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The Internet of Things

Published on 7/18/2017

Cars that brake on their own. Alarm clocks that tell your coffee maker it’s time to brew your morning cup of jo. Smart toothbrushes that encourage proper brushing. From controlling the thermostat on your phone to monitoring your health with technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the way we work, live and interact with the world around us. IoT is a network of devices, technologies and databases embedded with software, sensors and connectivity that enable greater value and insight by exchanging data with other devices or with a central location.

Simply stated, the IoT can be most easily described as smart connected things. The real value of the IoT in health care is expanding its technology uses to provide better care for the person that ultimately drives more intelligence and predictive information back to the care provider in near-real time to make more informed decisions, improving clinical outcomes and lowering the cost of care. By unlocking data in near-real time from disparate systems, new insights and intelligence can be harnessed to more proactively care for the patient. In health care, we are taking all of that data and pushing it back into the context of clinical workflows.

Cerner brings this data together through our CareAware device connectivity platform, which enables seamless connectivity between medical devices, nurse call systems, location-based technologies and other network-connected systems to drive more contextually relevant events and data points bi-directionally with health care applications and EHR systems. CareAware extends the value of Cerner’s unified architecture by feeding data across the Cerner Millennium EHR and our population health management platform, HealtheIntent. CareAware enables edge insights and actionable intelligence to optimize care team workflows and efficiencies. Additionally, CareAware and Cerner Millennium can be harnessed in combination with the HealtheIntent platform to aggregate connected device data along with other data sources, such as financial claims, and clinical data into a single concept so that dynamic decision support, analytics, research and new knowledge discovery can be achieved. Information collected and insights generated are then most useful when integrated back into the EHR within the proper context and workflow.

The growth in innovative technology and the expanding IoT ecosystem bring exciting possibilities for health care and population health management. However, the focus should not only be on new opportunities, but also challenges in health care as everyday devices take advantage of network connectivity to create new value. Security, data rights and consent models will be critical. As an important steward of clinical information, we must design our systems to have security built-in from the start.

Cerner is committed to collaboration with industry, government and individuals to ensure the value of IoT in health care is realized. We were honored to participate in briefings before the House IoT Caucus and Senate staff in May, which educated members and congressional staff on the development of innovative technology and public policy in the health care IoT ecosystem. We look forward to continuing to be a resource for Members of Congress and their staff as they consider new legislative priorities in an effort to advance a more favorable health care IoT policy environment for our clients and the patients they serve.

At a recent panel on IoT, Cerner President Zane Burke said that Cerner is creating an ecosystem with IoT that will have a dramatic effect on bending the cost and quality curve in health care. We all want to be as close to home as possible when receiving care and in the most optimal health state we can. The IoT is how we enhance that experience versus creating an impediment. Nobody wants to go to the doctor or hospital, so the winning strategy is one that puts you as close to home as possible rather than in the retail experience. We have to have that focus moving forward.

Join us at the CareAware Summit in Kansas City, July 20-22, where you can hear more on IoT from industry leaders like Johnathan Ballon and John Glaser.

For more information related to this topic, I encourage you to read Brian Carter’s blog “Tapping into the internet of things.”