The healthcare sector is facing a great change. And he comes at the right time. At $ 7.7 trillion in 2017, global healthcare costs are staggering. And an end is not yet in sight. In many developed countries, hospitals and other health care facilities are at full capacity. Outdated and inefficient processes in disease diagnosis, patient monitoring, treatment and follow-up, and the ineffective communication of patient data form the heart of the problem. The consequences are excessive costs, poor results and frequent, costly re-hospitalisations and health facilities.
And as several trends work together - demographic, societal and economic developments - the problems do not resolve themselves. With the growth, wealth and longer lifetime of the world's population, the incidence of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's on, which further increases the cost.
Fortunately, change is literally in the air. The use of wireless communication technology, the digital transformation of the healthcare system that is already underway, promises to curb costs and improve patient outcomes through rapid structural change, new paradigms and new business models.
Digital solutions will help physicians gain deeper insights into the efficacy of treatment strategies and better understand clinical pictures. Electronic patient records will help general practitioners and clinicians to effectively coordinate treatment. And increasing reliance on automated interactions will free up medical staff capacity because it can focus on those cases where their expertise is most needed.
At the heart of this transformation are networked medical devices. In clinics, networked medical devices can monitor the location and condition of patients and provide beds, appliances, such as dialysis machines, and other critical infrastructure in mind. Outside of hospitals, they help physicians to look over patients' shoulders and, for example, provide remote diagnosis and simplify the treatment of chronic illnesses. And at home, assisted living increases the autonomy of patients and the elderly and helps to keep people healthy through preventative care.
Wireless connectivity is the key to delivering networked healthcare solutions because of the flexibility, mobility and ease-of-use that connect medical devices to the cloud. Standardised technologies such as Bluetooth, WiFi and mobile will be critical to developing solutions for the global marketplace. Ultimately, the choice of technology depends on the needs of each application.
Data protection and confidentiality are two frequently discussed barriers to the transformation of the healthcare system. Patient safety is another barrier, especially for active devices such as networked insulin dispensers and pacemakers. To fulfill the promise of the networked healthcare, security is essential. Full end-to-end security must be guaranteed, from every single sensor through wireless network infrastructure to the cloud.
At u-blox, it is expanding the portfolio of products you need to connect patients safely and efficiently with caregivers.
Guest blog written by Diego Grassi, Senior Manager Product Strategy Cellular, Industrial Market Development, u-blox.
Courtesy of u-blox.