Data Driven Futures

Scots ready for IoT HealthTech

Written by Peter Walker

Research commissioned by Capita on behalf of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) has revealed that Scots believe the internet of things (IoT) and smart technologies will improve healthcare.

The survey of 2,000 Scottish adults found 88 per cent agreed, while 84 per cent said digital access to healthcare - through video appointments and online chats - was important to where they choose to live.

A further 47 per cent would use a video link to contact a healthcare professional, 43 per cent an online chat portal, 20 per cent a virtual reality nurse or doctor, and 17 per cent a smart assistant or speaker. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these were more popular among 18 to 34 year-olds than older age groups.

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, provides the potential for increased use of IoT devices, with 250 unbundled exchanges and over 7,000 km of fibre broadband 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, with 88 per cent stating it would enhance the care of vulnerable or elderly people, 62 per cent wanting to see smart devices made available, 46 per cent preferring these to be in ‘smart furniture’, 36 per cent willing to take an ingestible pill with a tiny robot to transmit data, and 22 per cent up for using a nursing robot.