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Connected devices are steadily becoming a part of healthcare, with the industry seeing an 11 percent increase in Internet of Things (IoT) connections this year over 2016, according to a report by Verizon.
But IoT adoption by the healthcare industry lags far behind other major sectors, the Verizon State of the Market: Internet of Things 2017" report concludes.
Manufacturers saw an 84 percent increase in IoT connections this year, followed by the energy/utilities sector (41 percent), transportation/distribution (40 percent), and smart cities/communities (19 percent).
Nancy Green, global healthcare business development and strategy executive leader at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, tells Healthcare IT News that healthcare executives are concerned about IoT standards, security, interoperability, and cost:
“Consider the organizations and institutions that exist within the healthcare industry ecosystem,” she said. “Each has its own goals and role to play in the industry. For example, the pharmaceutical industry successfully uses IoT solutions that track drugs through the supply chain; however, a hospital with a sprawling complex might prioritize a smart community application to track assets for care, inventory reconciliation and personnel.”
For these differences and others, healthcare organizations find it challenging to adopt IoT technology because of high costs; the lack of standards and security practices; and challenges integrating data from IoT applications into legacy systems, she added.
Another potential stumbling block for healthcare adoption of IoT is “integration of IoT data into legacy systems is another barrier,” Green tells Healthcare IT News.
“The complexity of information systems used within healthcare has made the integration of the data from IoT applications a challenge,” she says. “The value of IoT is the data that comes from each use. For example, analytics from a patient’s connected devices increasingly need to also be available in that patient’s electronic health record.”
Fortunately, she says, some of these barriers are eroding as new network technologies emerge and costs drop, among other factors.