From Products to Partner: Creating a Successful IoT Strategy for Connected Medical Device Manufacturers

Executive Summary

The Internet of Things (IoT) is shifting the way we interact with technology. No industry makes this more apparent than the healthcare industry where IoT, in response to industry trends, is changing the direction of healthcare, especially with connected medical devices. This means device manufacturers face a unique opportunity to transition from just providing devices to adding value by becoming a service business partner.

In the whitepaper:

  • How IoT offers connected medical device manufacturers the opportunity to transition from product-based offerings to a service-based model
  • New and emerging healthcare trends driving IoT transformation
  • Opportunities and obstacles in IoT transformation
  • Building a successful IoT strategy using embedded analytics

IoT: Transforming Device Manufacturers to Become Service Business Partners

The ability of connected medical devices to generate huge amounts of actionable, timely data—about patients and the devices themselves—offers manufacturers a new and unique business opportunity to transform their business model from just selling products to becoming a service- based healthcare partner.

This is primarily possible through the Internet of Things (IoT), the ability of connected devices to send and receive information to and from related systems. This makes it possible, for instance, for a doctor to monitor the performance of a patient’s pacemaker or for a manufacturer to update that device’s software wirelessly over-the-air using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Connectivity.

By shifting from selling products to providing ongoing services leveraging via IoT, device manufacturers have the opportunity to transition into healthcare management partners, providing added value to healthcare providers and taking advantage of technology innovations and recurring revenue opportunities.

Healthcare Trends Driving IoT Transformation

Beyond the advances in technology that make the IoT opportunity a real and potentially lucrative possibility for device manufacturers, it also goes hand-in-hand with several medical industry shifts:

Focus on Prevention and Wellness

Healthcare providers increasingly embrace the “value over volume” business model. This emerging model focuses on maximizing lower costs while offering higher quality care through resource alignment and risk management, rather than focusing on volume via the traditional fee-for-service payment structure. As part of this model, providers are refocusing on wellness and prevention, relying on (and investing in) integrated technology for information sharing.

Growing Global Elderly Population

The world’s senior population is growing at an unprecedented rate. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) report the 65-and-over population will nearly double over the next three decades in the US alone, jumping from 48 million to 88 million. And the global elderly population (80 and over) is projected to triple between 2015 and 2050. Consequently, healthcare providers increasingly look to technology solutions to help support independent senior living and remote care. IoT enables remote health care by monitoring senior citizens' health without having to bring them into clinics and hospitals for tests and checkups.

New Digital Opportunities

The entry of digital players like Google, Apple, and Amazon into healthcare infrastructure create new possibilities in healthcare IoT. Apple recently previewed a feature that would allow consumers to access their electronic healthcare records with a smartphone. Amazon is focusing on solutions to integrate electronic health record (EHR) systems, and Google is partnering with health IT vendors to harness technology advances like medical imaging and machine learning in the healthcare environment. This will offer device manufacturers even more flexible and innovative ways to transition from product provider to service partner.

The IoT Model: Opportunities and Obstacles

Embracing IoT can be a double-edged sword for some manufacturers. While it gives device providers a new value and relevance in the healthcare market, it also comes with its own industry and business obstacles. Building a cohesive and successful IoT strategy means creating solutions that maximize these opportunities while minimizing the obstacles as much as possible.

Health Care IoT Opportunities

As opposed to finite product consumption, the service-based IoT model allows manufacturers to partner with the healthcare market to achieve six critical objectives:

IoT Healthcare Obstacles

Manufacturers looking to embrace IoT face obstacles from both an industry and business standpoint. While the rewards of moving to a service-based business model are significant, risk mitigation is critical to success.

How can these issues be resolved? One of the best answers is an embedded analytics platform that works well to nullify most of the obstacles of transforming into a service-based IoT business model:

Industry Obstacles

  • The wide spectrum of therapeutic areas creates a great diversity of solutions and approaches. Each one needs its own unique solution.
  • Broad range of medical technologies complicates standardizing data collection and data extractions.
  • Connected devices are developed using diverse network protocols from WiFi to Bluetooth, NFC and many others.
  • Critical security and vulnerability protections need to be built into the connectivity to protect patients, data, treatment and privacy
  • Regulatory compliance demands vary from country to country and even from device to device. Regulation follows innovation and is a developing process globally.
  • Medical practitioners need to adopt new technologies despite the complexity and the required change is slow to come.
  • Diverse network and device protocols complicate standardizing processes to build.

Embedded analytics overcomes healthcare industry obstacles by:

  • Being customizable to the needs of any specific therapy or treatment data process.
  • The embedded analytics solution is platform agnostic and spans technology and networks.
  • Embedded analytics includes built-in security controls to keep data safe and your systems compliant to regulation requirements.
  • For medical practitioners, embedded analytics minimize risk of using new technology by providing a wealth of information to be able to understand the data and what it means about the patients' condition.

Business Obstacles

  • Lack of standards
  • Crowded product landscape
  • Nascent stage of medical IoT technology
  • No demonstration of productivity gains
  • Issues with scalability and ease of use
  • Incomplete IoT transformation

How Embedded Analytics Overcomes It:

  • Established analytics solution provides industry-standard analytics capabilities
  • Sets device and service apart by delivering new operational insights to manufacturer and user/healthcare provider
  • Integrates with proven device, eliminating new technology risk
  • Productivity gains can be easily linked to actionable business insights
  • Embeddable solutions focus on scalability, and built-in reporting and machine learning for smooth user adoption
  • Once embedded, solution immediately opens new marketing opportunities and recurring revenue streams

Building Your Successful IoT Strategy

A successful IoT strategy that takes advantage of IoT opportunities while minimizing business and industry obstacles starts with embedded analytics.

Embedded analytics provide the ability to add analytics capabilities to a device by embedding an existing analytics solution into the current software. The analytics solution can then produce insights using device data to benefit you, improve the experience of users or healthcare providers, or both.

Importantly, embedded analytics also maximizes the six healthcare IoT opportunities:

IoT Success with Embedded Analytics

6 Criteria to Select the Right Embedded Analytics Solution

With embedded analytics, it’s clear how the potential for IoT transformation can become a reality. Now, the question becomes: how do you select the right solution to transform your business?

Considering both the opportunities and obstacles addressed above, six criteria help facilitate the transition to a service-based IoT business model.

1. High Embeddability

While high embeddability may seem obvious, it’s crucial to choose a solution developed with embeddability in mind. This can include API-first development and the ability to white label the application, which ultimately decreases your time to market.

2. Seamless Integration

Because most connected device manufacturers will already have some type of technology platform in place, it’s important that the solution can build on the platform seamlessly.

3. Data Unification

The right solution will incorporate all generated data (device data, business data, patient data), and unify data silos. This is crucial for integrating information and identifying new insights.

4. Extensibility

Because technology—and the healthcare market itself—constantly evolves, it’s important your embedded analytics solution allows you to build different applications for different use cases as needed.

5. Security

The right solution will offer built-in security, saving you time with capabilities such as limiting data access according to role, group, or department.

6. Value focused

Finally, the solution must add value to your business by offering useful benefits:

  • Drastically minimizing development time, allowing developers to focus on core product functionality
  • Reducing part failures or malfunctions while improving product quality
  • Identifying new revenue opportunities by monetizing the data you’re collecting

Conclusion

It comes as no surprise that the convergence of technology and industry trends present a new and promising opportunity for medical device manufacturers. The transformation from product provider to service-based IoT opens manufacturers up to new market opportunities and recurring revenue streams. But the key is finding the right transformation driver that can embrace the opportunities and overcome the obstacles.

Embedded analytics is an ideal solution because it drives both business value and improved outcomes without the risk that accompanies many new technologies. It overcomes business obstacles as well as obstacles in the healthcare industry that can thwart successful IoT transformation. Best of all, it delivers on the six key opportunities of IoT, providing increased value to you and your customers.

Intrigued? Try it out on your own devices! Take a test drive and see what Sisense can do with medical devices.

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