At a time where Google Home or all kind of connected objects are becoming part of our daily lives, they are also transforming the medical area. Between 2014 and 2016, startups in the health industry grew up by 40%.
It can be explained by two reasons, we are now used to connecting our devices and measuring our efforts and our daily activity, indeed we are becoming the own actors of our well-being.
Plus, we are facing the aging of the population with less doctors meaning that we strongly need more services with fewer resources.
Healthcare’s future is strongly linked to the technologies. It represents a lot of advantages in terms of saving time but there are some issues concerning data protection.
A SOCIAL NEED
Benefits from the patient side:
As we are facing the aging of the population, people need a more personalized and regular follow-up. That is why we are talking about “silver economy”. New technologies within the healthcare industry are aiming at simplifying interactions between doctors and patient. For instance, patient will be more autonomous by following their health directly and consequently reassure close relatives.
Benefits from the doctor’s:
Connected objects are not aiming at becoming diagnostic tools or to encourage auto medication but are seen as an helping tool for doctors. Indeed, they will give a detailed follow-up more regularly and more personalized so they will have much more data to give a good diagnostic.
Future consultations with the doctor will be more effective with the daily data measurement of the patient. In other words e-health “More services with less resources”
But what are the limits to health-related technologies?
Regulations always lay behind innovation :
Innovation in the technology industry is developing faster than the law. It is verified for hoverboard and another new way of transportation but also for the medicine. The regulation is not updated for this kind of new technologies.
However, we see a strong will to move in this type of new medical approach. Indeed, in 2018 healthcare professionals who will follow their patients remotely with a connected solution will be better reimbursed by Social Security. Through this law, we can say that the French state shows its convictions: thanks to connected health, doctors offer a more efficient service to their patient.
As the market is emerging represents a huge opportunity for companies, everybody wants its slice of the cake. Moreover, the digital industry is a fast-moving environment, things must be done quickly.
Many connected objects are developed quickly without clinical validation which makes the industry quite dangerous. It can lead to strong damages as they deliver wrong information.
Even worse, some app pushes boundaries by offering auto diagnostic.
At a time when developers of well-being connected objects are approaching the medical frontier, the question of data security is essential.
Data collection in the medical sector is very sensitive.
Within the European Union, its regulations and its use during and after the exchange process are very strict.
The French state shows a strong interest in protecting users from the data collection, for instance through the GDPR (General regulation on data protection; in French: Règlement Général sur la Protection des Données). This regulation will be more careful on this issue and sanction will be tougher.
On the user side, people may not be ready to share their health data as the system is not 100% secure. To counter this phenomenon, organization like ASIP, Agency for Shared Information System on health (in French, Agence des Systèmes d’Information Partagés de santé) are mandated to ensure the data security.
My selection of connected objects in the healthcare industry
- Bioserenity : in the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute, this start-up manufactures connected clothes to monitor people with epilepsy more effectively.
- Pkvitality: Innovation Award at CES 2017, this startup is designing a connected watch that can measure blood glucose levels in a non-invasive way.
How does it work? Biosensors remove the interstitial fluid with traces of glucose painlessly.
- Lifeplus : This startup makes a connected watch for seniors. It measures the health and activity of the person as well as smart sensors placed in the living area that analyze the living environment.
The 3 examples above show that e-health can be very beneficial to all stakeholders. That is, as long as data privacy is enforced and the forthcoming deployment GDPR might be very useful in that report.