Smarter Devices, Smarter Healthcare: How M2M Technology Can Impact Canada's Economy

Posted by John Gray

"Will mobile devices replace doctors in 2013?" Outrageous thinking, perhaps, but there’s no question that significant changes to our healthcare system are coming.

While doctors obviously won’t be replaced entirely, their roles are certainly changing. The integration of their roles with technology like mobile devices is now unfolding. Mobile devices are making inroads for both routine and specialized medical procedures.

Machine-to-machine technology enables the development of hardware, like an iPhone case that takes an ECG and stores the data within an app on the mobile device. In that instance, the patient’s doctor can then monitor the data and identify abnormalities immediately. Another example is a wireless chip that fits in the top of a prescription bottle and connects to the patient’s mobile device. A phone call reminds them if they forget to take their pill, automatically orders refills from the pharmacy and updates their doctor on their adherence to the prescription.

Considering these growing trends:  increasing implementation for a wide variety of sensor technologies; the near saturation of broadband access; and the increasing pervasiveness of connected and mobile devices among patients and doctors.

Remote care becomes less science fiction like and more of reality each passing day. Remote monitoring and communication technology should play a vital role towards improving the delivery of better patient outcomes. iRobot Corp has recently be given FDA clearance for a line of robots designed to let doctors interact with hospital patients remotely. And Vancouver’s ReflexWireless is currently working out of Wavefront and are creating a wireless multi-patient monitoring system for use in hospital wards.

A recent report suggests that telehealth could grow globally by 55% in 2013. IDC Canada estimates that $1 billion will be spent on technology for the health care sector in 2013. M2M technology will represent the majority of this investment. Rogers announced yesterday that they expect to double the revenues they earn from M2M connections over the next two years.

This notion of the industrial internet has potentially massive implications for Canadian innovation and our economy as a whole.

Next week, top international minds and developers of M2M technology will converge on Vancouver for the Wavefront Wireless Summits. They will be discussing the latest trends in M2M and how they will be applied across key industry sectors, including healthcare. Ideally some of this talk will turn into action, and thus turn into new high value employment opportunities in Canada’s knowledge economy.

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John Gray

John Gray

John jumped into the startup world in early 2009, bringing his experience in business development and sales to companies creating new software products. He was co-founder and CEO of Mentionmapp, a visual analytics company that was acquired by OverInteractive Media in October 2011. Before that, he sold legal software and services (LexisNexis), medical devices (Auto Control Medical) and... more



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