Wearables analytics still a ways off for healthcare - Intel
By Scharon Harding 01 September 2015
Healthcare organizations may have to wait a while before they can leverage data from wearables for predictive analytics, Christopher Gough, lead solutions architect for Intel Health and Life Sciences, wrote in a blog post published Monday.
In the post, Gough claimed that healthcare organizations haven't begun bringing together enough wearables data to conduct "serious" predictive analytics. This, he said, will happen further "down the road", but before the technology becomes "mainstream".
Before analytics can take place, certain things will have to happen, according to Gough.
"This will entail significant data integration and big data analytics," he wrote. "We're looking to pull in multi-structured data from multiple distributed entities and repositories - data from electronic health records, health insurance claims, in some cases socioeconomic data and all the new sensor data from wearables."
He noted that predictive models will see enhanced precision if the industry can determine how to pull a stream of data created by patients into a repository and overlap more "traditional" data from payers and providers.
"We'll be much better able to identify high-risk patients that will benefit most from additional outreach by a provider organization," Gough explained.
Although wearables may not be enabling healthcare organizations with analytics, Gough said the offering has indeed intersected the industry. The technology is more than a "passing trend", he argued.
For example, Gough said providers like Mayo Clinic are using wearables like the Fitbit to monitor and compare the movements of patients who have undergone cardiac surgery and determine which ones are ready for discharge.
"You can easily see how this use case could be extended outside of the hospital, where you might be able to use wearables to more accurately predict which patients are at the highest risk for hospital readmission," he added. "This, of course, is a key quality metric that hospitals are incentivized to reduce."
In addition, payers are using wearables to reach out to members and encourage healthy lifestyles that deter conditions such as diabetes and obesity, according to Gough, who pointed to health insurance agency Cigna as an example.
The final use case Gough presented was corporate wellness programs. He pointed to Gartner data that found that over 2,000 such programs use wearables to monitor employees' levels of phyical activity. The companies then give employees incentives to do more, Gough explained.
And as wearables are seemingly gaining popularity in the healthcare sector, Apple is gaining on Fitbit as wearables market leader. Last week, IDC reported that the Apple Watch controlled 19.9 percent of the market in Q2 2015, while Fitbit maintained its lead with 24.3 percent market share.
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