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David Jonas, Head of Health Market Quality R&D Program, and Chief Operating Officer of the Capital Market CRC (CMCRC), led a discussion in Brisbane with HISA members, health and industry leaders to understand the opportunity presented from the emergence of the Internet of Things and how healthcare can benefit. The CMCRC Health Market Quality will soon be releasing a report “Flying Blind” that examines the imperative for improved data usage (including IoT) within the healthcare system.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the rapidly advancing technology environment which allows everyday devices (‘things’) to collect and share data seamlessly. In healthcare terms, the possibilities of utilising IoT to the benefit of consumers and clinicians are promising. Although the IoT is relatively new, we are already seeing applications including the monitoring of health conditions via vital signs and medical devices, collecting personal biometric and tracking data via wearable devices, opportunities for realtime monitoring, smart home technologies, devices that can provide feedback for physical and mental health conditions etc. It includes sensors and internet enabled devices including smartphones, that are interconnected, and intelligent with the ability for algorithm based decision making. When the opportunities of the IoT are placed against current health services data and the increasing growth in genomics, there is significant potential for getting a 360-degree view of healthcare systems, personalised medicine, and individuals enabled to better manage their own personal health and wellness.

The roundtable discussion was wide ranging and included an exploration of IoT against progress with shared electronic health records. These discussion points highlighted the continuing challenges of digitally connecting the health system. However, this should not limit our thinking in taking opportunities for innovation and service reform through societal change and emerging technologies which IoT brings.

A number of take-away points from the discussion were captured and can be found here to view the report.