The Internet of Things could unlock further potential in the healthcare sector, Vodafone has claimed, with the technology possessing the ability to track adherence to treatment regimes.
A new white paper from the operator cited research from the World Health Organisation, which said only half of patients follow their doctor's instructions when undergoing treatment for long-term conditions such as cancer, HIV and hypertension.
Vodafone has suggested that the IoT could help to overcome this problem by using smart devices, connectivity and the cloud to deliver information about a patient's therapy to healthcare professionals. It claimed that this could save up to $290 billion in "avoidable" spending in the United States alone.
In addition to reduced costs, the operator said patients could benefit from greater independence, better quality treatment, and improve the development of drugs.
University of Liege Professor of public health Bernard Vrijens, who is backing the white paper, said: “Healthcare providers currently monitor four main vital signs: body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate and blood pressure. The IoT means they’ll soon be able to accurately measure a fifth – adherence.
"I believe that that the importance of connectivity in the both medical devices and in patient engagement cannot be under estimated. This is a pivotal moment on the road to more individualised healthcare.”
Vodafone IoT Director Erik Brenneis added: “We hope that the vision and creativity of people like Professor Vrijens will quickly become a reality with the IoT. We believe that we are on the threshold of a significant change in the way chronic diseases are managed.”
In June, Vodafone started a Global SIM service to help diabetes sufferers. Patients are able to supply glucose readings to healthcare professionals or share them with family members.