Just a few years ago, Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) were terms generally unheard of. In 2016 they are set to revolutionize technology and the ways in which we acquire and process data, but what do they mean for the healthcare industry?
Xenon Health describes IoT as "a phenomenon through which the operational aspects of the physical world become increasingly integrated with digital platforms, enabling information to move seamlessly toward the computational resources that are able to make sense of it."
Essentially, IoT goes hand-in-hand with the mobile age and the diversity of data that is currently being retrieved from agile and mobile locations.
Big Data is a related concept – it addresses the ever-increasing amounts of data that are created every second of every day and recognizes that these figures will only continue to grow. Domo provides a useful infographic that explains the "social media minute": every single minute, for example, 277,000 tweets are sent, WhatsApp users share 347,222 photos and Google receives over 4,000,000 search queries!
These figures are remarkable even for those of us caught up in the social media hype, and most shocking of all is the realization that the global internet population now represents 2.4 billion people. That’s a lot of people creating a lot of data – the question now is how can we utilize this data in a meaningful way?
IoT has revolutionized many industries and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future, but what about healthcare? Organizations within this industry tend to adopt new technologies slowly, relying upon solid evidence and demonstrable impact and efficiency before committing to any such change. The shift towards IoT is, however, beginning to take place, and increasing amounts of available patient data are beginning to impact decision-making processes within this sector.
What will this mean for the future of our health?