A Sidebar on the IoT: Using new Things smartly

This is a sidebar to some thinking on an architecture for the Internet of Things here… – Rob

I was recently prompted to think about a Big Data problem that is in the US papers… the issues around processing US Veterans through the Veteran’s Administration (VA) bureaucracy. I imagine that there are really two problems… I will outline them… but the point will be to try to get you to think about how to use the IoT creatively to mitigate seemingly intractable problems.

One requires some obvious, if not easy-to-implement, information technology… there has to be some fool-proof way to ensure that VA staff cannot game the system and hide problems. This could be solved with an audit system that looks for anomalies in processing patterns in much the same way that other fraud detection software operates.

But fraud is not the problem… it was meant to mask the problem. The fact is that there are more Veterans requiring medical assistance than there are funds and doctors to provide that assistance. All the fraud detection would have accomplished is to show how many Veterans are going without care.

So… the IT folks at the VA are tasked with the impossible task of servicing too many Veterans with too few doctors… But military doctors are used to this issue and the word “triage” comes from the vocabulary of war… not the vocabulary of medicine.

This leads me towards the point… there are new things, in the IoT sense, coming out that can make triage of Veterans who are not hospitalized possible. Rumors are that the new iWatch contains several sensors that can monitor the pulse, temperature, and maybe more, of wearers. What the VA needs to do is immediately put an iWatch on every Veteran who applies for medical help. They then need to monitor the vitals of all of the veterans and schedule in those with the weakest signs. They need to notify individuals to come in immediately when vitals turn bad… Further, they need to track these vitals against medical records and outcomes to make the triage ever more efficient over time.

By using internet Things to triage the VA could use their limited medical resource much more efficiently… and mitigate some or all of the problem.

The IoT affords us all opportunities to change the game for our employers. There will be opportunities to disrupt some existing markets. But to take full advantage will require us to be creative and smart. I, of one, am anxious to start… Now back to considering an architecture for things.


2 thoughts on “A Sidebar on the IoT: Using new Things smartly”

  1. Hi Rob, My mother worked for over 30 years at the VA in Rhode Island and retired in the1990’s. She was the Surgical Unit’s Administrative Assistant and was the kind of person who knew the VA through-and-through and helped numerous Veterans navigate throught the (sometimes) endless bureaucracy and the bureaucratic responses many Vets received. Before there was “Big Data” there were people who cared and knew work-arounds or short-cuts to get things done, they are however often few and far between.
    The triage iWatch you described is born out of necessity and despite its impersonable solution to a problem, it’s one I hope will help those who require.

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