room harnesses the power of behavioral economics for improved compliance.
IoT is the next natural step of Big Data in healthcare. The wealth of data arising from ubiquitous connectivity will help us better understand not just disease processes but also improve the way existing services are delivered.