Implantable and wearable biosensor communications and the data they generate have the potential to significantly change the multitrillion-dollar healthcare industry. What still might sound like science fiction to some is now at our doorstep, but the question is whether the component parts can be melded to create a new industry that will change healthcare as we know it.
Can the biosensor market deliver on its potential?
To bring this technology to life, healthcare leaders will need to extract and harness the game-changing insight and knowledge that “big data” can offer. What will it take? We'll need to link sensors on and around the patient and through a wide variety of devices (such as catheters, joint replacements, cardiac devices, etc.); communicate the data in real time to the patient and healthcare decisionmakers; and create novel reimbursement approaches for all of this.
Such a system will finally enable us to access data that can tell a deeper patient story in near real-time by applying predictive analytics and data modeling, which will allow for more informed decisions about care that produces cost savings, reduces readmissions and improves overall healthcare outcomes.
It also demands a clear vision, a viable business model, strategic positioning and a deep understanding of the various constituents, including patients, providers, manufacturers and payers. To create a fully integrated implantable biosensor communications industry powered by big data, we need to consider three critical guiding principles: measurable and meaningful return on investment, (e.g., safety, quality, cost savings), for all stakeholders to be engaged and aligned; predictive algorithms to separate the “noise” in the data from truly actionable information; and interconnectivity (e.g., biosensors with medical records and other technologies) that enables a more complete view of a patient's health directed by the patient, while protecting privacy and safety.
The biosensor market will evolve unpredictably but will certainly save lives, enhance the effectiveness of prevention and treatment, and create an exciting new market for forward-thinking investors and entrepreneurs.
Dr. Prakash Patel is founder and co-chair of the biosensor workgroup of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, a member of the Standards Committee of URAC, and CEO of surgery and implant management company Access MediQuip.
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