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Connected Health

This graphic shows the number of households that have adopted any kind of health related connected device in 2020 vs 2021. The growth is significant, considering we are just looking at a one year interval. Image credit: Parks Associates

The trend towards continuous monitoring of our healthcare through ambient and wearable sensors is more than a trend: it is becoming reality. It is also a step towards the digital transformation of healthcare.

This is what I see when looking at statistics like the one published by Park Associates on the growth of connected health sensors in US households, see the graphic, from 2020 to 2021. Now some 55% of US households have at least a connected health sensor.

Wearables represent 37% of these sensors, with smart watches leading, followed by fitness trackers.

The growth of these sensors is important since they are laying the foundation for a health data space: all data harvested can be aggregated into a time stamped record and analysed by machine learning algorithms (some are already associated to the device embedding the sensors, such as the Apple watch). I bet that we will soon have offers to create personal digital twins to manage these data. Along with them there will be a growth of applications to analyse and “act” on those data.

My personal digital twin will aggregate more data, like the one tracking my whereabouts and data present in the ambient (like pollution, temperature, humidity data) adding them to my health data space to enable correlation.

These data, and/or their meainig, will be shared through the cyberspace to my doctor and most likely to some trusted service provider for continuous monitoring and assessment.

More than that. Neutralised data will become available to provide information on what is going on in a specific location enabling further correlation and meaning extraction.

I think this is a bottom up  digital transformation of healthcare that will go hand in hand, and most likely steer the top down DX of health care (this latter being orchestrated by institutions and Governments).

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.