IoT Consortium Adds Connected Health, Wellness to Key Verticals of Focus

By RFID Journal

The business-development association for the Internet of Things ecosystem has responded to the need for innovation in these areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Internet of Things Consortium (IoTC), a business-development association for the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, has announced that it will add connected health and wellness to its key verticals of focus. Due to the urgent need to advance IoT growth in a sector overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the IoTC and its member partners will prioritize innovation in connected health and wellness, with wearables as a sub-vertical market, while continuing to focus on driving IoT adoption in connected cities, homes, automobiles and the retail sector.

"Coronavirus has, without a doubt, underscored the critical need to drive adoption of devices, platforms and services to support individuals at every level of care—from preventive to emergency," said Greg Kahn, the IoTC's founder and CEO, in a prepared statement. "As quickly as technology advances, so do the evolving and changing needs of our world. We need public-private sector collaboration immediately to bring new innovation to the forefront."

The U.S. healthcare system is currently in crisis due to the pandemic, with rising costs, increasing wait times for patients to see specialists, and skyrocketing premiums. While telemedicine and connected-health devices are emerging in U.S. society, the organization reports, the adoption of connected healthcare is slower than expected, particularly among smaller medical practices that lack the resources of large hospitals and healthcare systems.

In a 2016 survey conducted by the American Medical Association, for example, only 15.4 percent of physicians used telemedicine for patient interactions, while 11.2 percent worked in practices that used telemedicine for interactions between physicians and healthcare professionals. Before the coronavirus outbreak, the IoTC indicates, the financial burden of implementing telemedicine was the most significant barrier.

The pandemic has forced the U.S. government and healthcare system to extend telemedicine across a wide swath of the country, in both rural and urban environments, in order to reduce emergency room visits and the spread of the virus to healthcare providers. For instance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently broadened access to Medicare telehealth services so that beneficiaries, particularly those at high-risk of complications from COVID-19, can receive a wider range of services from doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.

"Startups and pioneering companies never wavered in the exploration and development of new ways to give healthcare and wellness solutions a much broader reach," Kahn said in the prepared statement. "From the patient-physician experience to consumer devices that help people monitor and manage their health and wellbeing anywhere at any time, companies unencumbered by bureaucracy are emerging as innovators filling a vital need. It's time we put our full force behind them and support them."

Since 2016, the IoTC has brought together executives from various companies and organizations at meetings and VIP events, as well as in webinars and podcasts. Consortium members can form strategic partnerships and share knowledge and best practices to help educate consumers and the broader business community, while tackling industry roadblocks for IoT products and services to foster technology adoption. On Apr. 9, 2020, the IoTC launched a new virtual series, IoTC NOW, enabling members to discuss the pandemic and its effects on specific industry sectors.