Internet of Things in Healthcare

The adoption of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act, 2009) legislation helped usher in sweeping changes in the management of healthcare with the adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and other technology. With the implementation of healthcare portals, patients had the ability to be more engaged in their treatment with transparent access to medical records, appointments, and communication with doctors. Home monitoring systems allow patient monitoring in real-time. With IoT and the next generation of technologies, many of these tasks will become automated (and be able to trigger actions on their own) as a host of electronic devices are deployed to capture or monitor data and process them in a private or public cloud. Given the prevalence of smart devices already deployed in healthcare, including thermometers, blood-gas analyzers, glucose meters, smart beds, mobile X-ray machines, ultrasound units, and more, the implementation of IoT in healthcare can revolutionize patient care. IT Support Vancouver specializes in healthcare IoT solutions.

With governments leaning on the healthcare sector to improve access to services in the wake of the recent pandemic, the applications of IoT in healthcare will only increase in volume as care costs decrease. According to Grand View Research, global IoT devices in the healthcare market are expected to reach USD 410 billion by 2020. IT and medical systems giants such as Medtronic Inc., Philips, Cisco Systems, IBM Corporation, GE Healthcare, and Microsoft Corporation are already engaged in extensive research and innovation to develop products for special medical applications.

Top Benefits of IoT in Healthcare

Simultaneous reporting and monitoring

One of the key benefits of remote health monitoring enabled by connected devices is that it really has the potential to save lives in emergencies such as heart failure, diabetes, asthma attacks, etc. Smart monitors and medical devices connected to the patient’s smartphone collect all relevant medical and health data in real-time and send them to the concerned physician. The impact of real-time health monitoring is such that in a study by the Center of Connected Health Policy, it was found that there was a 50% reduction in the 30-day readmission rate after the implementation of remote patient monitoring on heart failure patients.

Improving medical connectivity and affordability

Next-generation medical facilities will come equipped with healthcare mobility solutions and other emerging IoT solutions that automate the patient care workflow to a great extent. This, in turn, will improve interoperability, the flow of information and data movement, and help medical facilities implement other emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine-to-machine communication to make healthcare service delivery more comprehensive and effective. Moreover, with the rising speed and efficiency of a technology-driven setup, hospitals can expect the cost of healthcare to be drastically reduced through better resource optimization, improving resource allocation, better planning and fewer hospital visits.

Remote medical assistance

Smart devices offer an enhanced scope of connectivity with doctors and medical professionals, irrespective of where they're located. Thanks to improved mobility solutions, doctors can immediately check in with patients and diagnose them on the go. IoT-based healthcare delivery chains are also working on innovative solutions where machines may be able to distribute drugs based on past prescriptions and available patient history.

Top 3 Challenges of Healthcare IoT


Data security & privacy

As is common in most other industries, the healthcare industry also faces significant IoT data security and privacy challenges. Even as IoT medical devices are hailed for capturing and transmitting data in real-time, the same ability opens it up to significant security challenges. Most IoT devices are not designed with security in mind and lack any significant data protocols and security requirements. The nature of electronic devices and electronic transmission also makes data ownership pretty ambiguous and complex to regulate. Since the patients' Personal Health Information (PHI) is a highly coveted target of cybercriminals, they can easily find ways to compromise the devices or intercept data transmissions to misuse patients’ electronic health records. They can use this to generate fake IDs that can be easily leveraged to commit other crimes. Fraudulent insurance claims are also on the rise as hackers use PHI to make claims in the patient’s name. For optimum Healthcare IoT Security, consider reaching out to Managed IT Services Vancouver.

Data overload & accuracy

Data aggregation in healthcare IoT continues to be a challenge due to the use of different communication protocols & standards. Even as IoT devices continue to gather enormous amounts of patient data, organizations are finding it increasingly hard to analyze this data to drive insights due to its sheer volume of it. This can affect the quality of decision-making by doctors and even lead to patient safety issues.

Cybersecurity

With all the data being generated and transmitted by Healthcare IoT devices via the internet, it is also liable to be exposed and hacked. Safe implementation of healthcare technology must involve complex layers of security in order to comply with stringent data privacy and security regulations. Hospitals must start off with at least a private IoT network and add on other masking and cloaking technologies using VPNs, APNs and IPsec protocols. They must create a secure environment where patient data can only be accessed by authorised devices with robust data management practices, responsible ownership and ultra-responsive business continuity and disaster recovery processes against breaches, hacks and leaks. IT Consulting Vancouver specializes in providing expert guidance for IoT Based Healthcare systems.

About Sam Goh:

Sam Goh is the President of ActiveCo Technology Management and IT Consulting Vancouver company. Sam comes from an operational perspective; his tenure at ActiveCo emphasizes working with customers to closely understand their business plans and successfully incorporate the technology component into those plans. Under his leadership, ActiveCo has developed expertise that focuses on enriching the extensive customer relationships by integrating strategic and operational focus areas through consulting. When Sam and his wife Candee aren’t running active, they enjoy road trips with their 2 children.