SMART DEVICES REVOLUTIONIZE CHRONIC CARE

MIT Technology Review Insights paper produced in association with Medtronic

pdf Smaller, Smarter, Healthier (.pdf)

New medical technologies are revolutionizing chronic care management — reducing healthcare costs and transforming lives.

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SMALLER: Miniaturization Expands the Possible

MIT Technology Review Insight

Miniaturization and artificial intelligence are enabling the development of ingenious devices to help monitor and treat numerous chronic conditions — heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, epilepsy, obesity, chronic pain, and many others. Technological advances also bring increased memory, processing power, and battery life. These ever smaller implantable and external smart devices measure and record key data, give users alerts and feedback, and send data to clinicians.

SMARTER: Real-time Monitoring and Adjustment

Smarter: The power of monitoring and adjustment in real time

What makes these devices smart? Closed-loop monitoring. Because these devices can continuously monitor a patient’s condition and consistently make adjustments, the patient’s health is better managed. Clinicians aren’t limited to the episodic picture they get from a standard medical record. Also, clinicians may check on patients virtually, changing care plans or tweaking medications based on verbal reports of how patients are feeling along with data from these devices.

As more smart devices are developed, healthcare organizations will be able to modify how they use their personnel and facilities. A clinic that’s accustomed to following up with patients weekly or monthly may not need to see them in person at all. Medtronic is actively working with clinicians and insurers to develop recommended “care pathways” to help health systems capitalize on the efficiencies made possible by medical technologies, while keeping a close eye on patients. 

HEALTHIER: Smart Technology Improves Lives

Healthier: Smart technology improves lives

Keeping patients stable is key to keeping them healthy. Closed-loop monitoring with smart devices reduces the variability that comes with waiting for humans to notice a problem and respond. Smart devices enable personalized care that can head off the crises that routinely jeopardize the lives of chronically ill patients. As devices become more sophisticated, device makers, clinicians, and payers will find new ways to collaborate to improve care, reduce overall costs, and make better health the norm for the chronically ill.