Last week, Internet of Business spoke with Doug Hayes, CEO of Junto Health, on the subject of healthcare’s IoT pain points. This week, our conversation continues, with a discussion of healthcare’s road to IoT maturity.
Internet of Business (IoB): Doug, what sort of changes do you believe need to happen for healthcare to really be getting the benefits from IoT?
Doug Hayes (DH): Healthcare has the brainpower and the resources to get IoT right – but we need to align the incentives. Having helped launch dozens of health tech companies at Junto Health, we have seen that building effective technology requires robust input from users at every stage of development. But today, clinicians are stretched thin and do not have clear incentives to help pilot or refine new technology. We’d like to see some type of incentive for frontline clinicians to become more engaged with the development process of IoT.
Could we tie a new reimbursement bonus to providers who conduct a certain number of emerging tech pilots per year? Could we tweak the RVU [relative value unit] formula, so that clinicians get compensated for spending time evaluating new technologies? Could we add a bonus to bundle payments for clinicians who use next-gen technology to improve outcomes?
Aligning the incentives for frontline clinicians to actively shape new technologies would help the industry evolve at a faster pace and reduce the amount of noise in the market.
IoB: What type of partners do healthcare organizations need in order to get IoT initiatives off the ground? What do partners like Junto Health have to contribute here?
DH: For IoT to have a meaningful, positive impact on healthcare in the next ten years, the industry must adopt more open strategies for partnerships and collaboration.
Currently, most of the industry is running ‘closed’ innovation strategies: individual organizations working alone to conceive, develop, and commercialize before competitors, like skunkworks. Practitioners use a custom process for each new collaboration, and make a few large bets with the hope that most of them are winners.
This works well for industries that have an established regulatory framework, a stable competitive landscape, and an ability to forecast future market conditions and tech readiness.
But in 2017, healthcare has an uncertain regulatory framework, an unstable and evolving competitive landscape, and leaders have little-to-no ability to forecast future market conditions or tech readiness. Closed innovation strategies were not designed for this environment.
Early adopters are waking up to the value and necessity of using more ‘open’ strategies for collaboration. Rather than spending months finding and protecting new ideas, these organizations build informal networks of complementary organizations who are willing to collaborate when interests align (think, for example of the International Space Station).
Rather than trying to ‘pick winners’ and putting most of their eggs in one basket, these organizations move into the flow of new opportunities and streamline their processes so they can collaborate with partners quickly and easily. This allows them to build a portfolio of small bets with many external partners, observe at game speed, and only double down on clear winners.
To create effective IoT for patients and providers, healthcare will need to adopt open partnership strategies.
The road ahead
IoB: What do you see as the most interesting uses of IoT within the healthcare industry – and how long do you think it will take for the sector to more fully embrace IoT?
DH: Across any modality – software, hardware, IoT – we have seen the most effective solutions share one common trait – the technology itself is largely invisible. At Junto, we’d like to see IoT become mostly invisible and proactive; IoT sensors should be largely unnoticed by the user, yet able to monitor for early warning signs of a negative health outcome.
For example, our smartphones should include language analysis software to flag early signs of declining mental health conditions. The soles of our shoes should include gait-analysis sensors. Undergarments should include biometric sensors to monitor blood pressure and other vitals without the need for yet another ‘wearable’.
If we can embed IoT solutions into the day-to-day things we already use, and design them to be as invisible as possible, we should expect to see widespread and rapid adoption.
Doug Hayes will be speaking at our Internet of Health USA event at the Royal Sonesta in Boston, MA on 31 October & 1 November 2017. This event is North America’s only conference that is 100% focused on IoT applications for health providers and payers.