Putting patients at the heart of IoT in India, By Arnab Paul, @iArnabPaul

Patients are the most important stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem and that they should be empowered to make informed choices.

In a broader sense, the “patient pathway” is the route that a patient will take from their first contact with a healthcare provider or a member of staff, through referral, to the completion of their treatment. It also covers the period from entry into a hospital or a Treatment Centre, until the patient leaves.

In healthcare, there already exists whole gamut of technologies in various states of maturity – wearable devices that are perhaps not yet ready to be used as clinical-grade, beta-versions of monitoring devices, inventory tracking systems already being utilized in hospital operations, etc. The innovations we will see in the coming years will push these to new heights and give health system operations the opportunity to be leaders in adoption of the connected world empowered by the internet of things. Willingness to explore the opportunities presented by this world will be the differentiator between those who leverage the capabilities for optimization and those who stick to what’s been just good enough so far.

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to any physical object embedded with technology capable of exchanging data and is pegged to create a more efficient healthcare system in terms of time, energy and cost. One area where the technology could prove transformative is in healthcare. The potential of IoT to impact healthcare is wide ranging. We’ve already seen an increasing movement towards fitness tracking wearables over the last few years. Imagine a world where your vital signs were being constantly monitored and fed back to your healthcare professional.

Many of us who advocate LEAN in Healthcare, we know that lean stands for removing all that is not required, Simply, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources. A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste. The core idea of lean involves determining the value of any given process by distinguishing value added steps from non-value-added steps, and eliminating waste so that ultimately every step adds value to the process. To maximize value and eliminate waste, leaders in health care, as in other organizations, must evaluate processes by accurately specifying the value desired by the user; identifying every step in the process (or “value stream,” in the language of lean) and eliminating non-value-added steps, and making value flow from beginning to end based on the pull — the expressed needs — of the customer/patient. When applied rigorously and throughout an entire organization, lean principles can have a dramatic affect on productivity, cost, and quality.

With the deployment of IoT in healthcare it would enhance the scope of monitoring patients response, since huge zettabytes of data are going to be generated from the many monitoring sensors, if we are somehow able to remove the noise and work on the intelligence derived from it, and if we could somehow wed the intelligent data derived from IoT with the LEAN/ SIX SIGMA tools it would greatly enhance the quality of the patient care pathway. We would be able to do a better job of mapping his entire journey and improve on the patient e care pathway.

IoT in itself wouldn’t be a big help unless the information that is obtained from the sensors and other embedded systems are not synced with data analytics.

These are exciting times for Healthcare Delivery system, after proper deployment of sensors and by the optimum use of other remote monitoring system, suffice to say monetizing the data generated by the IoT would be the principle driver for enterprises and small businesses alike in years to come.

The article was first published in Mr. Arnab Paul’s LInkedIn pulse page, it has been re-published here with the author’s permission

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Arnab Paul, CEO, Patient Planet

Globally-minded systems thinker, action-oriented and inspired toward optimizing health outcomes through innovation, creativity, cooperation. Passionate about facilitating the alignment among technology, people and processes to ultimately improve patient experience and the functioning of healthcare.

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