The Internet of Things has the potential to provide significant financial value for healthcare providers and payers over the next three years, a new study from consulting firm Accenture found. And the inability of many healthcare executives to understand how the IoT can be used could cause them to risk substantial cost savings. The report found 73 percent of healthcare executives say the IoT is poised to create disruptive change within three years, but only 49 percent think their organization’s leadership understands what the IoT could mean to their organization, according to the Accenture 2017 Internet of Health Things Survey. The value of the IoT in healthcare will top $163 billion by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 38.1 percent between 2015 and 2020, the report said, citing data from eMarketer. Providers and payers have started making investments in IoT technologies and programs. According to the Accenture report, healthcare organizations with total IT budgets under $26 million are devoting 5.8 percent of their budgets to the IoT, those with budgets from $26 to $50 million are devoting 9.6 percent, those with budgets from $51 to $100 million are devoting 10.4 percent, those with budgets from $100 to $200 million are devoting 12.6 percent, and those with budgets exceeding $200 million are devoting 13.7 percent. By not realizing the potential of the IoT in healthcare, the report said, healthcare executives are risking losing various benefits to be gained; for example, driving improved customer attraction and retention, and gaining medical and administrative cost savings through:
Remote patient monitoring: 88 percent of providers and 81 percent of payers that have applied IoT services reported at least moderate improvement in consumer attraction/retention.
Wellness and prevention programs: 42 percent of providers and 45 percent of payers that have applied IoT services reported achieving extensive medical cost savings from their wellness and prevention IoT programs.
Operations: 33 percent of payers and 31 percent of providers that have applied IoT services reported realizing extensive administrative cost savings from their operations IoT programs.
And on the wearables front, 91 percent of providers and 95 percent of payers say wearable technologies are a part of their wellness and prevention IoT programs.
“The Internet of Health Things is already delivering tangible cost savings, but continuous investment is essential,” the report stated. “To succeed in the digital economy, healthcare providers and payers must take full advantage of IoHT now to grow their businesses in the long-term. Connected devices using the Internet of Health Things are beginning to transform healthcare delivery.” IoT is also driving tech firms to ramp up their offerings. For example, VMware on Wednesday unveiled VMware Pulse IoT Center, an enterprise-grade Internet of Things infrastructure management system designed to enable information technology and operational technology teams to have complete control of their IoT infrastructure and “things.” The company’s goal with this first offering in a new family of VMware IoT systems is to help client organizations more efficiently manage, operate, scale and protect their IoT projects from the edge to the cloud. “As enterprises look to transform into digital businesses, this creates an opportunity for IT and OT teams to collaborate as they embrace IoT to improve operations within their business, while generating new forms of revenue,” said Mimi Spier, vice president of IoT at VMware. “We’re leveraging our expertise in the enterprise and applying it to IoT infrastructure and across all ‘things.’ VMware Pulse IoT Center will provide IT and OT teams visibility and control across their IoT use-cases, while offering peace of mind with security capabilities throughout the IoT value chain.”