Providers ignore IoT at their peril

Healthcare providers that fail to take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) likely will suffer financially, according to a new report from consulting giant Accenture.

“Despite challenges with security and privacy, inaction is not an option,” the report concludes. “The Internet of Health Things (IoHT) is already delivering tangible cost savings, but continuous investment is essential. 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.”

The Accenture report said that IoHT offers a number of benefits to providers and patients.

“By introducing more connectivity, remote monitoring and information gathering, IoHT can encourage better use of healthcare resources, more informed decisions, a reduction in inefficiencies or waste and the empowerment of health consumers,” Accenture said.

Healthcare organizations currently allocate about 10 percent of their annual IT budgets to IoHT investments, the report said. But providers with larger IT budgets spend a higher percentage on IoHT: Organizations with IT budgets in excess of $200 million allocate 13.7 percent to IoHT investments, while those with budgets under $26 million allocate just 5.8 percent.

Specifically, Accenture said, “Healthcare providers and payers are investing in IoHT programs in three areas of their businesses—remote patient monitoring (RPM), wellness and prevention, and operations—and are seeing real value from the initial programs.”

The payoff is coming through medical or administrative/ operational cost savings, improvements in consumer experience, and revenue growth through consumer attraction/retention, the report said.

“Consumer satisfaction is pinpointed as an important business driver,” Accenture said. “Providers and payers indicate a ‘consumer-first’ mind shift. Both identify patient/member satisfaction as an important business driver in offering RPM IoHT solutions.”

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