A few years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that the IBM supercomputer Watson would be a key player in managing obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, or that exoskeletons could enable paralyzed people to walk again.
The reality today is that the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) applications in health and fitness is well under way. Connected devices already allow us to continuously monitor patients as they live their lives. Of the myriad promises, the Internet of Things has the potential to improve patient adherence to prescribed therapies, and shorten, or even better, avoid hospitalizations. According McKinsey Global Institute, the improved health of users and the reduced cost of care for patients with chronic diseases could have an economic impact of $170 billion to $1.6 trillion per year in 2025.
What if the majority of care could be provided in our actual homes? Wearable devices are already on the cusp of becoming part of our everyday life. What about the smart home? After all, tech doesn’t have to be wearable to assess our health. Take smart mirrors for example. Those mirrors can scan and examine facial expressions and fatty tissue to telltale signs of disease. Those are not just fancy concepts. They already exist and will enter clinical trials next year. Smart watches and fitness bands are a great start to track and modify our diet and exercise routines, but not the end game. I believe the Internet of Things will make our home the new clinic, the hospital of the future.