Health Data Connectivity To Be Widespread by 2025, Survey Says

May 15, 2014 in News

By 2025, technology experts predict that the use of embedded and wearable devices that share and transmit data will become widespread and fully immersed into consumers’ daily routines, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, Modern Healthcare reports (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 5/14).

Report Details

For the report, Pew surveyed about 1,600 individuals about the future of wearable devices and “The Internet of Things,” or IoT, which Pew defines as a “a global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing environment built through the continued proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software, databases and massive data centers in a world-spanning information fabric” (McEnaney, Tech Times, 5/14).

According to Computerworld, survey respondents represented a range of industries with expertise on the issue, including:

  • Academia;
  • Consulting;
  • Law; and  
  • Technology.

Report Findings

The report found that 83% of those surveyed agreed that IoT will have “widespread and beneficial effects” by 2025 (Thibodeau, Computerworld, 5/15).

The report noted that many of the components for such a network already exist, including health and home monitoring systems.

Patrick Tucker, a survey respondent and author of books on Internet-enabled devices, noted that in 2008 the number of Internet-enabled devices surpassed those of the human population, adding that IT firm Cisco predicts by 2020 there will be 50 billion such devices, including:

  • Chips;
  • Implants;
  • Phones;
  • Sensors; and
  • Other devices not yet invented. 

He added, “One positive effect of ‘ubiquitous computing,’ as it used to be called, will be much faster, more convenient and lower-cost medical diagnostics. This will be essential if we are to meet the health care needs of a rapidly aging Baby Boomer generation.”

Another respondent, Salesforce.com Chief Scientist J.P. Rangaswami, said in the report saying, in the future “[e]verything will become a node on a network.” Rangaswami added that “the burden of care will reduce as a result of far better monitoring of, and response to, your physical and emotional state, in terms of health care,” (Modern Healthcare, 5/14).

However, Karl Fogel, a partner at Open Tech Strategies, was not convinced by the report’s findings. He noted that the survey could be biased because participants opted-in. In regards to the future of wearable devices, Fogel said, “[W]e don’t need this, and most people aren’t asking for it” (Computerworld, 5/15).

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