A Resolution for the New Decade: Data-Driven Digital Health

Tim Waters
A Resolution for the New Decade: Data-Driven Digital Health

cESLike everything else in our daily lives, health-oriented devices are becoming more connected and data-driven. And, while it may be hard to imagine what value a connected toothbrush may have to our overall health, the digital platforms where these devices connect are becoming essential hubs of collaboration and innovation with their own inherent value. In the future, your dentist may be able to tap into data on your brushing habits to determine how frequently you need to come in for cleaning or design dental health services tailored to you. Paramount to the success of these hubs is ensuring that patient data is shared securely in compliance with government regulations.

This is driving demand for interconnection, which is the direct and private exchange of traffic between key business partners.[ii] In fact, the Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 3, a study published by Equinix, projects that the private interconnection bandwidth in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector will grow by 71% annually between 2018 and 2022.

The private interconnection bandwidth in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector will grow by 71% annually between 2018 and 2022.

Aging population driving digital health to the forefront

According to the United Nations, by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65 – for Europe and North America, it could be one in four people. The number of persons aged 80 years or over is also projected to triple, from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050.[iii] Given these predictions, it’s no surprise that health+tech is getting bigger every year. Karen Chupka, CES executive vice president said that, “the digital health presence at CES 2020 will jump by 25% and welcome leading healthcare providers, technology companies and more.”i Here are a few of the digital health innovations on stage this week at CES:

  • Assistive robots like ITRI’s Personal Companion for Older People Living Alone (PECOLA) will be in the spotlight. PECOLA uses artificial intelligence (AI) to collect daily life and physiological data on patients to quickly detect abnormal behaviors in older adults and send alerts for early treatment and accident prevention. Intuition Robotics will introduce ElliQ, a social robot for older adults that uses motivation techniques to keep users active and engaged.
  • Huami, one of the world’s largest wearables companies with a corporate mission of “connect health with technology,” plans to launch a new lineup of smart wearables that integrate with mobile apps to provide users with a comprehensive view of their biometric and activity data. The company plans to launch a new smartwatch that uses an AI engine to monitor heart health 24/7 and detect any anomalies. They will also introduce VIP cloud-based healthcare services that will allow users to access ECG readings, receive abnormal cardiac alerts and more.
  • New devices supporting telemedicine and remote diagnostics will be introduced this year. MedWand has ten diagnostic tools that allow patients to be examined remotely over the internet for eye, skin, oral, lung and heart exams as part of their virtual visit. Kyocera will be exhibiting a smart carbohydrate monitoring system for diet monitoring and pre-diabetic awareness.
  • Skiin Connected Health and Wellness System will continuously monitor health through smart clothing that connects to a mobile app. Heart rate, stress, sleep and more are tracked in the smart garments and the mobile app provides advice on lifestyle changes to improve your health. Users can also share this data with their healthcare providers.
  • HeardThat will turn a smartphone into an AI-powered hearing device that tunes background noise out, allowing users with hearing loss to hear speech more clearly.
  • Humana will be demonstrating and talking about data-driven health and insurance and how tools like telehealth, remote monitoring and data analytics are helping seniors live healthier and more independently. The company’s vision is for data-driven and machine-learning digital health care to be the norm, where every interaction with members can be based on personalized data to help them understand and plan for health living in partnership with their care providers.

Social robot ElliQ (Source: Intuition Robotics)

Digital health depends on data sharing

Whether it’s an assistive robot helping an older adult, a remote diagnostic device or a smart wearable monitoring heart health, patient data is at the center of digital health advances. For these innovations to deliver their intended benefits, patient data must be shared and exchanged between patients, devices, health providers, insurers and more. At the same time, patient health data must be kept safe, secure and comply with government regulations.

A distributed, yet integrated data architecture based on Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) best practices can help participants in digital health ecosystems share patient information safely and compliantly, while integrating new technologies, innovations and channels of diagnostic patient data capture. Distributed interconnection hubs at the edge speeds collaboration among providers, patients and partners and enables localized, real-time data capture, processing and analysis for faster insights. These new insights can help advance digital health innovations such as precision medicine and custom treatment, telemedicine, new drug research and more.

Connected health ecosystem with interconnection

Source: Equinix

Read the GXI Volume 3 to learn more about how private interconnection is powering digital healthcare and other industries around the world.

You may also be interested in reading the Digital Edge Playbook for Healthcare to see how healthcare organizations can harness digital ecosystems to deliver better patient experiences and outcomes.


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Tim Waters Sr. Manager, Equinix Research Group for FED, SLED & Healthcare and Life Sciences
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