The connected health sector is an exciting field to be involved in for entrepreneurs, health practitioners and patients.
Technology is influencing all aspects of our lives and there are many small start-ups, large corporations and quirky apps getting in on the growth spurt which is expected to continue in the sector over the next few years.
At a time of such rapid development there have been quite a few recent developments that have the potential to shape the future of the industry.
Here are three of the big happenings making an impact in connected health right now.
The smart revolution
Over the last few years consumer tech giants Apple and Samsung have been racing to achieve market dominance in the wearable tech sphere. A big part of their focus has been on developing health solutions that will help the wearer monitor their daily activity.
Apple has gone so far as developing HealthKit, a structure for app developers to utilise the health and fitness data of the users. It allows developers to create cutting edge health apps that allow the Apple Watch to collect data and report to the user’s iPhone.
Samsung similarly has put its eggs into the smart watch basket, with the Samsung Gear S range. The high tech watch also is a fully functional personal fitness monitor providing detailed statistics on the wearer’s lifestyle including steps taken and hours of sleep.
Samsung’s range also includes the GearFit – a dedicated fitness monitor without the trappings of a smart watch – and Body Scale that provides data analysis of the user’s weight over time, paired with their smartphone.
Healthy digital start-ups
As an exciting and relatively young industry connected health is attractive to entrepreneurs and we are seeing an influx of start-ups that could carry the industry forward into the future. Continuing to innovate within the sector, start-ups are developing the concepts today to utilising constantly changing technological advances.
This ever-changing landscape has the potential to generate huge profits for start-ups, all the while saving lives, improving care and lowering healthcare costs, but it is not without its failures. Failing start-ups are common across all industries and connected health is no exception.
The 2015 Connected Health Symposium in Boston provided some answers to the question why so many connected health start-ups are doomed to failure. Speakers at the event were insistent that the connected health industry should be driven by empathy and care rather than ‘shiny object syndrome’. The suggestion to take the focus away from consumer tech and wearables and onto improving care and reducing costs is a current priority for those entering the industry.
The Deloitte Connected Health report published in April 2015 found that while the connected health industry is growing, it is opening up opportunities for other industries to get involved. The technology, retail and pharmaceutical sectors are bolstering the industry. The involvement of non-traditional healthcare industries is raising the possibility of new unexplored healthcare models and research that may transform the patient experience for years to come.
Companies in Northern Ireland are making big steps forward in this area and we are doing our bit. The Lava Group, working as part of a consortium, has secured £100,000 of funding from the Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) to invest in R&D for its latest piece of behavioural analysis technology.
The funding will support the development of a non-obtrusive system to provide long-term assessment of the environment and physiological metrics of dementia and autism patients within the home or residential care environment.
For more details on this project click here.