IoT Healthcare – it’s already here and it’s not that ‘new’

Yesterday, I went to an extremely inspiring medical technology think tank; attended by academics, private and public sector innovators. The assembled great and good were convened by Peter Jarrit as a specific part of the NHS’s drive to deal with clinical needs in practical ways.

Once I had waded though the almost impenetrable industry TLAs (three letter acronyms) given to the organisations and the stages of healthcare, I discovered an eye-watering groundswell of medical technologies that solve real problems using new and old combinations of tech for more effective care was on show.

In stark contrast to the ‘talking shops’ of all things IoT (Internet of Things), this was a group of experienced domain professionals using a number of well established technologies, often from other fields of endeavour to connect what in punditry would be described as ‘devices, cloud and big data’. Example technologies demonstrated were motion-capture (for detecting brain injury), cyber security (for improved record sharing whilst keeping patients details safe) and even the QR code being put to very practical use. In some instances, the ubiquity of the smartphone seemed to offer avenues for exploring new solutions to old problems; unlocking some older use cases, a subject the BMJ has recently published a paper about.

There was much friendly critiquing of the technologies showcased and the problems being solved. Undoubtedly, there would be connections made, ideas derived and additional perspectives added to attendees own projects. Brilliant; inspiring to see such collaboration at work.

It struck me how much of the research and testing was being seeded by those organisations with both healthcare and business mandates. The Small Business Research Initiative from InnovateUK got mentioned on a number of occasions, the government’s supporting body for innovators. If Sajid Javid, the BIS minister wished to see how well the support was being deployed, a snapshot of the think tank would have confirmed it to him.

Notes from the observer:

Innovators will soon be able to access lists online of clinical needs published by the Heathcare Technology Cooperatives, along with tool kits to show them how to navigate their pathway through distinct phases of clinical trials to NHS approval.

Data gathering is standardising and being centralised; from the big platforms of established players like Philips, to the smaller innovators collecting data at low cost, but powerfully informative levels.

GPs will soon have a website tool cataloging new technologies available for them to propose.

Written by Jonathan Brech

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