The Internet of Things is Paving the Way for Telemedicine Expansion

The Internet of Things is Paving the Way for Telemedicine Expansion 150 150 admin

internet of things
It seems as if every day new connected devices make their way into consumers’ hands. As the internet of things continues to expand, and its underlying technologies mature, the immediate benefits of data collection on a massive scale have become a reality.

Devices that can collect health data from their users such as the Gear S2, Fitbit and the Apple Watch have enjoyed the media’s spotlight as they begin to save lives with vital signs monitoring. Take for instance the story of Dennis Anselmo, a 62-year-old builder who began feeling uneasy only to discover that his heart rate had skyrocketed to over 210 bpm. With the help of his wearable device, he was able to seek proper medical care. A story, that may not have had a happy ending sans his beloved device.

If the internet of things is already saving lives, what is the hold up?

Devices intended for use in the medical field must undergo FDA approval. This benefits users with superior quality control, unfortunately this also means that the federal government has to process thousands of applications every year. A study conducted by the National Venture Capitalist Assn found that “For low- and moderate-risk devices, the process to navigate the FDA took companies on average three months to two years longer for a green light than it did for a similar approval from European regulators. For higher-risk devices, the discrepancy was greater — the process in the United States took three and a half years, or five times as long as Europe, to grant approval.” This slow and painful process presents serious challenges for consumer OEM’s whose products have yearly life cycles. As the internet of things continues to evolve in accordance with Moore’s law, the FDA must streamline their medical device approval process, or completely overhaul it to make way for the future of medical devices.

If device makers can get consumer devices approved for clinical and medical research purposes in a timely manner, Telemedicine providers such as VirtualERs will be able to gather data in real time from remote patients without the need of expensive equipment. This will not only result in expanded medical care for recipients, but will also improve access for individuals requiring extensive monitoring in rural or inaccessible areas.

Francisco M. Arriaga

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