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Healthcare is changing. Today, global innovators like Jio Health believe the solution to better care provision and improved patient satisfaction in Vietnam and abroad means the implementation of the Internet of things and healthcare wearables. And many global tech giants like IBM agree.

Data whiz kids Statista recently explored the trend’s impact locally. They marked digitally-connected, out-of-hospital wearables and service-oriented apps as “in-scope” for Vietnam in 2018. To better understand Statista’s report, and how the Internet of Things (or IoT) is going to impact our global, and local, medical industry, we had a chat with the experts, Jio Health.

Wearable device
Credit: Han Vy

Global investment in IoT for healthcare

Never slow to recognize potential, Microsoft have invested billions into IoT applications in healthcare, Jio Health tell us. For example, after The World Health Organization identified that 1.5 million children die each year from a lack of access to vaccines, with proper refrigerated distribution being one of the main factors, Microsoft launched one of their most recent ventures, the Weka Smart Fridge, an IoT-enabled refrigerator that doubles as an intelligent, transportable vaccine dispenser.

With companies like Microsoft and Google already in on the action, investing billions into the IoT for healthcare, Jio Health say estimates suggest that by 2020 it will have become a US $117 billion market. That roughly equates to a growth of 400% over the course of the next five years.

Why the IoT healthcare sector is growing

Jio Health suggest the need is driven by ageing populations around the world. As life expectancy increases globally the number of people over the age of 80 is projected to triple between now and 2050, rising from 137 million to a staggering 425 million. A surging aged population puts considerable strain on state healthcare systems. Besides that, conditions like diabetes and obesity are also overcrowding hospitals and cutting into doctor-to-patient consultation time. The result is a demand for more out-of-clinic monitoring and care, and a revised approach to medical care management.

The Internet Of Things
The Internet Of Things

Jio Health agree that diabetes is one of the primary drivers of increased hospital visits in Vietnam. The country currently leads Southeast Asia in the number of recent diagnoses. As of August 2017, diabetes has affected more than 5 million people nationwide according to Professor Thai Hong Quang, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Diabetes and Endocrinology, who claimed the disease was “growing alarmingly fast not only in Vietnam, but across the globe.” Many medical experts are even beginning to refer to diabetes as a “global pandemic” Jio Health warn us.

Jio Health’s view of IoT healthcare applications

According to Jio, healthcare-focused wearables are just the start of IoT’s impact on healthcare. As more interconnected device technologies become tailored for the industry and the influx of digital management systems like telemedicine—a consultation conducted through video chat or instant messaging—advances, the aim is to use IoT to disrupt the number of visits to medical centers.

The development of IoT has already extended its reach to include home monitoring, remote care, and online video consultations—the kind already offered by Jio Health—prompting market experts to predict that 87% of healthcare organizations will incorporate the IoT into their hospital’s IT programs by 2019.

Download the Jio Health app to try out a free video consultation

Some popular wearable medical apps already in use

Jio Health say wearables already make up 60% of the digital medical market, with sales of Apple Watches and FitBits on the rise. Apple’s HealthKit was the first app ever designed that digitally links to patient’s electronic health records. It was taken to the next level when they teamed up with Carolina HealthCare System to develop the MyCarolinas Tracker. The app pairs with Apple Watches (for now it’s only compatible with iOS products) and incorporates three pulse oximeters, seven Bluetooth blood pressure cuffs, and 25 other kinds of live health trackers that have been designed specifically with the intention of reducing time spent in medical center queues. Professionals call the process “telemonitoring.”

Apple Watch
Apple Watch

Jio Health also highlight the Hello Heart app—an app that monitors blood pressure and heart health. Considering that 28.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with heart conditions, this wearable has massive potential. The app monitors the heart’s vital signs removing the need for patients to make a visit to the hospital for a routine check-up.

Hello Heart App
Credit: Hello Heart

Drchrono is another game-changing app, Jio Health tell us. It allows medical experts to browse a patient’s medical history and even send them a bill via email. Aside from that, it can be used for telemedicine saving physicians and hospitals time on the backend, as well as the need for physical medical records. Entering a hospital in Vietnam, as in most of the world, the first step is to gather personal medical records and current data—this “check-in” can be the most time-consuming part of a hospital visit, Jio Health remind us. And they should know—many their doctors also work in medical centers in Vietnam.

Drchrono wearable
Caption: Drchrono

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