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What's the potential of pairing data analytics and IoT in healthcare?

The Internet of Things opens many doors in healthcare. But paired with data analytics, IoT in healthcare would be even stronger.

In this Ask the Expert, Rasu Shrestha, M.D., talks about the role of data analytics and the Internet of Things...

(IoT) in healthcare. Shrestha is chief innovation officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and is president of the UPMC Technology Development Center. He drives UPMC's innovation strategy and works to transform the organization into a more patient-focused and economically sustainable system. Here is what Shrestha had to say about the potential capabilities that could result from a partnership between data analytics and IoT in healthcare.

We want all of these intelligent insights provided to us at the right level of actionable information at the point of care. So we need to bring it back to where it's relevant, whether it's [for] the consumers or the patients or for clinicians. And when you look at the promise of the Internet of Things and everything that we're making progress [with] in terms of analytics, it brings to us a whole bunch of other capabilities and solutions that we are only dreaming about today.

Rasu Shrestha, M.D. Rasu Shrestha, M.D.

One of the big things that we struggle with quite a bit in healthcare today is downtime. We've got all of these machines, so to speak, all of these systems that we're dependent on, and machines tend to break down. Machines tend to have a need to be taken offline for patches and for upgrades. One of the things that would be very promising for us in healthcare is to have not just one machine that we depend on [but] a network [of machines] that we depend on … These devices are connected to a secure cloud, are connected to a secure network of this Internet of connected Things, would monitor the health of the network at large, would monitor the health of themselves -- they'd be self-healing technologies. There'd be technologies that alert us of systems that are in danger of failing, or specific machines or devices that are in danger of failing, and that way … we have this connected network of an intelligent healthcare system that is essentially never down. So this is a vision that I think would actually be possible, if we were to push analytics and the reality of Internet of Things forward in the right direction.

Let us know what you think about the story and IoT in healthcare; email Kristen Lee, news writer, or find her on Twitter @Kristen_Lee_34.

Next Steps

Learn more about IoT in healthcare:

Tech futurist on IoT and the Apple Watch

IoT apps are moving into healthcare

IoT in healthcare on display at HIMSS 2015

This was last published in July 2015

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