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Scottish research shows widespread support for IoT in healthcare


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Nearly nine out of 10 Scottish citizens believe the internet of things (IoT) and smart technologies will improve healthcare, according to new research commissioned by Capita on behalf of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN).

It showed 88% of 2,000 people questioned agreed with the proposition, while 84% said digital access to healthcare – through channels such as video appointments and online chats – is important to where they choose to live.

Other findings include that 47% would use a video link to contact a healthcare professional, 43% an online chat portal, 20% a virtual reality nurse or doctor, and 17% a smart assistant or speaker. All of these were more popular among 18-34 year-olds than older age groups.

This reflects Scotland’s geography and dispersed population, which provide obstacles to face-to-face healthcare for much of the population.

Shifting delivery

Alan Whiteside, innovation consultant at NHS Highland, commented: “Through IoT and smart devices, we can identify deterioration in health earlier which helps shift healthcare delivery from being infrequent and reactive to frequent and preventative.

“As technology continues to develop, we have a great opportunity to develop disruptive healthcare services in the Highlands that could also help enhance healthcare in other regions of Scotland.”

SWAN, implemented by the Scottish Government in 2014, is providing the potential for increased use of the IoT, with 250 unbundled exchanges and over 7,000km of fibre network. It is run under a long term contract with Capita.

The research also showed that people are generally favourable towards the use of smart technology to monitor and treat patients remotely. 88% said it would enhance the care of vulnerable or elderly people, 62% would like to see smart devices available, 46% would like these to be in ‘smart furniture’, 36% would take an ingestible pill with a tiny robot to transmit data, and 22% would use a nursing robot.

Image by from istock/mediaphotos

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