|None is more topical than the potential of wireless technologies in the medical industry. In fact, wireless technologies such as RFID, WLAN and proprietary versions are already being utilised in hospitals and various clinical applications. However, can wireless technologies really revolutionise the healthcare industry? |
Telehealth, the use of telecommunication technologies to enable remote healthcare management, is the potential saviour of heavily burdened public healthcare providers. The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and an ageing population is set to worsen the problem unless new steps are taken.
The adoption of Telehealth is gaining momentum after a number of successful trials. Until now no trials have been carried out on a mass scale. However, just this month, a 6000 person UK Telehealth trial has been commissioned by the Department of Health to test the potential of technologies to support those with complex health and social care needs.
The use of wireless technologies in healthcare has gained increased attention since the announcement of Bluetooth low energy technology. Medical devices, along with sports applications and watches have all been highlighted as key sectors for the newest addition to the Bluetooth family.
The acute setting (clinics and hospitals) poses another opportunity for the wireless industry. Today, radio technology is being used in a range of critical applications: their reliability, accuracy and performance are of the utmost important. However, this setting, similar to critical safety sensors in the automotive environment, is a risky proposition for wireless technologies and it may be a step too far for some.
Consumer electronic companies have become significantly interested in the healthcare market, which is viewed as a sector where increased revenues can be achieved as alternative markets become more saturated. Potential devices for wireless technologies range from blood pressure monitors to weighing scales to in-body implants. Use-cases range from asset tracking to measuring blood glucose levels which can be shared with a caregiver.
There are however a number of barriers including a lack of infrastructure and privacy issues. And with so many technologies present, the issues of interference and interoperability arise once again. This is certainly not a short-term phenomenon and if wireless technologies do revolutionise the healthcare industry, it could be a decade or more before results are realised.
These questions and more will be explored in an upcoming report by IMS Research; “Wireless in Healthcare – The Connected Patient”.
If you would like an interview with an expert in this area, please contact Alison Bogle, Marketing Manager, at
or +1 412-441-1888.