The role of IoT in healthcare: advantages, popular segments in medicine and integration with clinic applications
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The role of IoT in healthcare: advantages, popular segments in medicine and integration with clinic applications

7 min
Jan 15 2021
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What is the potential of IoT in the healthcare sector?

Medicine is rapidly introducing new technologies related to Internet interaction into its system of work. If earlier interaction with a doctor was carried out only at an appointment in real life or consultation by phone, now everything is different.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept of a data transmission network between physical objects equipped with built-in means and technologies for interacting with each other or with the external environment.
Such a system allows you to link the received data between various devices and provide the patient with quality care. This is made possible by the growing popularity of gadgets (IoT) and health applications.
After 2020, more and more people are turning to online clinics for quality care that will save them time and money. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the outbreak of the pandemic in 2019 “swept” all areas of medicine:
  • Clinics
  • Medical insurance companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies, etc.
Those companies that did not respond faster than others and did not update their Internet infrastructure in the healthcare sector found themselves in a difficult position. This has led to increased demand for a number of IoT segments.

What segments of the IoT market are in demand in healthcare?

MarketsandMarkets has compiled statistics on IoT segments and applications that gained particular popularity and consumer demand at the end of 2019-2020:

In terms of IoT components, the healthcare market is divided into the following segments:

Medical equipment
  • Wearable external medical devices. Their category includes:
Temporal artery thermometer with the function of synchronization with a smartphone and temperature dynamics through the application;
Smartwatch. They can also sync with your phone and can:
  1. Measure your pulse
  2. Keep track of daily activity
  3. Transfer messages from smartphone
  4. Track depth of sleep
Fitness bracelet. Different models of such IoT from different companies have different functionality. However, the following functions can be described in the capabilities of modern fitness bracelets:
  1. GPS module
  2. Synchronization with a smartphone
  3. Automatic recognition of activities
  4. Measure pulse
  5. Built-in barometer
  6. Accelerometer
Smart glasses. Not as common as the previous options, but leading in sales among athletes, tourists and extreme sports enthusiasts. This is due to the functionality of these glasses:
  1. Accelerometer
  2. Altimeter
  3. Compass
  4. GPS module
  5. Camcorder
  6. Ambient temperature sensor
  7. Synchronization with a smartphone
Smart shoes and t-shirts. The functionality of these wardrobe items is in great demand not only among athletes but also among people who monitor their health and must respond to the slightest changes. So, the general functionality of smart shoes and t-shirts is as follows:
  1. Automatic recognition of activities (T-shirt and shoes)
  2. Determine breathing rate (T-shirt)
  3. Measures pulse (T-shirt)
  4. Counting steps, and counting the rate of recovery of heart rate and breathing (T-shirt and shoes)
  5. Synchronized with the phone.
Smart sock for kids. Used during a baby's sleep to monitor his vital signs:
  1. Blood oxygen measurement
  2. Depth of sleep
  3. Temperature
  4. Warns about baby oversteer
If the indicators change, then the smart sock sends an alarm signal to the smartphone to parents.
All of the listed IoTs are expanding their functionality every year and can be purchased by anyone. However, the popular categories of medical devices do not end there.
  • Implantable medical devices
These include:
  1. Hearing Aids
  2. Pacemakers
  3. Retinal implants
  4. Infusion pumps
  5. Cochlear implants
They are used by the population with serious health problems. This market niche is also introducing synchronization technologies with applications so that in the event of sudden deviations, a rescue service is automatically called.
  • Stationary medical devices
These devices are used in clinics. Oftentimes, synchronizing electrocardiography, tonometry, and other devices with the clinic's software make it easier for the bureaucratic staff to focus on treatment.
Automatic completion of the medical history and the ability to combine it in EHR / EMR applications. This allows the clinic to use information about the health status and methods of treatment of a particular person at any convenient moment.
Systems and Applications
These systems facilitate the operation of applications that run clinics, pharmacies, and healthcare facilities. For the convenience of medical personnel and the safety of a medical institution, each of the following functions must be integrated into the clinic application:
  1. Remote device management
  2. Bandwidth control
  3. Data analytics
  4. Application security
  5. Network security
Services
This industry is very much in demand in healthcare, as often medical institutions do not want to hire a programmer to support and fix minor issues related to the operation of hospital software.
So, turning to services, the healthcare sector expects to receive:
  1. Deployment and Integration
  2. Consulting
  3. Support and service
  4. Connectivity technologies

By the use of IoT in the healthcare application market, it is divided into the following segments:

  • Telemedicine
  • Remote patient monitoring
  • Clinical operations and workflow management with endoscopy
  • Stationary monitoring
  • Drug inventory management
  • Issuing prescriptions for medicines remotely
  • Other (, caring for athletes, the elderly, children, and more)
All these areas help to automate many processes of medicine, making it more convenient for medical personnel and patients.
Medicine of the future is about focusing on patient care with minimal distraction from bureaucratic issues.
However, until such a future has come, as the IoT has a number of problems.

IoT Problems in Healthcare Today

  • Hospital data security. This problem continues to be relevant for healthcare. The information the clinic works with is confidential and needs enhanced protection. We've written a detailed article on why healthcare facilities are exposed to hacker attacks and how you can defend against them. You can read it on our blog.
  • Overflowing with information. Medical applications can be at risk due to data overload. The danger here lies in two factors:
  1. Lack of automatic data entry due to the unregulated IoT synchronization system with the clinic application.
  2. Overloading the application with the information can disrupt the software and the entire hospital.
  • Integration problem. Many medical IoTs have integration functions, but full integration within a hospital system is still not feasible. This is because each of the IoT has its own protocol that protects the data that the IoT collects. It takes time and protocol set up to integrate with a healthcare app. That is why, until now, many medical processes are not automated, since there is still no solution that would provide safe and easy integration between all IoT and hospital applications.
Perhaps, after studying this article, you have already seen a solution to the above IoT problems in the healthcare system and are able to implement them by creating your own application.

Technology consumer expectations for IoT in healthcare

Various segments of the medical IoT market over the years have shaped consumer expectations that should be present in their technology stack.
The “Exceed Team” has compiled consumer expectations for IoT programs in the following categories:
Medical equipment
  1. Wearable external medical devices
  2. Implantable medical devices
  3. Stationary medical devices
Each of the described devices seeks to synchronize and store data obtained from measuring heart rate, blood pressure, etc. Implantable medical devices, of course, stand out from the rest, since they only need to integrate different sizes in exceptional cases.
From medical devices of various types, the following functions are expected:
  1. Integration of IoT with each other and the clinic software;
  2. EMR and EHR. These systems are electronic medical records of patients that provide instant access to medical history and other information to the doctor. They can be either standalone applications or functional tools. They often use standardized forms, access keys and cloud storage in their work.
  3. Cloud services. These services store all information about the application and support its operation in terms of exchange, management and data retrieval.
  4. Geolocation. The Google Geolocation API allows you to get data about the patient's location. If unforeseen circumstances occur, the doctor can inform the ambulance colleagues were to arrive and what happened to the patient. This function is the main one in SOS applications.
Systems and Applications
These systems are aimed at working with the clinic and organizing the internal healthcare environment.
Their task is to collect information, store it, provide it upon request and, if necessary, replenish it. Such programs are exposed in the course of their work to various risks, which our team wrote in more detail in the blog “Healthcare Cybersecurity Framework” . These risks are as follows:
  1. Human Factors and Unintentional Errors
  2. Ransomware
  3. Mass Attack
  4. Refusal of professional support
  5. Safety risk from medical devices
These risks revealed additional framework plugins that should be in the clinic's software to ensure cybersecurity:
  1. Intuitive interface;
  2. Pop-up warnings about incorrect actions of the clinic employee; Integration of the training system;
  3. Levels of information availability for a specific employee;
  4. Blocking third-party ads;
  5. Providing a standard security system;
  6. Collecting statistics on users entering the site;
  7. Refresh the amount of cloud storage from time to time;
  8. An instant system for checking the device for changing the standard code and algorithm of action.
From these points, you can form a technology stack, but if you are interested in a more detailed creation of applications for healthcare, then you can read a feature article in our blog.
Services
Services are often integrated into the application and aim to help the software in case of problems. Their services work in two ways:
  1. Solving typical tasks using AI and template instructions, explaining to employees how to act in case of a particular error.
  2. Solving unique cases with the interaction of people who work in the back-end service and help the client on demand.
An increasing number of services are seeking to introduce AI and expand the typical tasks that AI can solve in a program without human intervention. However, until many medical institutions solve the problem of security and integration of a number of IoT with medical applications, talking about automation of service centers is quite problematic.
All the moments we have described can prompt you to think about how to solve the current problems of the healthcare system and create an application that is in demand in an actively developing healthcare environment.

Let's discuss your idea

The “Exceed Team” is ready to discuss your idea and answer additional questions that you may have while writing this article.
If you want to know the exact cost of creating your application - write to us. We will study your project and advise on all emerging issues.
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