A networked connection of people, process, data, and things is transforming healthcare through developments like electronic health records that are customized and secured for each user, giving patients more information about their own medical care.
For consumers, IoE has given rise to an ecosystem of user-enabled health monitoring wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch, which deliver personalized, data-driven health insights. And healthcare organizations are developing a range of point-of-care technologies to improve patient care and access to needed healthcare.
As we recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, we celebrate the survivors and honor those we've lost to breast cancer. An area of hope against this cruel disease is the ability of IoE to provide us with data insights to help diagnose and treat breast cancer.
The need is more urgent that ever. The World Health Organization says breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer, killing more than a half million women globally in 2011.1 The rates of breast cancer are increasing, particularly in developing countries where most cases are diagnosed in late stages.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States, after lung cancer. The latest statistics show nearly a quarter million American women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 -- and more than 40,000 mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, wives and girlfriends died.2
Fortunately, we're starting to see examples of how IoE can help fundamentally change how we diagnose and treat women with breast cancer. One catalyst for this future is Rob Royea, a scientist and entrepreneur who is leading the charge to bring a new medical innovation called the iTBra from concept to market with the power of IoE.
The device -- a normal bra embedded with IoE sensor technology -- can detect tiny temperature changes in breast tissue. These fluctuations may indicate the presence of breast cancer at an early stage, when it is easier to treat and potentially cure. The iTBra works even in women with dense breast tissue, which can be difficult to detect with traditional x-ray techniques like mammography.
Cisco is helping fund a documentary about the iTBra called DETECTED. This upcoming indie-doc thriller will chronicle Rob's journey to create the iTBra and shed important light on how IoE can be used to make a difference in people's lives.
WATCH: The trailer for the documentary DETECTED
When people ask why IoE matters, there are many reasons we can offer. Perhaps the human element is the most important reason, as we work to make IoE more than just a game changer and into a lifesaver.
If we can do that, then we really have changed the world.
Karen Walker is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Cisco.