Tech

IoT In Healthcare: How It Gives A Second Wind To Your Medical Software

15 Dec 2017
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11 min

Starting from robots-surgeons to smart hospitals, we get a new generation of high-quality healthcare every year. Digital technologies revolutionize patient care and make the job of doctors more efficient. According to the latest research, US Department of Health plans to save up to USD 300 billion from the national budget due to medical innovations. And the Internet of Things plays a major role in this list. 

To help doctors and patients improve treatment process and make it more convenient for them, the Internet of Things is actively integrated into medical devices. New software development along with hardware manufacturing help turn IoT into reality and enhance healthcare field. How can it be done? You will find more in this article.

Why healthcare?

It is hard to find the field that has more potential capabilities for IoT than healthcare. Technologies that use data from sensors give large benefits on all levels, starting from in-patient treatment and population health condition monitoring to social servicing and self-care, revealing new ways of diseases prevention due to control examinations and early diagnosis. Medical IoT technologies can automatically gather data from patients and process them, detecting precursors of disease to prevent its progression on the early stage.

internet of things healthcare devices

IoT connects all devices to keep you healthy

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See more about the Internet of Things in different areas. Read Internet of Things theory: choose your business model that works

According to Aruba agency research, healthcare sector becomes one of the first ones where the Internet of Things is used for work mostly - 60% of medical organizations in the world have already integrated this technology, and 87% of all organizations plan to implement it by 2019.

In 80% of enterprises where the Internet of Things was integrated, the growth of innovations like constant access to medical data of patients and promptly diagnoses was denoted.

At the same time, a high percentage of enterprises that integrate Internet of Things is at risk. Regardless of whether there is a threat from malware or human intervention, it is highly important for all organizations, especially in the healthcare sector, to use up-to-date technologies for corporate network monitoring. Also, it is necessary to provide different access levels for various connected IoT medical devices.

Use of IoT in healthcare

Internet of Things can make a great contribution to the creation of more personalized and patient-oriented medicine. According to the latest calculations, expenses for the development of solutions on the basis of IoT in the healthcare field will reach up to shocking figure in USD 1 trillion by 2025. And healthcare IoT startups facilitate this process.

There are a few ways of application of Internet of Things in healthcare as follows:

  • Remote health monitoring. Special IoT healthcare devices and custom software make it possible to read data from medical cards of patients in a real-time mode. They allow doctors to conduct analysis, send notifications to suppliers and patients;
  • Wearables. These gadgets are continuously monitoring daily activity of patients, and they can inform about steps taken, burnt calories, heart rate etc. They help prevent some dangerous conditions when emergency is required; 
  • Patient-oriented medicine. This medicine includes devices that can provide medical care considering all individual particularities and demands of each patient using IoT healthcare sensors; 
  • Maintain vital equipment. Internet of Things allows specialists to provide the proper functioning of vital medical devices when your patients need them most. Thus, it helps fix all problems with the maintenance in advance. 
  • Medical assets monitoring. Here IoT helps medical employees spend less time on searching and other additional tasks, so they will be able to spend more time with patients due to the improvement of medical assets monitoring and managing them. So IoT and healthcare can be mutually beneficial for each other. 

Do you want to know more about what IoT is? Watch our video: 

What is Internet of Things?

Benefits of IoT in healthcare

Considering that healthcare and Internet of Things symbiosis is gaining its popularity every year, it means that it has some obvious benefits. Our task to single them out, that's what we will do right now.

Lower expenses

Since a special hardware is used today in the healthcare sector, it allows medical specialists to monitor patients in real-time mode. As a result, people don't need to visit doctors, and it cuts down expenses for the personal visit. Also, people can stay home for treatment, if they are not seriously ill, and doctors will see everything using telemedicine, they won't come every day to see the patient.

Better treatment results

Using cloud computing and connectivity of medical devices, specialists are always able to see all real-time information about each patient with the IoT-based health monitoring system. Thus, they can make an accurate diagnosis according to the analysis. Hence, doctors can provide patients with timely health care, that is leading to better treatment results.

Better disease control

Patients are always under control due to modern technologies in the form of the Internet of Things, and it allows physicians to get all data about the patient on time. So receiving all new information every day and even every hour, doctors can detect any disease on early stage and start the treatment before it is too late.

Fewer mistakes

Automated processes of data segmentation, data receiving, and data-driven decisions lead to reduced possible mistakes in diagnosis establishing. So, patients will sleep well since the number of possible mistakes will come to naught.

More trust towards doctors

Internet of Things in hospitals enhances healthcare system, gives the patient more reliable way to get in touch with his or her doctor. In turn, the doctor can help the patient at any time, give a proper treatment or just a competent piece of advice. It increases the trust of patients towards their personal doctors. Is it bad? Not at all.

Medicines control

IoT and all relevant processes and devices will help specialists control supply and taking of medicines, and it will be implemented with much lower expenses. Also, the control process will be much more accurate.

Remote patient care

Some countries in the world already integrate telemedicine system to use it successfully in 'patient-doctor' connection. Like Singapore, for example. Nurses and doctors see the patient any time with health monitoring system using IoT. Sometimes even a short-term conversation with a patient using telemedicine can help the doctor see the general condition of the patient.

Maintenance of medical devices

The cost of medical devices is very high and it means that any equipment needs a proper maintenance procedure to keep the normal functionality. If some breakdown is going to happen, it is necessary to predict when it may happen. That is where the IoT comes in - it can save many lives since it will calculate all possible troubles with the selected device.

iot hospital

Strong sides of IoT in healthcare

Software development for IoT systems requires high skills and competent knowledge, but that is what Cleveroad can boast about. IoT is one of the development fields we are engaged in.

Disadvantages of IoT in healthcare

As we see, Internet of Things seems something incredible and it can really revolutionize healthcare sector. But there is always a dark side of the moon that we cannot ignore. Some pitfalls that we should be ready to.

Privacy of patients

Privacy is an important question. Whether it be banking or healthcare sector. Here physicians are working with personal information where medical histories of each patient take the main place. As everybody knows, medical history is a confidential information. Unfortunately, malefactors can try to hack this data and get access to the healthcare IoT ecosystem which may lead to the large chaos in the documentation that is potentially deadly to any patient.

Accidental failures

Sometimes one small error in IoT-based patient health monitoring system can become the reason for really serious consequences. And any technology, even the most advanced for today, cannot prevent failure arise for 100%. And as for IoT in healthcare, one failure may cost the lives of hundred people. That is why it is necessary to pay rapt attention to every detail both in the software development and hardware manufacturing.

Malware

Unfortunately, the Internet is full of viruses like trojans and other fearful worms that infect operating systems and IoT applications in healthcare as well. Medical devices and IoT system can also be susceptible to these infections if they are not duly protected. It is necessary to install serious antiviruses and firewalls to protect all software from unacceptable intrusions.

Lack of encryption

Also, to prevent data from hacking, developers should always customize encryption system to protect the unauthorized access to the system. Unfortunately, not every system is duly encrypted and any person can access it without the decryption key. That is why malefactors can take all unprotected data and use it at their discretion.

healthcare iot security

What risks IoT may face

Existing solutions on the market

What are IoT healthcare projects already available for using today? Let's see some successful examples. I am sure they will inspire you to create your new IoT medical system or upgrade the existing one. Our company is at your disposal!

GOJO

Cleaning your hands is very important, especially if it concerns a medical field. And as everybody knows, handwashing is the most efficient way to decrease intrahospital infections. GOJO company that is a supplier of antibacterial gel for hands used Azure IoT Suite from Microsoft to integrate the system of sensors and monitors for tracking hygienic procedures in hospitals. Also, this system makes it possible to create reports about abidance by relevant rules and regulations in a real-time mode. So the main goal of this project is to increase the level of personal cleanliness of each patient and doctor with IoT healthcare solutions. As a result, this system can save lives. IoT makes it all possible.

iot and health

GOJO app in action

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Weka

To helps physicians deal with problems related to transportation and storage of vaccines, Weka Solutions company took an example from GOJO and also used Azure IoT Suite for refrigerators. This system turns an ordinary refrigerator into a smart device that uses remote monitoring and other technologies of the Internet of Things for the improvement of tracking, maintenance, and automation of vital vaccines storage and distribution processes - including all distinct regions of the world where the power supply isn't stable. IoT healthcare market got one more useful invention.

iot and health

Weka smart fridge

Apple Watch app to fight depression

Experts from Cambridge Cognition collaborated with the large pharmaceutical Takeda company to develop Apple Watch app that allows doctors analyze the functioning of cognitive function in patients suffering from the depressive disorder.

According to the latest statistic, depression is the major reason for disability around the world and more than 350 million of people are suffering from it. So, having combined wearables and leading solutions in the neurosurgical field, specialists created the app that gathers passive and active high-frequency data about the psychological condition of an individual. When specialists can gather this data from daily activity, they will make more accurate decisions in future. Treatment process will also be modified.

internet of things healthcare companies

Apple Watch app to fight depression

Intel Health Application Platform

Famous Intel company collaborated with Flex supply chain corporation to create brand new IoT system dubbed IHAP (Intel Health Application Platform). This platform is designed for the remote patient care and it doesn't require tablet or smartphone. This platform includes a special hardware, the device that allows physicians connect with a patient remotely using proprietary software from Intel. Also, all information can be stored in the cloud, and an authorized person like a personal doctor can always pull this data if necessary.

secured smart healthcare monitoring system based on iot

IHAP system from Intel

Well, have the projects above given you wings of creativity? Despite the fact these systems seem something incredible, you always have an opportunity to stand in one line with them. Your product can become even better, you just need to share your idea with the right developers. 

Things to keep in mind

As you can see, IoT is the whole system that cannot be developed and elaborated for one second. It needs a lot of time for specialists to think over each detail to make a really high-grade product. If you plan to integrate new IoT systems in your hospital or in any other medical enterprise, you should keep in mind that you need to study every detail to make your product secured and well-thought. The Internet of Things in healthcare requires more efforts from developers since the mistake here can cost lives.

We, at Cleveroad, have enough experience to create the Internet of Things software for hospital or for your home. Considering all the above, we will help you make your product with a high encryption level and protection from potential malware. Also, there are a few secrets that you need to follow: use remote backup servers. All information will be stored there as well in case of any failures.

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Learn how to find good software developers. Read How to find app developers with a perfect skill set for your project

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