The healthcare sector has recently seen a surge in its use of IoT (or IoMT; Internet of Medical Things). It is projected that the value of IoMT will reach up to $176 by 2026. These IoT devices are being used in multiple ways in the healthcare sector. These devices also inspire new start-up projects in the medical device manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors in various ways.
IoT in Healthcare Monitoring Devices
IoT in healthcare monitoring devices is equally helpful for doctors and patients in monitoring their health status. Examples of IoT regarding patient monitoring are:
Remote Patient Monitoring
The most common use of IoT devices in healthcare monitoring is remote patient monitoring. IoT devices designed for this purpose can help those patients who are not physically present in the healthcare facility. These devices help such patients monitor their heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, etc., and then relay this information to their physician.
How does an IoT Device Relay the Patent’s Information to the Physician?
After collecting the patient’s data, the IoT device forwards it to a software application to be viewed by the healthcare professionals and/or the patients. Algorithms can also be used in this regard to generate alerts and recommend any treatments. For example, if a patient’s blood pressure is dangerously low, IoT sensors can detect it and create an alert for healthcare professionals to intervene.
Challenge with Remote Patient Monitoring
One of the significant challenges of remote patient monitoring with IoT devices is to ensure the security and privacy of the highly personal data of patients.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the fastest spreading diseases in the USA. With around 30 million affected people, manual monitoring and recording blood glucose levels is a difficult task. Also, manual monitoring provides glucose level information only for the time of testing. This method is highly inconvenient for patients who face a continuous fluctuation in their glucose levels.
With IoT devices, these problems can be easily overcome. They provide continuous and automatic monitoring of the glucose levels in patients and alert them whenever the glucose levels become dangerous.
Challenges with IoT Glucose Monitoring Device
Currently, there are two significant challenges associated with the design of IoT glucose monitoring devices:
- An IoT glucose monitor should be small enough so that it can monitor glucose continuously without causing any disturbance to the patient
- The IoT glucose monitor should not consume so much electricity that there is a need to charge it frequently.
Heart Rate Monitoring
Like rapidly fluctuating glucose levels, fluctuating heart rates are also not very easy to monitor. In addition, to keep the check on heart rate in hospitalized patients, continuous cardiac monitoring requires wired machines which impair patients’ mobility.
Using specialized IoT devices for heart rate monitoring allows patients to move around easily while their heart rates are continuously checked.
Challenges with IoT Heart Rate Monitoring Devices
The major problem with IoT heart rate monitoring devices is the accuracy of the results. However, most modern IoT devices guarantee 90% accuracy in the results.
Hand Hygiene Monitoring
Hands and fingers are some of the dirtiest parts of the human body. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to determine that the healthcare providers and patients have sanitized their hands properly. With IoT devices, everyone entering the hospital can be reminded to wash their hands once they enter inside. These devices can also instruct these people to sanitize their hands properly and follow particular procedures for a specific patient if needed.
Challenges with IoT Hand Hygiene
The major challenge with these devices is that they cannot sanitize the hands of the people themselves, but they can only remind them. Still, studies suggest that infection rates can be reduced by more than 60% with the use of these devices.
Depression & Mood Monitoring
This type of data is also challenging to collect and monitor continuously. Although healthcare providers can inquire patients about their mental state initially, they cannot know about any sudden mood swings. Moreover, patients also do not report their symptoms correctly.
Specialized IoT devices known as “Mood-aware IoT devices” can collect and analyze the data regarding heart rate and blood pressure by which the patient’s mental state can be determined. In addition, specialized IoT devices can even track the patient’s eye movements in a particular mental state.
Challenges with IoT Mood Monitoring Devices
Metrics obtained from these IoT devices cannot determine the depression symptoms or other causes of fluctuation in the mental state with complete accuracy.
Parkinson’s Disease Monitoring
IoT sensors allow healthcare facilitators to assess the severity of symptoms of Parkinson’s patients. They continuously collect data about the signs and simultaneously enable the patients to go to their homes. This saves them from spending a long time in hospital.
Other Examples of IoT/IMoT in the Healthcare Sector
IoT-connected inhalers can prove to be very helpful in asthma and COPD, which involve sudden attacks. These IoT devices can help monitor
- The frequency of these attacks
- Data collection from the environment to determine the trigger for the attack.
These inhalers can also alert the patients if they forget their inhaler at home or misuse their inhaler.
Gathering the data from inside the body is a difficult task. But with IoT indigestible sensors, it is now possible to collect information from deep inside the body, such as from the GIT system. Using these sensors, insights regarding pH levels or the source of internal bleeding can be quickly determined in a much less invasive way.
Criteria for Ingestible Sensors
These ingestible sensors must be:
- Small enough so that they can be swallowed easily
- Can dissolve (or pass) through the human body.
Connected Contact Lenses
Connected contact lenses can pave the way for human eyes so that they can interact digitally. With IoT connected contact lenses
- Healthcare data can be easily collected non-invasively
- They can also include micro-cameras allowing wearers to take pictures with their eyes.
Robotic Surgery with the help of IoT
- Can help surgeons perform complex surgical procedures
- Do not require large incisions, and therefore can help patients in healing faster.
Properties of Ideal IoT Robotic Devices
- They should be small to perform surgeries with minimal invasion
- They must be able to detect and interpret complex conditions inside the human body so that the surgeons can make the right decision while operating.
Major Challenges with IoT Devices
IoT devices are revolutionizing the healthcare industry. However, there are some challenges associated with their use. One of such challenges is the security breaches that these devices face. The devices more prone to these attacks are the used IoT devices and older versions of the software.
How to Overcome these Risks?
Protection against these risks can be granted by proper discovery and classification of all IoT devices. Managers can identify, classify, regulate, and secure the device’s behavior. Once these processes are done, risk assessments can be performed, and the faulty devices prone to attacks can be easily eliminated.
Need Help with IoT Medical Devices?
Manufacturing and marketing IoT devices should be done under strict HIPAA regulations. Acquiring the help of an expert company such as Alysidia can easily help with this process. Alysidia is a leading industrial solution provider that has already helped hundreds of medical devices and pharma companies acquire IoT technology for their products. You can learn more about our IoT services by visiting our website Alysidia.com.