Set M2M free: Keeping pace with opportunity in the healthcare sector

Erik Brenneis Erik Brenneis

(BLOG:) The health sector has been evolving for thousands of years, as new clinical findings have come to the forefront. Today, says Erik Brenneis, head of Vodafone M2M, it continues to evolve, but as well as keeping in line with new medical discoveries it also leads the way in the adoption of cutting edge technologies.

Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology is at the forefront of this adoption in the health sector with hospitals and health equipment manufacturers increasingly using the technology to improve services and operational efficiency. This ranges from the remote monitoring of patient glucose levels, blood pressure and heart rates as well as tracking and dispensing of medicine. The adoption of M2M technologies is constantly increasing.

Machina Research estimates the total installed base of M2M-connected devices in the health sector will top 774 million worldwide by 2020. With projected figures such as these it’s clear the health sector is well placed to be one of the first industries to be truly re-shaped by M2M.

The adoption of most technology comes as businesses and industries look to improve the efficiency of their operations – this is very true with M2M. In the case of the health sector, reducing overall costs is also a major driver for adoption of M2M solutions. Traditionally it has been a high cost industry, from outpatient check-ups and diagnosis to the monitoring of highly expensive medical equipment that may not be performing at its full potential. The adoption of M2M means the same processes can be carried out at a reduced cost, while not compromising on quality.

Machina Research predicts that 54% of the 774 million connected devices in operation in 2020 will operate in the US alone. With a large population of insured patients undergoing advanced treatments, the US has lead the way in adopting innovative new technologies that can help transform the health sector, as this research clearly shows. As a result, the US health sector has, for some time now, enjoyed the benefits that M2M technology can provide. As the standard and capabilities of M2M continue to improve, such benefits will only become greater, reshaping the landscape of the wider healthcare industry as we know it.

Other countries, such as the UK, need to follow the lead of the US in order to benefit in the same way that the industry across the Atlantic has for some time. In the UK not only would the wide scale adoption of M2M technology improve efficiency in organisations the size of the NHS, but it would also improve the patient experience.

TRxCare is a good example of an organisation that has benefited from embracing M2M technology. The company provides patients suffering from chronic diseases with collaborative solutions to ensure they stick rigidly to their medication regimes, which with an adherence rate of 95% can often be incredibly challenging. Incorporating M2M technology has enabled TRxCare to create an innovative solution that works in conjunction with a smartphone app to remind patients when to take their medication, while also enabling them to abide to strict dietary requirements, ensuring they can combat the virus as effectively as possible.

Considering figures from the World Health Organisation suggest that 10% of all hospital admissions and 125,000 deaths a year globally are caused by a failure to take medication correctly, the benefits to both health organisations and patients such as those living with HIV are clear to see.

The adoption of M2M provides a unique opportunity for the global health sector to transform the way it operates. By opening the door to allow easier adoption of M2M technology and supporting its uptake in new and innovative ways, governments can ensure the health industry is poised to operate at the most efficient level possible.

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