IoT within healthcare: benefits, advantages and challenges as well.Jun 12, 2019
Internet of things (IoT) continues to be the century trend and it is yet conquering more vital areas of the human life.
If you are new to this spectrum, then you better focus here to get introduced to a field that is so promising for IoT technologies.
This area is IoT with healthcare sector. As IoT calls for machine communication and diminishes human rule for taking decisions in most cases.
This can be best made of in areas where errors are considerably costly.
Therefore, the world is heading to replace human monitoring over patients with IoT based devices to promote efficiency and effectiveness.
So let me guide you through the potential privileges of IoT in healthcare track. Moreover, I will spot today’s challenges against the progress of this integration.
Finally, we will explore some of the current applications of IoT in the healthcare industry.
Benefits of IoT integration within the healthcare
IoT has maximized the efficiency of healthcare services in more than one area:
Simultaneous reporting and monitoring
Since IoT is based upon transfer of data, this can significantly be exploited for the good of the medical sector.
Medical devices connected to patients give indications for many health parameters such as blood pressure, heart beating rate, and diabetes rate.
By connecting these devices into a cloud, this will help to develop constant monitoring and supervision over patient condition.
Authorized doctors, physicians or psychologist can have access to these data and hence take the proper procedures if needed.
This method has already been put in action and proved its effectiveness.
A study by Center of Connected Health Policy showed the potential of integrating IoT technology into patient monitoring and reporting.
Thanks to IoT, there was a reduction in readmission rate by around 50% due to the remote monitoring of heart failure patients.
Data assortment and analysis
Some critiques used to spot a major drawback with IoT solutions.
Usually, the data transferred and accumulated eventually at the cloud is super huge. Hence, it is not easy to be sorted or analyzed manually by humans.
Recently, this seemed to be less of concern for doctors or medical involved people.
The revolutionary IoT systems are now competent to analyze and evaluate the bulks of data efficiently and promptly.
Eventually, this will accelerate decision making and leave no room for human errors or misreading.
IoT based applications to enhance healthcare.
So far IoT based solutions and devices have helped to overcome some physical illnesses and psychological as well.
Obviously, hearable are devices associated with hearing loss disorders.
The fascinating device has altered the way people with hearing loss interact with the world.
Based on IoT, the device is operated via Bluetooth technology which syncs your smartphone with it.
The device is designed to adjust the various sounds throughout a series of processes to suit your condition.
These processes involve filtering, equalizing and modifying the sounds etc.
A recent report has highlighted the continuous growth of investments in the manufacturing of ingestible sensors. The report estimated an increase from 198.2 billion USD in 2015 to reach approximately 678.2 million USD by 2022.
The ingestible sensors are considerably tiny devices consumed by the patient and committed to measuring somebody parameters.
These parameters include temperature, PH, image, and blood pressure.
These kind of sensors are shrinking every day to facilitate swallowing them and boost their functionality.
So what do these sensors have to do with IoT?
As explained earlier, they are used to give important indications of the patient body.
These data are stored on clouds accessible by doctors and afford the continuous supervision over patients.
A further progressive function for these sensors is that they are programmed to perform instantaneous procedures if dangers are detected.
Such procedures may involve the release of insulin portion in case of patients with diabetes.
Indeed, these IoT based devices are always though an area with broad research and new advancements day after day.
For instance, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have recently invented an able swallow stethoscope. This sensor is capable of collecting sounds of lung or heart of the human body.
Have you ever imagined your psychological state can be controlled via an electronic device?
Yes, it is no longer a fantasy thanks to the integration of IoT in healthcare sector.
By definition, moodables are“head-mounted wearables that send low-intensity current to the brain which elevates our mood”.
The leading Thync and Halo Neuroscience have been working on these devices and significant results have been recorded.
Computer vision technology.
Visual impairment will soon be no longer a huge concern for humans.
Computer vision technology is now used in drones such as Skydio to detect obstacles and navigate around them.
Similar technologies relying on IoT and AI as well will make use of the same principles to simulate visual recognition and accordingly build decisions upon it.
Challenges and obstacles against IoT advancement within healthcare
Though IoT has tremendously penetrated the healthcare field, there are still countless applications that have not yet seen the light.
Saying that, you can imply that some barriers and obstacles may pose challenges to more progress.
Data security & privacy
As bulks of data flow within an IoT medical system, there are always concerns about who is able to access such a precious asset.
These data usually reveals a lot about patient identification, origin, and medical history. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure the classification of this kind of data.
What makes things worse is the lack of regulations that state data ownership rights.
Eventually, these data are very likely to get hacked by cybercriminals who may misuse it in more one manner.
Sometimes, those criminals manipulate these data and create false IDs to purchase drugs and sell them later.
One serious threat that holds IoT integration within healthcare back from flourishing is manufacturing cost.
You may claim that technology is getting cheaper by the time. You are totally right. However, this is not the case for IoT based medical application so far.
As the technology is still paving its way to conquer more parts of the world, it is not so prevailed except for some developed countries.
Integration: multiple devices & protocols
Similarly, as non-stipulation of data ownership rights, there is a problem with communication protocols and standards of IoT system components.
Like any network of devices, communication protocols need to be set so data can flow smoothly among the network devices.
Unfortunately, communication protocols between within IoT systems have not yet been uniform worldwide.
As a result, this is usually met by hindrance in the implementation of IoT in healthcare sector.
To sum up
The healthcare sector is a promising area where IoT can serve for the prosperity of humans.
The involvement of IoT based applications in this sector has many advantages. Most importantly, it will boost the capability for remote monitoring over patients.
Hence; this will help doctors to maintain their supervision on patients and keep them under their eyes for any urgent medical intervene.
Many IoT applications have already been in use but still limited to prosper areas of the worlds. Ingestible sensors represent the most advanced of these applications.
Finally, the expansion of IoT in healthcare shall be increased by working out some current drawbacks.
First communication protocol and standards ought to be set uniformly in all IoT systems. In addition, costs of devices are to be cut down so more people can afford them from all over the world.