Provided they are secure, reliable, and carefully selected, wireless technologies will help heal the world’s ailing healthcare systems.
Healthcare stands before a major transformation. And it’s right on time. The global cost of healthcare is staggering, at 7.7 trillion US$ in 2017 and rising. In many developed countries, hospitals and other health‑related facilities are running at capacity. Antiquated and inefficient processes in disease diagnosis, patient monitoring, treatment, and follow‑up, as well ineffective communication of patient data are at the heart of the problem. The results are excessive costs, poor outcomes, and frequent, costly re‑admissions.
And, because of the confluence of multiple trends – demographic, societal, and economic – the problems won’t solve themselves. As the world population continues to grow, becomes wealthier, and lives longer, the incidence of non‑communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s continues to rise, further increasing costs.
Fortunately, change is in the air, literally. Leveraging wireless communication technology, the digital transformation of the healthcare system promises to rein in costs and improve patient outcomes by ushering in structural changes, new paradigms, and new business models.
Digital solutions will help medical professionals gain deeper insight into the effectiveness of treatment strategies and improve their understanding of pathologies. Electronic health records will make it easier for general practitioners and specialists to effectively coordinate treatments. And an increased reliance on automated interactions will free up capacity of medical personnel by allowing them to focus on where their expertise is most needed.
Central to this transformation are connected medical devices. In clinics, connected medical devices can monitor the location and the health of patients and keep tabs on beds, devices such as dialysis machines, and other critical infrastructure. Outside the hospital, they help medical professionals track patients to carry out remote diagnostics and simplify chronic disease management. And at home, assisted living solutions increase the autonomy of patients and elderly individuals, while helping keep people healthy using preventative care.
Wireless connectivity is key to enabling connected healthcare solutions due to the flexibility, mobility, and ease of use it offers to connect medical devices to the cloud. Standardized technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi‑Fi, and cellular connectivity will be critical for the development of solutions for the global market. Ultimately, the choice of the technology depends on the needs of each individual application.
Data privacy and patient confidentiality are two commonly discussed barriers to transforming healthcare. Patient safety is another, in particular in active devices such as connected insulin dispensers and cardiac pacemakers.
To fulfill the promise of connected health, security is non‑negotiable. Full end‑to‑end security has to be guaranteed, from each individual sensor, through the wireless network infrastructure, all the way into the cloud.
To see what such a solution might look like, join us at our booth at MWC Los Angeles!
At u‑blox we are growing the portfolio of products you need to securely and efficient connect patients to care givers. To find out more, watch our on‑demand webinar on secure wireless connectivity solutions for eHealth. You’ll also learn how to select the most appropriate cellular and short range connectivity options for your application.
 2019 Global Health Care Outlook - Shaping the future, Deloitte