In a country where population and geography often make meeting the medical demands of an aging populace difficult, a growing sector of mobile medical equipment technology might just provide the solution China is seeking.
Although the technology and equipment we have here in the U.S. often come with a “made in China” sticker, we don’t often give much thought to the astonishingly innovative powers of the massive Asian nation just across the Pacific.
China produces not only the hardware for our iPhones and SIM cards, but is also a leader in advanced software development. With a population as large — and growing — as China’s, affordable medical technology is needed to keep vast swaths of people as safe and healthy as possible.
As CMS Wire reports, the People’s Republic is ahead of the pack when it comes to the Internet of Things, so to connect instantaneous communication with health care advancement isn’t just economically feasible — it’s a win for all parties concerned.
The Internet of Health Benefits
According to Transpacific IP, a “revolution in healthcare is quietly brewing,” one that will be noticeable within the next ten years.
They claim that the Internet of Things is already expanding to include “sensors, actuators, microcontrollers, mobile-communication devices, nano-pumps, and more,” which “will make health monitoring, diagnostics, and treatment more personalized, timely, and convenient, while also lowering costs.”
It all sounds too good to be true, but for Chinese citizens, technology like this can’t come quickly enough. Transpacific IP notes there are over 200 million aging citizens in China, which makes for about 15% of the entire population. 16% of that 200 million have a type of chronic disease, such as heart disease or diabetes, which are costly to treat.
When you’re taking care of this many patients at one time, you end up with a medical infrastructure that’s constantly strained to fulfill all of its responsibilities.
But there are ways of prioritizing patients, of allocating a limited supply of medical expertise to the demand that is most urgent. Vital signs dip or spike hours before the onset of life-threatening health episodes likes heart attacks, and the ability to automatically alert a doctor or nurse of signs like these could literally save a life.
Wearable medical devices have the ability to measure and monitor critical human vital signs like heart-rate, blood-oxygen, blood pressure, body temperature, ECG, respiratory rate, respiration of carbon dioxide, glucose, and more.
By harnessing the Internet of Things, Chinese medical professionals could remotely determine when an at-risk patient needs to come into the hospital based on data from their device.
China is comprised of many diverse and distant regions, but mobile technology can unite and benefit even the most rural of populations, according to Brookings. Simply owning a smartphone or wearable device will give all citizens access to technology that alerts authorities and healthcare professionals to their needs.
It’s conceivable that the Chinese government could start capitalizing on these technologies, offering tax incentives or coupons for buying phones, then reimbursing health care professionals who offer treatment through the devices.
This, in turn, could offer them valuable data about the populace, going beyond simple census information to learn about what public health services are most needed and where. Ultimately, the continued advancement of medical tech could lead to a healthier, happier, country — and a very lucrative new industry.