iot in healthcare

IoT in Healthcare and Advances in Remote Patient Monitoring

Posted on: November 12, 2019
Posted in: Healthcare, Biomedical Science, Computer Science & Engineering, Medicine,

A very simple definition of IoT is ‘anything, anytime, anywhere’. IoT in healthcare has played a prominent role in the redesigning of present systems with the current advancements in the field of technology associated with IoT. IoT based solutions guarantee health monitoring not only in hospitals and house environment, but also in outdoor environments.

IoT in Healthcare

Advantages of IoT in Healthcare

IoT start-ups are finding new implementations within healthcare and are leveraging connected sensors for better diagnoses, monitoring and guiding patient treatment. The major advantages of the IoT in healthcare are the following:

  • Reduces costs of medical treatment
  • Betters outcomes of treatment
  • Better diseases management and reduced errors
  • Improves patient experience
  • Upgrades management of drugs

 

Internet of Medical Things

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

The IoMT is playing a pivotal role in remote healthcare and monitoring to increase the efficacy of medical devices, and the speed and accessibility of medical services. It can be used to collect remote patient health data utilizing wearable sensors and devices connected to Internet-based health monitoring systems.

The concept of IoMT is the integration of healthcare devices with computer networks through the web, which receives information in real time, and also allows interaction with patients. Basically, IoMT associates living and non-living things through the web.

The IoMT is able to remotely connect people about chronic diseases by using the patients’ and hospitals’ locations and tracking medication orders and wearable health devices. It enables faster diagnosis of disease and decision-making by compiling numerous medical data (i.e. big data) on time coupled with wise investigation.

 

IoNT

Internet of Nanotechnology (IoNT)

Nanotechnology has gained a lot of attention in recent times due to rapid increases in the field of technology, especially towards miniaturization of embedded hardware devices.

A nano-sensor in the medical field can be defined as any sensor capable of detecting nanoparticles. Nano-sensors are also capable of monitoring the physical and biological parameters at nano scale. Nano-sensors can be used in the field of healthcare for remote monitoring of any individual who has wearable sensors capable of detecting and monitoring vital parameters. Each of these nano-sensors can communicate with a smartphone over the air either through a low energy Bluetooth or any other RF communicative device (or even it may be a wired connection). A central server can be established governing, storing and controlling the complete architecture of the system. Communication to the central server is with a smartphone on the patient side, and with the router on the hospital side, which will be completely wireless. Here a central server will also have an online portal displaying the complete profile of the data measured/detected or monitored by the nano-sensors, and it will also have the feedback/prescription or suggestion given by the medical representative from the hospital side. IoT in healthcare will fulfil all the requirements needed for the establishment, control and supervision required for the online portal.

 

iot in healthcare

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Remote Health Monitoring

Remote Health Monitoring Using IoT

Existing patient monitoring systems are fixed monitoring systems, which are only available in hospital ICUs. These systems are huge in size and useful to monitor patients in hospital beds only. No automatic system exists which is able to regularly provide important data about the patient when he or she is mobile. Medical assistance, health monitoring, and rehabilitation for the older and disabled people is an imminent challenge, as it requires an ideal network between people, medical equipment and health service providers. For this reason, reliable and cost-effective wearable devices with low-power are needed to enhance their quality of life. The IoMT framework offers promising innovative advances to accomplish before the specified patient care services and enhance further the health service systems.

Based on the assistance of the remote health monitoring framework, health parameters can be self-assessed by sitting at home and the information can be shared with a qualified doctor who is far away. If a patient is suffering from a major medical ailment, and the specialist treating the patient is unable to help, these parameters can be remotely sent to a doctor who can help him/ her from any location. In the worst case, even if the treatment isn’t accessible in his/ her country, he/she can communicate and continue the treatment with a specialist from a technically advanced country. Thus, mortality rates can be decreased, and the quality of care can be enhanced using remote health monitoring with IoMT.

 

Remote Patient Monitoring

Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient health monitoring (RPHM) is continuing to gain acceptance in hospitals and healthcare centres, and many specialists are expressing interest in the next generation platforms to address the challenges and inefficiencies of the current patient monitoring platforms. Research surveys are stating that the RPHM market is growing rapidly, and in this context the advantages for patients, care providers and public health authorities are outlined below:

Benefits for patients:

  • Better outcomes and quality in treatment
  • Real-time support and interventions improve the disease management and reduce errors
  • Prevent emergencies and re-admissions
  • Reduced hospital stays

Benefits for Care Providers/ Public Health Authorities:

  • Enhance the access of patient health data in real time
  • Continuous monitoring of patient health parameters, regardless of patient’s location
  • The accuracy, reliability and relevance in reading data enhanced, which would provide better precision in treatment
  • Cost reduction from re-admissions and hospital stays

IoT in healthcare can monitor, record and track the changes in parameters over a specific time period. Doctors can prescribe the medication and suggest treatment methods based on the recorded changes or the history of the patient. Normal routine check-ups and hospital stays can be minimized. Digital records of patient health parameters on the clouds are becoming reliable and storing data in a computer or memory device has benefits over printing on paper such as minimal chances of data loss.

IoMT

Limitations and Challenges of IoMT in Healthcare

The successful implementation of IoMT based remote patient monitoring systems face certain limitations and challenges in terms of technology and networking such as accurate data acquisition, inter-operability between hardware and software, bandwidth, quality of health services, limitation of battery life, sensor biocompatibility and so on.

The significant challenges in the domain of IoMT are design in hardware and software implementation, design optimization of wearable sensors and real-time processing with low power consumption sensors. Network performance is likely to be constrained in the memory of the system, which influences the performance and management of network-like devices, as well as bandwidth and flexibility of data volume, data security and data privacy. In addition to the network and technological challenges, the most common and general challenges are user attitudes, technological acceptance and barriers, confidentiality, legal issues, ethical and administrative barriers, implementation costs, maintenance of the system and sufficient investments.

Overcoming these difficulties in the area of IoMT will enhance the standard of remote healthcare. IoMT provides better and reliable healthcare and health monitoring services, as it bridges the gap between doctors, patient and healthcare services. IoMT enables the doctors and hospital staff to work more precisely and actively with less effort.

This article was cited from Medical Big Data and Internet of Medical Things: Advances, Challenges and ApplicationsBy Aboul Ella Hassanien, Nilanjan Dey and Surekha Borra.

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