Internet of Health: Intelligence is the Key

How can we manage our own health effectively when we barely know about our own body and how to get the right care when we need it? The Internet of Health (IoH) will be a huge step in the right direction and three key trends will pave the way for us to get to truly intelligent products and services.

1) Apps Are Saturated

The answer is most definitely not just creating Yet-Another-App. There are too many of those already and each of us has a limited attention span. If you are a publisher consider that the number of apps in mobile health has skyrocketed… and the usage has declined. In a future world of IoH the apps (or whatever the equivalent is at that point) will be necessary but not sufficient and have enough intelligence to help collect massive amounts of data, make sense of it, and help pinpoint to you the areas you should focus.

2) Devices Continue Selling

Many have argued that the market for wearables is saturated, there are just so many people that want to wear things and they have just so many wrists. But the data shows the market is actually still growing healthily, no pun intended. What is missing is engagement, since the data also shows there is a steep dropoff in usage within the first few months. Once again, the key is to go beyond being a tracker and provide real insights, say analyze your heartrate variability to provide a measure of stress or your patterns of inhaler usage to warn you of asthma attacks. Today overwhelmingly we have connected devices, IoH will come into full form when we have smart devices.

3) Physicians As Influencers

There is a pervasive thinking among technologists that giving access to information will empower everyone to make better healthcare decisions. While I would be the last one to argue against the power of being informed, as technologists we forget that people may not have the time or desire to digest information and that we actually want experts to guide us. I am of the firm belief that IoH will actually empower doctors rather than diminish their role. And indeed doctors themselves are increasingly embracing the notion that technology can augment rather than replace their craft. Doctors are and I believe will continue being the single largest influencer in healthcare decisions and leveraging their influence is key for entrepreneurs.

Challenges

Amidst all these trends there will be tremendous challenges, consider just the following incomplete list:

  • Data ownership
  • Data retention
  • Data transmission security
  • Longevity of startup creating health-critical applications
  • Safety of prototype devices

These are opportunities for all kinds of innovators, from corporates to startups.

What other trend do you see will enable to the Internet of Health? As always appreciate shares, likes and comments.