Internet and more like “wellness devices”, patients are

Internet
of Things(IoT) in healthcare use cases continue to grow, with remote monitoring
of patient’s health and clinical trial usage getting recent attention. Everyone
is agreed on one statement, that’s IoT is transforming the industry.  IoT is bringing new applications, tools and
workflow into the mix that are not only ensuring better patient care and
treatment outcomes, but are also bringing new efficiencies that are reducing
healthcare costs.

The
IoT has been used inside healthcare facilities for quite sometime, and the list
of use cases continues to grow. But it’s the use of IoT outside hospitals and
doctor’s offices in situations that allow for remote patient monitoring that is
attracting a lot of recent attention. By allowing patients to be monitored at
home, instead of in a healthcare facility, the true “connected” potential is
realized for IoT in healthcare.

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In
many cases, these remote monitoring devices are taking on a much more
user-friendly form factor, appearing to the user to be more like wearable technology than medical devices. When devices seem less like
bulky medical devices and more like “wellness devices”, patients are more
likely to actually wear them.

There
is significant interest in the use of medical grade wearables, including smart
fabric, glucose monitoring devices, electrocardiogram patches, pulse oximeters
and other devices that untether patients from healthcare facilities.

As
much as companies are changing form to make devices more user-friendly, in the
end, it’s all about the data gathered that is making remote monitoring so
successful for healthcare providers and their patients. Rather than a hospital
or doctor’s office visit, remote monitoring relies on a patient regularly taking
their own blood pressure, or measuring glucose or oxygen levels and other vital
stats in a home environment. Wearable devices do this automatically and report
data to the healthcare organization’s platform using a cellar or wi-Fi
connection.

Another
use case for IoT in healthcare is Clinical
Drug Trials, where there’s been a significant increase in accurately
reported data, as well as improved patient engagement. In this case, connected
devices are playing an important role in providing accurate readings of vital
stats during the trial period, allowing the patient to remain at home instead
of at a healthcare facility.

 

IoT HEALTHCARE APPLICATIONS:

IoT
applications are directly used by user and patients. Various gadgets,
wearables, and other healthcare devices currently available in the market. In
this section ,application of IoT is discussed.

1.    
Glucose
Level Sensing – Diabetes is a group of metabolism disease
in which there are high blood sugar glucose(sugar) levels over a prolonged
period. Blood glucose monitoring reveals individual patterns of blood glucose
changes and helps in the planning of meals, activities and medication times.An
m-IoT configuration method for non-invasive glucose sensing on a real-time
basis. In this method, sensors from patients are linked through IPv6
connectively to relevant healthcare providers. This device includes a blood
glucose collector, a mobile phone or a computer and a background processor. A
IoT based medical acquisition detector that can be used to monitor the glucose
level.

 

2.    
Electrocardiogram
Monitoring –

 The monitoring of the electrocardiogram (ECG)
,that is , the electrical activity of the heart    recorded by electrocardiography, includes
the measurement of the simple heart rate and the determination of the basic
rhythm as well as the diagnosis of multifaced arrhythmias ,myocardial ischemia,
and prolonged QT intervals. The application of the IoT to ECG monitoring has
the potential to give maximum information and can be used to its fullest
extent. An IoT- based ECG monitoring system composed of a portable wireless
acquisition transmitter and a wireless receiving processor. The system
integrates a search automation method to detect abnormal data such that cardiac
function can be identified on a real-time basis.

 

3.    
Blood
Pressure Monitoring –

The
question is has the combination of a KIT blood pressure(BP) meter and an
NFC-enabled KIT mobile phone becomes part of BP monitoring based on the IoT is
addressed.

A
motivating scenario in which BP must be regularly controlled remotely is
presented by showing the communications structure between a health post and the
health center. The question of how the Withings
BP device operates depends on the connection to an Apple mobile
computing device. A device is needed for BP data collection and transmission
over an IoT network. This device is composed of a BP apparatus body with a
communication module.

 

4.    
Body
Temperature Monitoring –

Body
temperature monitoring is an essential part of health-care services because
body temperature is a decisive vital sign in the maintenance of homeostasis.
The m-IoT concept is verified using a body temperature sensor that is embedded
in the TelosB mote, and a typical sample of attained body temperature
variations showing the successful operation of the developed m-IoT system is
presented. The temperature measurement system based on a home gateway over the
IoT. The home gateway transmits the user’s body temperature with the help of
infrared detection. The main system components responsible for temperature
recording and transmission are the RFID module and the module for monitoring
body temperature.

 

5.    
Healthcare
Solutions using Smartphones –

Recent
years have witnessed the emergence of electronic devices with a smartphone-
controlled sensor, which highlights the rise of smartphones as a driver of the IoT.
Various hardware and software products have been designed to make smartphones a
versatile healthcare device. An extensive review of healthcare apps for
smartphones is systematically provided, including a discussion on apps for
patients and general healthcare apps as well as medical education, training,
information search apps.

Few
apps are available for general healthcare :

 

·       Diagnostic
apps              –        It is used to access diagnostic and treatment
information.

·       Drug
Reference apps      –        It provides name of drug, their
indications, dosage costs and        

                                           
identifying features.

·       Medical
Education apps –   It deals with
tutorials, training, various surgical demonstration,

                                            Color illustrations
of different images and medical books.

·       Calculator
apps                – It has various medical formulas as well as
equations and calculate 

                                       
respective parameters of interest (e.g. the body surface burn                                 

                                       
percentage)

 

·       Clinical
communication apps –   It simplifies
communication between clinicians within a

                                                     
hospital.

 

BENEFITS
OF HEALTHCARE IoT:

 

1.    
Reduced
Healthcare Cost –  Remote
monitoring of patients become possible because of real time data and wearable
devices. Doctors and healthcare centers can take better care of their patients
remotely. It also helps them in minimizing the overall healthcare cost, as
doctors do not require to meet patients at the regular basis. IoT has reduced
the healthcare cost and also helped in speeding the delivery of care.

 

2.     Better Result of Treatment –  Connectivity of
healthcare to cloud computing or other virtual infrastructure gives healthcare
the ability to access real time data that provides informed decisions as well
as offer treatment that is evidence based. This enables healthcare provision is
timely and treatment outcomes are improved.

 

3.     Improved Disease Management – In
this technique, patients are continuously monitored and healthcare centers are
able to access real time data. With the help IoT disease are treated before
they get out of hand.

 

4.     Reduced Errors – Accurate
collection of data, automated workflows combined with data driven decisions are
an excellent way of cutting down the costs. Reducing system costs helps in
minimizing on errors.

 

5.    
Better
Patient Engagement – Healthcare is transforming from fee for service to value-based
care. Effective patient engagement plays a key role in the implementation of
value-based care program.

With
the help of IoT, patients can use apps and software which help in accessing
their own health data. In this way patient can be sure about the progress in
healthcare management. Doctors and patients both can keep their eyes on their
daily routine and diet chart. For old age patients, this app is a good engagement
and through this they can monitor their health record.

 

6.     Real-Time Data and Information for
Care Managers –  With
the advent of IoT in healthcare, care managers can get access to the real-time
data of patients. There are so many health apps with the integration to
wearable devices such as Apple Watch and other health bands; these apps can
send patient’s real-time data to the care managers and care managers can use
this data to create & implement a better care management program for
patients.

 

7.     Increased Interest Level of Patients
–  There is a sharp
increase in the population of fitness freak people as healthcare apps with
wearable devices (such as Apple watch, fitness band etc.)  have been launched. People has increased
interest in healthcare matter which results in more educated patient
population. Educated patients understands the importance of good health.

 

8.     Meaningful & Timely Health Alerts
–  With the use of IoT care managers can
get the access to real-time data and thus can send more meaningful health alerts
to patients. Real -time data access can get the attention of care manager
whenever particular health parameters go beyond the ideal limit and healthcare
can send alerts immediately. This technique can save lives of critical care
patients.

 

9.     Helping Differently Able People – The greatest benefit of IoT in healthcare
is its ability to help differently abled people. IoT enabled wheelchair,
hearing devices, eye glasses etc, which are helping the many needy people. The
combination of mobile apps and IoT has given birth to the stream gadgets that
help differently abled people.

 

 

CHALLENGES
OF HEALTHCARE IoT:

 

1.    
LACK
OF EHR (ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD) SYSTEM INTEGRATION

When data is collected from IoT
device, it can save patient’s important information, daily physical routine or
glucose level. This information not automatically go to an EHR system until it
is centralized. Some EHR systems allow patients to import data into their
records. But still this remains relatively limited to a few dominant EHR
players. Still many providers are uncertain of how to handle information that
lives outside of their record system.                                 

2.     
LACK
OF INTEROPERABILITY WITH EHR (ELECTRONIC HEALTH

RECORD)
SYSTEM –

 

                      Patients
are likely to collect different sets of data when using different medical
devices depending on each device’s purpose and, in some cases, the ordering physician.
A patient with diabetes may frequently collect glucose levels and report them
back to their primary care physician while also potentially capturing data
related to their asthma on a separate device, which may be going to their
asthma and allergy care provider.  In
many cases, the information that the patient captures stays within the
boundaries of each of the systems and IoT vendors and is not visible to other
systems. Unfortunately, with the lack of wider adoption of adequate
interoperability, data from different IoT devices may remain locked in each
individual system and lose its potential value to the rest of a patient’s care
team.

   

3.    
NEED
OF FULL HEALTH RECORD OF PATIENT –

 

IoT
data alone may not be meaningful if it is not within the context of a full
health record. Many service providers support the collection of meaningful
patient data between every visit, but this data is only valuable within the
context of a full patient chart and timeline. There are still many cases where
the data collected from wearables and other medical devices stays locked in the
IoT vendor repository or apps. For a doctor, that data may not be useful until
patient’s full record is visible.

 

 

4.     DATA SECURITY –

 

Data
security causes concern in the implementation of IoT in healthcare. From the
time that the data is collected at the device level to the point that it is
transmitted over to its final destination.

But
with the lack of common security standards and practices, many health IoT
professionals have concern about the risks associated with IoT device.

FUTURE
OF HEALTHCARE IoT:

There are countless
applications for the IoT in healthcare, but the technology is still evolving .
One of the challenges of healthcare IoT is how to manage all of the data it
collects, the future of IoT will depend on the ability of healthcare
organization to turn that data into the meaningful insights.

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