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IoT in healthcare is market disrupter, expert says

BOSTON -- Healthcare is increasingly transpiring in digital realms, yet hospitals still are physical constructions fixed in geographical locations.

The Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare is promising to disrupt that more-than-century-old model, according to Timothy "Dutch" Dwight, vice president of business development for Medullan Inc., a digital health consultancy in Cambridge, Mass.

Dwight met with SearchHealthIT to record this video at Connected Health Symposium 2015, just after he moderated a panel on "Disintermediation IoT impact on the hospital of the future."

"Disintermediation," Dwight explained in the video, is "a moment in time in which a business model changes," over a period of usually five to 10 years.

As IoT in healthcare becomes more pervasive -- with remote patient monitoring sensors and wearable health technology increasingly being used to track patients' body metrics and feed the information back to caregivers -- patients will become less reliant on doctors based in hospitals, Dwight said.

"As IoT happens, that business model will be disintermediated," he said. "Large fixed buildings delivering care will then be transferred to the home over time."

Dwight also explained the difference between IoT in healthcare and telemedicine, saying videoconferencing-based telemedicine is "a point click in time," or a specific instance of care, while IoT in healthcare delivers continuous information in real time.

The members of the Connected Health panel Dwight presided over also discussed consumerization of healthcare, with consumers choosing wearable health technology to help enable providers to care for them at their homes.

Dwight said patients are becoming more like customers in other industries and are more frequently demanding "concierge" style services in healthcare and becoming more discriminating about which services they choose.

Let us know what you think about the story, or about your experiences with IoT in healthcare; email Shaun Sutner, news and features writer or contact @ssutner on Twitter.

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