Why Is IoT Within Medical Devices Important?

September 25, 2018 Becky Koller, Partner Sales

Appirians like Becky Koller are a vital part of our close relationships with hospitals, healthcare facilities, and health insurance organizations. Koller, an important Partner Sales expert here at Appirio, works closely with healthcare workers, translating strategic business needs into practical cloud-based solutions that engage the user and facilitate best work practices, effective decision-making, and efficient process execution focused on elevating the Worker and Customer Experience. Becky is also our in-house medical device expert. In this blog, she shares her first-hand experience with how the Internet of Things (IoT) strengthens the healthcare industry.

I spend most of my time working with large healthcare entities and discussing important transformational initiatives. I talk to them in terms of transforming their customer experiences and creating “customer journeys” for their most important customers. Yet, even through accurate and diligent ROI calculations, I sometimes wonder why it all matters. My inner geek loves the technology. The challenge to do new creative things. Yet, there should be more.

I came to a new understanding of the customer journey when my 12-year-old daughter had her friend stay for a sleepover. You see, her friend had been recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. A life-changing diagnosis for a middle schooler. 

IoT dilemma

That evening, we decided to take a trip to the Mall of America. As a Minneapolis native, I usually abhor the tourist trap, but since the mall includes a roller coaster and other rides deemed “cool” by a very tough middle school audience, I ventured to the shopping mecca, against my logical and better judgement. 

The outing was going well because it was a fun destination. (Trust me, being designated as “fun” by a middle schooler is the equivalent of a gold medal in parenting). Then came lunch. The challenge of caring for a young person with Type 1 Diabetes is understanding the nutritional makeup of mall food (that just isn’t designed to be nutritious). In fact, it appeared the nutritional information became increasingly more difficult to obtain as the nutritional content spiraled downward.

So, we had a dilemma: I had a girl who wanted lunch and who needed to understand the accurate carbohydrate content. Even more, we were standing at a fast food counter that simply did not contain the information we needed to make a decision of what food was best for her. 

The information we needed just wasn’t there. The manager had no idea. The back “office” was searched. The internet was explored. Nope, the carb count proved to be as elusive as a Viking Super Bowl win (hey, it is fall). 

So, we made a guess based on past purchases. The insulin was administered, and the day progressed with even more thrilling rides (even one including me hanging upside down in a way that God never intended). 

Then, the glucose monitor went off. Yep, we guessed incorrectly. The little beep indicated a need for chocolate milk, immediately. Do not pass Go. Do not dangle upside down any more, we need food, or juice, or chocolate milk — something with sugar!

IoT Background

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become one of the biggest buzzwords of recent years, and it’s easily misunderstood. I like explain the concept as sensors from some type of machine gathering information, communicating and working on my behalf without my constant oversight. 

According to Wired, there are already several medical devices built to be used congruent within IoT. “The devices are capable enough to transmit vital sign data from a patient home to the hospital staff. It allows them to have a real time monitoring of patient’s health. These devices use wirelessly connected glucometers, scales, heart rate and blood pressure monitors.” 

Fortunately for healthcare organizations looking to jump into the medical device game, Appirio strengthens the organizational IoT framework, so these medical devices can do what they do best: save lives. 

In my daughter’s friend’s case, the on-going blood-sugar monitor was talking to the communication device to send a signal of needed insulin. It eliminated the need to constantly check blood sugar. 

IoT gratitude

As I look back on that delightfully fun afternoon, I realize how fortunate I am that my daughter’s friend had a diabetic monitor. If it wasn’t for the assistance of that medical device, I would have messed up. Big time. Yet, thanks to that little machine, the day was saved and a very bad situation was avoided.

Although my work includes justifying financial decisions for major projects and charting customer journeys, I learned an critical lesson about the importance of medical devices to our everyday lives. None of my daily work touches me as personally as my personal experience at Mall of America.

Want to learn more about how Appirio can support your healthcare cloud needs? We’ll be at Dreamforce answering all your questions. Or you can access all of our healthcare resources on the Appirio Hub.

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