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The Connected Person and Healthcare

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 1:30pm
Alpesh Shah, Director of Global Business Strategy and Intelligence, IEEE Standards Association

The advent of technology has pushed the concepts of healthcare to a different level. Areas of healthcare (diagnostic, well-being, assisted living) are benefitting from these technological advances today and for the unforeseeable future.

What is evident is the advancement of these technologies shifts aggressively to the convergence of our technologies, our environments and ourselves. This convergence can be thought of as “the connected person”. The connected person conceptually reflects the shift in the way we think of - and interact with - technologies from the microscopic level to the macroscopic level.

Consider the advancement of bio-cellular technologies that not only allow the absorption of 20/20 vision from an eagle’s eye by a blind person, but that further allows that person to comprehend the world visually as if they had always had the ability to see. Imagine that the same individual is able to see metrics based on advancements of sensors, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and picotechnologies that allow one to understand the status of their organ utilization, and time to failure, and then replicate a living version of it simply by thinking about it. All of these examples represent the opportunity for greater advancement of medical technology, and at a base level, interoperability amongst a broadly defined technological world.

This interoperability must scale in both the microscopic and the macroscopic worlds. As we as individuals connect our medical device technology with our smarter homes and smarter cities, we at the unit level and the aggregate level are connected. This spectrum of connectivity puts us all at many incredible advantages, but also makes us susceptible to risks such as cyber security compromises and viruses.

Thus, the concept of the connected person is as simple as it is complex. Interoperability allows for it to succeed, and standards that support this interaction and communication holistically will help shape the world we see and the world we become. As such, while standards are not sexy, they are incredibly important.

For more on this topic listen to Alpesh Shah’s NPR interview discussing today’s connected person, as it relates to healthcare.

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