IoT Improves Health Through Remote Monitoring

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As I discussed in the first blog post in this series, potential applications for the Internet of Things (IoT) in the healthcare sector run deep and wide. Integrating with the IoT will enable health care providers of the future to see more patients, from a wider geographic area and at lower costs. Data collection and transmission en masse thanks to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) will allow quicker, more accurate diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of conditions. And – as is the focus for this post – IoT-connected devices can perform remote patient monitoring (RPM) and diagnostics to improve patient quality of life.

Defining remote patient monitoring (RPM)

Goldman-Sachs researchers David H. Roman and Kyle D. Conlee define remote patients diagnostics and monitoring as “devices and applications that allow care providers to keep tabs on chronically ill, recently released, and overall ‘high-risk’ patients” (9). Simply put, remote monitoring devices allow care professionals to gather and analyze their patients’ health data without having to physically see the patient. This allows providers to have round-the-clock visibility into how their patients are doing, and enables them to be more proactive in terms of flagging and responding to potentially adverse health data.

Oftentimes, RPM takes advantage of technology that a patient already has in place in his or her home, such as wireless Internet and a smartphone or tablet. Sometimes, additional equipment such as an electronic blood pressure cuff or blood sugar testing device may need to be connected to the existing home network for health monitoring.

Using IoT-integrated devices to improve patient outcomes 

Research has shown that patients who perform regular monitoring of chronic conditions using IoT-enabled devices have better outcomes than those who don’t take advantage of these technologies. For example, a 2015 study of 269,471 patients with pacemakers, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators or cardiac resynchronization therapy found that those patients who spent more time each week using remote monitoring had higher survival rates than those who didn’t use the remote monitoring that was available to them (Niraj, et al.).

Environmental monitoring via the IoT

Another type of health monitoring that IoT-enabled devices can facilitate is environmental monitoring, meaning devices installed in living spaces that enable certain high-risk individuals to live more independently. With remote environmental monitoring in place in homes and assisted living apartments, for example, older or disabled people are able to live more independently for longer. Knowing that a doctor or the life squad will be immediately notified in the event of an adverse health event – such as a spike in blood pressure or drop in blood sugar – can help set families’ minds at ease.

Using RPM to improve patient quality of life

In a 2014 report titled “Connecting Patients with Providers: A Pan-Canadian Study on Remote Patient Monitoring,” Canada Health Infoway writes:

“The role of information technology is a critical enabler to improving health services delivery. As decision-makers consider options for delivering high quality care at the right cost, there is a need for innovative solutions that potentially reconfigure traditional service delivery models. RPM is a critical enabler for this transformation with the potential to incentivize self-management, support the delivery of care in home settings and significantly improve the patient experience.” (Emphasis added)

Indeed, for all patient groups, RPM has the potential to reduce the number of hospitalizations, frequency of readmissions and lengths of hospital stays. Remote monitoring allows for more proactive healthcare that can anticipate patient needs before a situation becomes dire. All of these factors contribute to improving patient quality of life and help to drive down healthcare costs for everyone.

References

“Connecting Patients with Providers: A Pan-Canadian Study on Remote Patient Monitoring: Executive Summary.” Canada Health Infoway. Published June 2014. Accessed online.

Roman, David H. and Kyle D. Conlee. The Digital Revolution Comes to US Healthcare. Internet of Things, Vol. 5. Equity Research, Goldman-Sachs. Published 29 June 2015.

Varma, Niraj, et al. “The Relationship Between Level of Adherence to Automatic Wireless Remote Monitoring and Survival in Pacemaker and Defibrillator Patients.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 65 (24): 2015. Accessed online.

Originally appeared on The IoT Collective.

An Interpretation: IoT in Healthcare

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As someone with over a decade of experience in various aspects of healthcare, Cathy called upon me to craft a blog series on healthcare and the IoT. I was charged to think and write about potential applications, how big data is impacting the patient experience and perhaps some real-world use cases.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, as I dug into stats and studies on one of my favorite research websites, I quickly learned how people define and refer to “Healthcare IoT” runs far and wide – and isn’t really simple in the least. In fact, Forbes contributor TJ McCue reports that by 2020, the IoT in healthcare will be a $117 billion market.

With my years of experience partnering with and writing for hospitals, health networks and doctor’s offices, wanting to better understand how the IoT is impacting healthcare was a no-brainer. Several hours of research in, and I’ve learned that there are many potential applications for the IoT within the healthcare industry, one of the most rapidly changing and technologically evolving verticals in the world.

Framing up Healthcare IoT

Because the IoT in general – as well as Healthcare IOT specifically – is defined by lots of people in lots of different ways, let’s start by shoring up the definition for how I’ll be discussing it. A Goldman-Sachs analysis of the topic by David H. Roman and Kyle D. Conlee provides an excellent starting point for my review of healthcare IoT, so I’d like to use their definition:

“Platforms that create actionable patient data to aid in the treatment or prevention of diseases outside of the traditional care setting, drastically reducing costs in the process.” (9)

Roman and Conlee’s definition is very useful, I think, because they restrict the types of devices, technologies and networks that are included in Healthcare IoT. Instead of considering every gadget and device with an Internet connection and the potential to generate data – as sometimes happens in the burgeoning world of the IoT – we will consider only those technologies that generate, store and transmit meaningful data that have the potential to make a measurable difference in terms of patient experience, quality of care and healthcare costs.

The time is right for Healthcare IoT

You might be thinking that there’s not much to argue with there: of course the healthcare industry should be investing in technologies and practices that improve the patient experience and help to reduce costs at a time when healthcare costs seem to only be rising at an astronomical rate. But, how do we know that now is the right time to invest in the IoT in the healthcare sector? Roman and Conlee provide some pretty convincing proof points:

  • Near-universal digitalization of clinical data with EMR (Electronic Medical Records)
  • Shift from fee-for-service payment model to fee-for-value payment model
  • Dramatic increase in high-deductible insurance plans that transfer more of the health cost burden to consumers
  • Big players – with big dollars – investing in the space
  • High rates of smartphone usage, even among older segments of the population

The potential for big impact with Healthcare IoT

As you can see, there is a lot to explore when it comes to the IoT and possible applications within healthcare. So, for the next few posts in this series I will explore how integration with the IoT can provide real value in the following areas:

  • Remote patient diagnostics and monitoring – How healthcare professionals can use Internet-ready devices to be more proactive, keep patients happier and better manage chronic and acute conditions
  • Telehealth – How technologies like Skype and FaceTime could enable doctors and their staff to see more patients more quickly and from a wider geographical area
  • Behavior modification – How transmitting and storing health data via the IoT can foster healthier lifestyles and lead to measurable improvements in chronic health conditions

What are your initial thoughts and reactions? How do you see the IoT changing the healthcare landscape in the coming months and years?

References

McCue, TJ. “$117 Billion Market for Internet of Things In Healthcare By 2020.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2015/04/22/117-billion-market-for-internet-of-things-in-healthcare-by-2020/#41c695702471. Published 22 April 2015.

Roman, David H. and Kyle D. Conlee. The Digital Revolution Comes to US Healthcare. Internet of Things, Vol. 5. Equity Research, Goldman-Sachs. Published 29 June 2015.

Originally appeared on The IoT Collective.

Back in the Saddle With Software Development

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Things have a funny way of working out sometimes, don’t they? Well, I certainly think so as I find myself as a consultant for a software development team for the second time in my life. 🙂 Like the other software project that ramped up back in summer of 2013, I was brought onto this team in the past couple weeks as an expert in user research and assessing user needs from a qualitative perspective. Sounds fancy, huh? Well, it’s actually pretty simple.

We’re aiming to infuse user-centered design into corporate thinking. We ask real-life users what they need from a software product and how they use it in their everyday job tasks. Once we have some pieces of functionality to show them, we ask them how we’ve done. Then, we iterate from there and make improvements so we are always keeping the user in mind for our development work and product planning. It’s a very rewarding job as we help bring together the product team, development team and other internal teams along with users of their products and services. Oftentimes, it’s the first time the client is really asking users what they need rather than just assuming they already understand their needs. That means we can make a big impact!

Working on this project–along with several others I’ve already had going–means that Q4 is shaping up to be an especially busy quarter. Well, that sounds good to me! Productivity = happiness for this busy-body freelancer 🙂

Welcoming Silas

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May 28th, 2016 was a monumental day in my life, to say the least: we welcomed our son, Silas Daniel Quales. Perfectly healthy and arriving exactly one week before his due date, this little guy (weighing in at 6 lbs, 7 oz) has been such a joy. His timing was impeccable, as my husband was off nursing school for the summer so he was able to stay home to help me with Silas for the first 2.5 months of his life.

I took 6 weeks completely off work, during which time I admittedly got antsy to start back to work. I’m one of those people who is not happy if not productive, which usually means making money 🙂 When I did return to my clients and projects in mid-July, the transition was fairly seamless thanks to Jon also being home with us for another month.

Being a WAHM

Becoming a mom has made me appreciate my self-employed, work-from-home status just about a million times more than I did before. Having an easy going baby certainly helps me continue to be productive during the day at home, and I’ve been able to easily plan meetings and on-site engagements on days when my husband is available or when my family members watch Silas for half days. I plan to keep working diligently to grow my business so I can continue freelancing for years to come, so I can be home with my little boy as he grows up!

With that said, I am currently looking to pick up additional projects in my areas of expertise, including writing, editing, content strategy and qualitative research/analysis. I have about 20 hours a week open at this time for additional work. Just shoot me an email at danielle.quales@gmail.com if you have needs in any of those areas!

2016…off to a great start!

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I’m way past due for a blog post, so I thought I would write a quick post on what I’ve been up to in 2016 so far. I hope everyone else’s new year is going just as well!

I continue to work as a contract content specialist for my longest-term customer Vantiv, creating Help articles, training content (such as how-to video scripts and PPT decks) and marketing support for their revamped customer-facing payments processing platform, Vantiv iQ. It’s been a huge undertaking; I’ve been on the project since July 2013 when I was brought on to conduct user research in the field. I feel privileged to still be working with the team, and am looking forward to this project coming full circle later this year.

I’ve also been engaged by Vantiv’s Marketing department to write a regular, year-long blog series. I write 20+ research-based blog posts per month about topics of interest to merchants that process electronic payments, including credit and debit cards, EMV chip cards, digital wallet, mobile payments and NFC payments.

While the above two Vantiv projects are a close to 40-hour-per-week commitment, I also continue to support a variety of smaller projects for other clients, including:

  • Serving as a writer on the large website refresh project for Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. I have refreshed web copy for 5 service lines so far, and continue to be brought in on more content as needed.
  • Serving as project manager and writer for the website refresh of Chicago-based genetic testing company Insight Medical Genetics.
  • Serving as content strategist and writer for the major overhaul of the 1,000+ page intranet site of Intuit.

Let’s work together in 2016! If you need freelance writing, editing or content strategy support, shoot me an email today: danielle.quales@gmail.com.

Apples & Oranges

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I’ve been fortunate to have been able to get involved in some B2C projects lately–both on the research and writing fronts. The new B2C projects have been mostly in the CPG industry and, interestingly, the target for most of these projects has been the same: mom. Wow, what a very different audience than the payments processing customers for whom I’ve been researching, designing and writing since July 2013 at Vantiv!

I’m always thankful for the great volume of B2B projects I’ve had over the past 2 years of freelancing, but have been eager to expand my skills into the consumer side of things. Writing for consumers is so incredibly different than writing for B2B industries. I really like that image I found for this blog; the old “apples and oranges” adage is certainly applicable here.

Much of the B2B writing I’ve done is more on the technical writing side–like a whole lot of system documentation and instructions at Vantiv. In that kind of writing, getting your point across very clearly and efficiently is most important. In consumer-facing writing these characteristics, of course, continue to be important–but it’s also key that your writing grabs the attention of your audience. For virtually every product or service consumer marketing is trying to sell, the competition is stiff. B2C marketers have literally mere seconds to capture their target audience’s time and attention. With the continual onslaught of information in today’s technological age, consumers’ attention span has grown increasingly short.

This kind of short-form writing has been a new challenge for me–one that I’m excited to tackle and know that I am improving in with each day! I hope to continue to take on a wide variety of projects throughout 2015–and beyond.

Writing, Editing and Project Managing for WriterGirl

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I’ve recently began writing some blog posts (they’re not live quite yet, though) for WriterGirl, a digital healthcare content company for which I’ve been an associate for almost a year now. It’s been a great experience working with the folks there; I started out as a writer–which I continue to do and enjoy–but have also recently began picking up projects as an editor and a project manager. I love new adventures!

Anyway, I was cruising their blog this morning and came across this recent post by Jessica entitled “5 Lessons Every Marketer Can Learn from Frozen.” It’s a very fun and informative article! I always love a good Disney reference. Be sure to check it out!

Conducting Some Qual…Online!

online-qual

I feel like I’ve moved into the 21st century. I recently helped to set up, facilitate and report the results of an online discussion board for the United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC). It was a really fun, educational experience. Coming from academia, transitioning from using a typewriter to a computer to publish one’s thesis is considered a bit of a big deal!

As I blogged about here, back in November I completed a course with Carol Shea (of Olivetree Research) about developing and testing new concepts using online discussion boards. I was excited to actually get to work with Carol on this UWGC project. (Thanks again, Carol, for this great opportunity!) The discussion board went very well; we had many participants who shared insightful comments. As much as I enjoy moderating the actual discussions, carefully reviewing and analyzing the findings to distill new insights for the client is my favorite part of the research process.

I hope to continue to get involved with more research projects this year–especially those of the online variety. It’s evident that this is the direction in which qualitative research is going in the (immediate) future, so I know that I need to polish my online research skills. Email me today (danielle.quales@gmail.com) if your company has a upcoming qualitative research project (B2B or B2C–I do it all!) that needs freelance support!

Blogging…Professionally!

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I got my first regular, professional blogging gig last week. As popular of a digital content type that it is, the vast majority of the writing I’ve done professionally so far has been static website content–mostly marketing-type content, but also quite a bit of technical writing. I’m a long-winded academic at heart, so taking on a longer-form project is always fun for me! I’ll be blogging regularly for Redstitch, a small digital agency with which I’ve worked for almost 2 years now. I’ll start with their in-house blog, then we hope to expand our blog offerings to their clients, so I have even more blog-writing projects soon.

Working in tandem with the new inbound marketing guru at Redstitch, the first blog series I developed is a series on marketing personas. This was a great topic with which to start–it’s super critical in today’s market and I have a ton of experience researching, developing and executing content based on targeted personas. Blogs are great because there’s often research involved (my favorite) and they’re a regular, ongoing gig. It will be fun to develop a tone for the Redstitch blog over time and–hopefully–a devoted readership! (Note: the blog isn’t live quite yet, but it should be fairly soon.)

Any tips for me as I begin blogging on digital marketing topics?