Healthcare Internet of Things Provides A Roadmap For Australia’s Remote and Chronic Condition Patients
Doctors and medical technologists have become increasingly passionate advocates for the ability of Healthcare Internet of Things (IoT) to transform how we deliver Healthcare in the future.
Pioneers such as Will Rosellini and Mark C. Bates MD, DSci (Hon), FACC, FSCAI 1 respectively the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer and Founder & Chief Innovation Officer of Nexeon, is creating a potential roadmap for providing effective Healthcare for Australia’s remote and chronic condition patients.
Nexeon is a US-based bioelectronics company developing active medical devices for treating chronic medical conditions. Inspired by a combination of the technological breakthroughs offered by the IoT and the ballooning healthcare needs of America’s aging population, the company is one of many innovators in this space whose solution provides a snapshot of what Australia’s healthcare delivery model of the future could look like, particularly for how we approach providing adequate care for Australia’s remote and chronic condition patients.
Healthcare Internet of Things Defined
Healthcare IoT or the Internet of Medical Things refers to a connected network of medical devices, software applications and Big Data analytics that can communicate with a spectrum of Healthcare IT-based systems. In the near future, a Healthcare IoT system will stream patient data in real time remotely to a physician for monitoring and treatment adjustment. All without patients having to visit a doctor’s physical office.
Australia’s vast distances pose challenges for Healthcare providers operating in regional and rural Australia. Innovative companies such as Nexeon offer a window onto how Australian doctors may support patients in rural and remote practices in a practical, cost-effective way in the near future.
Healthcare IoT’s unique network-based model is a challenge for current regulatory frameworks around the world. The devices themselves need to navigate the regulatory pathway to commercialization which typically requires a 10 year, $30 million dollar development journey. In parallel, the implications of an interconnected network spanning patients, medical practitioners, communications carriers, cloud computing infrastructure, analytics services and supporting service providers need to be assessed for patient safety and confidentiality.
All elements of the emerging Healthcare IoT have to collaborate seamlessly for the new Healthcare ecosystem to operate effectively and safely.
The Nexeon Story
Nexeon MedSystems is one of many Healthcare IoT startups trying to re-imagine our Healthcare future. They provide a role model for Australia’s own fledgling Healthcare IoT and its story is worth examining, particularly in the context of its advances in remote monitoring.
Nexeon MedSystems is a bioelectronics company. It develops active medical devices for treating chronic medical conditions. The Nexeon team is commercializing platforms that hope to address significant and as yet, unmet needs amongst neurological and cardiovascular disease sufferers. Nexeon’s “smart” devices will enable Doctors to make more effective therapy choices for their patients, while potentially reducing net costs to the Healthcare system, lowering caregiver costs and keeping patients in therapeutic treatment more consistently.
This model illustrates how Australia’s own Healthcare system can look to strip costs out of its system, alleviating some of the strains on funding, whilst providing improved monitoring for chronic condition patients or those whose access to advanced healthcare is limited by location.
Nexeon’s platform technology 2 is a thin implantable pulse generator (IPG). At the IPG core is a custom chip designed to deliver a current simultaneously and independently via multiple contacts. The chip features a state-of-the-art recording system for dynamically tracking the system’s integrity, measuring responses and monitoring stimulation levels.
Potential Healthcare IoT Benefits
The top three potential benefits of Nexeon’s Healthcare IoT devices are:
- Objective Reporting
Thanks to Healthcare IoT devices’ ability to record and report on activity at the level of the nervous system, physicians are no longer reliant on subjective patient reports of “how they are feeling”
- Remote Monitoring
Increased patient accountability as the Healthcare provider will have a “report card” detailing patient therapy compliance instead of relying on patient reporting
- Precision medicine
Delivery of targeted stimulation optimized for an individual patient will facilitate improved therapy while decreasing undesired side effects. Nexeon’s devices enjoy a high level of precision to steer stimulation to a specific target.
Nexeon’s story is typical of an emerging generation of Healthcare IoT thinking. A medical technology-enabled future promises seamless integration, on-demand access, customized treatment, and smart preventative care capabilities. These are all issues practitioners on the front line of Australian Healthcare can identify with.
Translated into an Australian context, these attributes may enable Australia to better meet the needs of patients with chronic conditions or who live in rural or remote locations. While still a work in progress, Healthcare IoT offers a way for Australian physicians to deliver personalized, targeted treatment to patients, regardless of their location or access to a doctor reducing the overall strain on a stretched Australian Healthcare system.