Analysing one provider’s approach to the Internet of Things for healthcare

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

A report from Business Insider last year looked at an area described as the ‘Internet of Medical Things’ (IoMT). Its remit naturally focused around connectivity and IoT devices in hospitals and wider healthcare. The report argued the market would grow to an  estimated $158 billion by 2022.

Writing for this publication this time last year, Asim Rahal noted that, in spite of the positive figures, a clear disparity remains. “IoT devices both in and out of hospitals have become permanent fixtures of the healthcare industry,” Rahal wrote. “However, with the expansion of the data being collected, there is recognition across the industry that more tools are needed to help organisations glean more actionable insights from their data.”

But who are the types of companies looking to drive the momentum in this space?

Brian Phillips is founder and CEO of MedShift, a provider of platform as a service (PaaS) and cloud-enabled technologies to medical device manufacturers and individual medical practices. The company was formed to level up the playing field for medical practices in terms of equipment, as well as “disrupt the traditional surgical aesthetic device market by offering permanent placement, holistic subscription services for surgeons, physicians and their business,” as Phillips puts it.  “MedShift delivers mass scale IoT to medical device manufacturers and supports their customer base jointly” the company notes.

Yet the extra element comes with the in-house communications agency MedShift provides, to help with the marketing.

As a result, what typically starts out as a device contract ends up being much more. “Every customer that purchases from MedShift is given access to our platform as a service and additional marketing inclusions that are up to their discretion,” Phillips tells IoT News. “Once these marketing inclusions have been implemented, practices will often seek out additional services from MedShift to further elevate their brand.”

A good example of modernisation is through one customer, whose sales representatives traditionally used paper systems which would then be given to the backend office. Through MedShift, the company digitized the entire process. It sounds straightforward, but for all the talk of IoT, AI et al, it is a good indicator of where many healthcare organisations actually are in their journeys.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated things on this front. The need for remote working, even in healthcare, with in-person appointments either shut down or stripped back, was necessary. The industry grappled during the first few months of global lockdowns with how to make remote consultations and ‘virtual clinics’ work for patients.

Phillips has spotted another driving factor, however. “Since Covid-19, MedShift has seen an increase in business because many patients have been using this timeframe to fully recover from treatments, which has led to an increase in device usage as well,” he says.

“The increase in business has correlated directly to an acceleration in IoT rollouts because manufacturers and providers are realising how essential our connected devices are in providing data that can be used on a day-to-day basis,” adds Phillips.

Ultimately, as with any industry with regards to IoT, the point where the rubber meets the road is often data. As Johan Klebbers of Shell told this publication in 2018: IoT on its own is useless, only becoming useful when we pick up the data and apply it.

This is where Phillips sees the puck moving as well. “Remote monitoring capabilities will move to the forefront as data becomes increasingly essential in the workplace,” he explains. “This data will allow businesses to maintain better long-term relationships with customers and improve upon data-driven initiatives.

“Connectivity is the foundation of IoT and leveraging data analytics gathered from this will give businesses the information they need to succeed.”

Having an all-in-one approach would therefore be seen as an interesting one – and one MedShift is banking on for success.

This article is in association with Medshift.

Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

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