Internet of Things enabled Healthcare

By striving to improve outcomes and reduce costs, health care providers have long struggled with a number of harmful problems, including their sporadic interactions with patients, giving them a small glimpse of daily decisions and activities which have a huge impact on the health of patients. Suppliers could be much more effective in supporting the health of their patients if it was easy, even automatic, for information and feedback to flow between patients, providers, and caregivers. Fortunately, new technologies make this more and more possible.

Not only can Internet of Things (IoT) technologies help organizations improve health management, personalized care and improve patient engagement with IoT technology, they will make healthcare organizations more competitive and attract more an increasingly consumer-oriented market.

IoT is about data, and in its most mature form will be an ecosystem of a diverse set of organizations, businesses, and consumers, creating and using different types of data, significantly more sensitive than others. Complexities arise when non-health organizations are actors in an ecosystem that creates and transmits sensitive health information. Thus, the benefits of IoT and PGD (patient-generated data) will be based on an effective response to this and other complexities, including market adolescence, clinician adoption, major data challenges and regulatory modernization.

Health is a highly valuable but highly controversial industry. Considerable costs, complex insurance regulations used at times as important as political leverage, patient care, overworked physicians and nurses, and ongoing public health how patients interact with health professionals and other caregivers. To a large extent, all these problems, as well as many others that impede the delivery of health services, could be simplified and results improved through better access to real-time information, monitoring and predictive diagnoses, all the solutions that Internet of Things can allow.

IOT as a Disrupter of the Health Care Industry

Based on research conducted by Accenture Consulting and published earlier this year, 73% of health executives believe that IoT will be “disruptive” within three years. In line with a wider theme that affects adoption, research concludes that only 49% of health executives say that “their leaders fully understand what IoT means to the industry.” Despite hesitation the digital research firm eMarketer forecasts a value of $ 163 billion for healthcare related to IOT by 2020.

A summary of the research report describes a number of key use cases:

  • Peripherals and Internet sensors provide seamless data collection and analysis of health and health status data in real time
  • Connect entire networks of medical devices
  • Locate health-related assets
  • Streamline patient care and medical research.
  • Pharmaceutical inventory
  • Helping older patients stay safe at home
  • Feed prescribed bottles that remind people to take their medications

Value of the data

IBM adapted its Watson cognitive data analysis platform for healthcare and focused on its health products and services. For Watson Health, IBM cites four key benefits of previewing data created by connected devices:

  1. Optimized organizational performance
  2. Better customer engagement
  3. Improved decision-making
  4. Managing the patient’s experience while gaining profitability

Beyond healthcare, the Watson product line is still segmented to address areas such as genomics, drug discovery, patient management and oncology.

Dr. Andrew Norden, Deputy Health Director of IBM Watson Health, looked more closely at the aspect of oncology treatment – Watson’s cancer. Mr. Norden described the process because “the patient’s medical data is fed into the cognitive computer system and Watson provides the physician with a set of classified treatment options, as well as justification and evidence to support each approach.” Something like getting a second or third, or fourth, you get a notice. In practice, doctors in Bangalore, India, agreed with Watson in 96% of lung cancer cases, 93% of cases of rectal cancer and 81% of colon cancer treatments. Doctors at the Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand agreed with Watson 83% of the time; it was 73% at the Gil Gachon University Medical Center in South Korea.

Mr. Norden, who practices oncology, wrote that he consults with other doctors to explore various treatment options. “Sometimes these different opinions cause a change in my treatment decisions when I review the evidence, and sometimes opinions simply corroborate the treatment I had anticipated, stimulating my confidence in the decision. exactly how Watson is intended to help clinical care. ”

Common use case – Temperature

Another interesting use case IoT which, while not directly affecting patients, has a very real link with the quality of care. According to a case study published by Vodafone, fragmentation in pharmaceutical supply chains, combined with temperature-sensitive medicines, results in one-third of medicine corrupted by the time it uses. The analysis indicates that “it is not unusual for drugs to see up to 30 transfers on their way from the plant to the warehouse to the patient, but it is also a problem with the patients. Many fail to keep their medications properly. “To address this issue, Vodafone has worked with a company called AntTail to attach small sensors to drug packs that monitor temperature, motion, and light. Integrated into the sensor is a global Vodafone SIM card, which connects to the carrier’s network.

In a slightly different application, a company called BlueMetal was commissioned by Weka Health Solutions to build a portable refrigerator that could be used to deliver vaccinations. The unit, which feeds the data into a dashboard application, uses more than 40 sensors to send telemetry. “There is a pressing worldwide demand for the distribution of modernized vaccines worldwide to keep vaccines fresh, safe and taken into account,” said Alan Lowenstein, head of Weka Health Solutions, describing how the refrigerator helps ” improving patient safety and overall improvements in supply chain production “. BlueMetal has won the 2016 Microsoft IoT Worldwide Partner of the Year Award for its efforts.

Speaking of Microsoft, another major actor in healthcare technology activation, HealthVault the software company serves as a platform for both businesses and consumers to share data generated by electronic health records, devices and aggregate information available to health service providers. Physicians can use the tool to send encrypted information to patients and patients can download information from third-party applications and make them available to their physician.

Toward 5G

In a recent report by Ericsson Consumer Labs entitled “From Health to Home Care: The 5G Key Role in Healthcare Transformation“, the research group of the Swedish network infrastructure provider, based on the results of the survey, concludes that patients want to take control of access and quality of healthcare through telemedicine, mobile applications, and portable IoT devices. Ericsson researchers suggest that 5G will be needed to support massive machine-type communications and applications with different data requirements. “For example,” write the authors, “in remote health monitoring, portable devices – such as heart monitors and glucose monitors, require high-frequency updates from the central data repository to low the existing networks cannot provide the desired quality of support while connecting a large number of these devices. ”

Ericsson recently signed a large multi-stakeholder agreement with leading pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, a subsidiary of China Mobile, and Wuxi National Hi-Tech District, a state-sponsored industrial area in Wuxi, China, to foster innovation and investment. According to Ericsson, the medical equipment will be connected using a Narrow Internet (New-IoT) technology, a standardized LTE technology in 3GPP version 13. The goal is to test integration, certification, and management of equipment. Ericsson’s Leif Johansson said, “The strategic partnership demonstrates how government and industry can work together to create an innovation ecosystem for the Chinese healthcare industry. We expect that AstraZeneca and Ericsson will play a greater role in promoting the development of IOT for healthcare in China. ”

Another interesting conclusion of the Ericsson report is: “Physicians will become scientific data and data security will become paramount.” Let’s take these one at a time. Security is almost universally superior to the mind when considering an IoT implementation – if any, conversation at the Mobile World Congress this year. But with respect to the medical industry and the range of privacy considerations and the requirements to which healthcare providers must adhere, the importance of end-to-end safety is reaffirmed. As part of a search to secure IoT in a healthcare environment, security engineer Michael Ash, an associated risk and compliance partner for IBM‘s security strategy, suggests a three-pronged approach:

  • Draws on a consortium approach to develop best practices, such as the Alliance for Confidence in Health Information, which published a Common Safety Framework for Health Care Safety at the era of the IOT.
  • Training for hospital work on IoT safety, especially in view of BYOD trends.
  • Consider “creating a completely separate subnet, just for IoT devices.” In the event of a security breach, this subnet and the peripherals therein can be effectively isolated from the rest of the network infrastructure, thus limiting access and damage to other hospital systems.

Doctors as researchers of data

The question here is a bit abstract, but to get an idea, I asked a medical friend his opinion on diagnostics based on an automated analysis of patient data. “The problem for me is the responsibility. If at the end of the day I am legally responsible for the outcomes of my patients, I will not give up my professional autonomy to the science of data.”

But there is also optimism, even if a healthcare professional expects a gradual adoption to give birth to a new type of medical worker and a new method of interaction with the patient. In information on health research, Dimiter V Dimitrov, MD, PhD, suggests that the IOT and important data in health care will create ‘personalized preventive health trainers’. These workers will have the skills and the ability to interpret and understand health and wellness data. They will help their clients avoid chronic diet-related diseases, improve cognitive function, improve mental health and improve overall lifestyles. As the world’s population ages, these roles will become increasingly important. ”

Dimitrov also identifies the challenges of adopting IOT in health care, starting at the most basic level – connectivity. From there, it describes the need for easy management of peripherals; APIs that streamline aggregation of data across cloud services from various sources and platforms; analytical analysis; and reduces risk based on the ability to “act on notifications and isolate incidents generated throughout the enterprise environment from a single console.”

He suggests a proactive approach to IoT, which he considers inevitable. “Proper training and feedback are required for better deployment. The traditional method of recording patient details, i.e., a paper package hanging on the patient’s bed, will no longer work because such records are only accessible to a few, and can be lost or scrambled. Information on health data will be available in one go when the information will be recorded electronically, once the security and confidentiality will be respected.”