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One of the most exciting developments in cloud computing is the enablement of the Internet of Things (IoT).  IoT applications running on the cloud will disrupt all sectors, and the healthcare industry more than most.

A year ago, Forbes reported that, according to a new estimate from, the healthcare Internet of Things market segment is poised to hit $117 billion by 2020. In this post we will call it IoT, although Cisco calls it Internet of Everything, and GE prefers the Industrial Internet, a term that will probably not catch on.  The important thing is that the combined IoT market adds up to be much larger than $117 billion.

We can think of this change in terms of major trends, like powerful currents that sweep others in their wake and in turn give rise to multiple ripples – read innovative hardware and software.

An example of a major trend is that inpatient care will continue to decline.  Instead of seeing patients who have been admitted into a hospital, doctors and nurses will interact with patients between face-to-face interactions via remote monitoring, IoT and analytics.

And face-to-face may not mean a trip to the doctor’s office, as another major trend will be virtual care: video consultations, secure messaging, secure booking and delivery of results. New payment methods are already being developed to support this new model.  Think of it as care and health without walls.  Skype chat is the new house call.

This new way of thinking about doctor-patient interaction may not only reduce the overall cost of healthcare, but will have other societal benefits.  As there are more advances in the mobility experience for all involved, enhanced productivity and collaboration, enhanced health analytics, and other innovations in cloud platform (medical image storage, cloud emergency medical care, medical research in the cloud, human and ambient sensors) will improve quality of care and of life for all involved.  Of course, compliance and certifications will need to be updated for this brave new world.

Let’s think about it in concrete terms: What is the future of hospitals?  How can we re-imagine productivity to empower organizations, professionals and patients to achieve more and do more?

The second half of our blog post will help you visualize how the IoT will disrupt healthcare through a couple of concrete examples.