This article is an overview of the potentials and risk of using IoT in the healthcare and medical fields. Opportunities include elderly patient monitoring, increased access for rural patients and increases in time efficiency for medical professionals and data collection. Risks include cybersecurity threats, energy brownouts and HIPAA compliance.
IoT in Healthcare-Speculations of how flashy technological innovations like big data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will affect the field of healthcare are at an all-time high. Separating hype from reality can give an indicator of where these fields are actually headed and how they might have the ability to change the face of healthcare forever.
IoT in healthcare has long been one of those technological innovations that seems like it could truly affect an entire field. For those unfamiliar with the Internet of Things in general, think of it more as the Internet of Everything. IoT devices are simply pieces of technology that have been connected to the internet with the purpose of sending, receiving or collecting information to enhance usability.
Mobile phones are perhaps the most well known IoT innovations. Cell phones used to be explicitly for telecommunications, with little to no internet connections. Enter the smartphone, which now allows everyday people to access an entire world of information on a whim. Enter fitness devices like a heart rate monitor used to function independently of any internet capability, but now can be synced to computers and phones to gain better insights into performance during a workout.
How Is IoT Being Used in Healthcare?
Healthcare based applications of this technology are aiming to expand on doctors’ ability to treat patients with quick and personalized care. This subset of IoT technology is known as the Internet of Medical Things, or IoMT. Data collection and collation have always been hurdles for the medical field and having machines in charge of this task, rather than fallible humans, could prove to be a big step for new cures and better care.
Even the long-standing issue of having too much data to sort through and no singular place to collect it all could be solved with smart IoMT devices that store and tag data correctly. Earmarking relevant data for analysis by humans or AI devices may be the breakthrough that the medical field needs to make sense of all its quantities of information. Diseases that have repelled a fool-proof cure may have finally met their match, too.