IoT Medical for Hospitals
Hospitals can use iot beacons to broadcast information and automatically record patients’ registration information when they enter the hospital, avoiding long queues.
The internet of things is meant to make life easier in any industry it is applied to. The goal is to ease the burden while also streamlining complex processes. Medical IoT solutions do this in a number of ways while presenting the following general advantages：
Hospitals can use iot beacons to broadcast information and automatically record patients’ registration information when they enter the hospital, avoiding long queues.
Classified the medical appliances and integrate them with beacon can track the location quickly, it’s very useful especially in emergency situation.
Iot beacons can monitor a physicians’ location so that tasks can be assigned to those who are nearer to the ward. And the contact tracing solution can also keep them in safe distance during Covid-19.
The IoT medical devices could be useful at maintaining environmental conditions around sensitive areas, such as the pharmacy, which needs to be kept at a specific temperature.
IoT medical refers to the use of IoT devices to deliver health services. It is hinged upon a wide variety of technologies, from apps and sensors to AI and machine learning that provide life-altering adjustments to conventional medical practices. It has turned IoT based medical projects that seemed like a pipe dream into a reality, including advanced diagnostics, real-time patient monitoring, robotic surgery, and remote health monitoring, among others.
It has also made facilitating healthcare easier by placing smart devices into the hands of the consumer, empowering them to self-monitor their health and report whenever they notice anything wrong. Most importantly, it has been a huge building block for telemedicine, especially when there are restrictions to in-person, like during a pandemic.
There has been an ongoing healthcare Internet of Things revolution all over the world since 2009. This started when the US created the HITECH Act that encouraged integrating electronic health records and complementing technology into the health sector. Since then, there has been a lot of traction in the IoT medical market, with so many IT companies diving in, seeking to dominate or at least get a small share from the pie. 9 years down the line, in 2017, the value of IoT medical devices present in the healthcare market was $56.1 billion, which grew to $267.6 billion in 2023. The figures will only get bigger for it’s projected that by 2023, this is because the market size is expanding at a growth rate of 30.2% during 2018-2023, which is in turn propelled by the increasing demand for IoT networks in hospitals and other healthcare institutions. The Internet of Medical Things examples includes remote monitoring, real-time data transmission, among many others.
Here are some of the top report highlights in the healthcare market:
1.Back in 2018, healthcare services produced the highest revenue. This is because there was a lot of demand for reliable decision-making, real-time data sharing, and a cohesive interaction between IoT devices in medical field and people.
2.Hospitals and clinics increased their investments to purchase modern technology for their medical operation, earning them more revenue in 2018.
3.The future is bright for North America since their market is expected to be the largest worldwide due to their high adoption of modern medical IoT solutions.
4.The Asia Pacific is highly investing in IoT projects in medical field to produce their pharmaceuticals and medical devices. For this reason, their compound annual growth rate is expected to shoot high than any other region in the world.
5.Major Internet of Medical Things companies in this space include Biotronik, Koninklijke Philips N.V., Boston Scientific, Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA, among others.
The IoMT industry is projected to be worth $142 billion by 2026, and it isn’t hard to see why. For starters, the IoT industry offers instrumental benefits in medicine, including seamless transfer of EHR, enhancing patient safety, reducing medical errors, and enabling patient-centric care delivery. With supporting technologies like 5G gaining widespread adoption, the sky’s the limit for this industry.
Market drivers some of the key drivers for the IoMT space include:
Internet of things in medical field is meant to improve treatment outcomes for patients while streamlining workflow. Here’s the standard procedure:
1.Step 1: the deployment of interconnected devices. These are devices that collect data, such as monitors, actuators, cameras, and medical sensors IoT.
2.Step 2: the data collected by these devices is done so in an analog format. Here, you need aggregate and convert this data into a digital format to proceed further.
3.Step 3: the digital data is pre-processed and standardized before being moved to the cloud or a data center.
4.Step 4: the digital data is monitored, analyzed to prove it’s edibility. Once advanced analytics is applied to it, insights can be drawn from the data.
When assessed from a security-conscious lens, IoMT is a double-edged sword. While it has advanced the medical industry in diverse ways, it brings security concerns. The fact that IoT medical devices share health records makes them a prime target for hackers. In the wrong hands, this personal data could easily be used for malicious activities, from identity theft to blackmail. Here are a few valuable statistics to paint the security posture of the IoMT industry better:
• Personal health information (PHI) is 50 times more valuable than financial data in the black market.
• The number of cyber-attacks targeting healthcare rose by 55% in 2020.
• 82% of healthcare organizations have had their IoT devices as targets of cyber-attacks.
• 73% of healthcare organizations are ill-prepared for cyber-attacks.
There are already security and privacy regulations that healthcare organizations have to adhere to that are meant to protect PHI. Some of these regulations include HIPAA, HITECH, FDA, and NHS. With the addition of regulations like the GDPR in the EU and the CCPA in the US, healthcare organizations have almost enough guidance on how to keep health data safe.
The only downside with these regulations is that they don’t revolve at the same pace as hackers do. Hackers are constantly seeking new ways to unleash chaos in the healthcare industry, and some of these new ways might only be loosely stopped by the recommendations in these standards. This means that healthcare organizations ought to only use the standards as the bare minimum requirement while looking for better ways to beef up their security.
1.Outdated operating systems
Some IoT devices in medical field might use outdated operating systems that were not designed for the 21st century. This increases the number of vulnerabilities an organization has.
Using a single network for IoT in medical sector makes it convenient for physicians to access each device with ease. The downside is that a hacker can have control over every device once they comprise the network.
In some cases, healthcare organizations use old equipment that runs on ill-updated software. This means that if there were any security vulnerabilities that had been patched, hackers could still use them against the organization.
However, with the right measures, all these issues can be solved. At the very least, healthcare organizations should:
• Encrypt any platform, device, network, or server that contacts PHI
• Use network segmentation to protect the organization’s IT infrastructure
• Implement a solid device and software update process
• Offer the end-user clear and security-conscious instructions on how to use devices
• Implement strong access control measure to prevent data breaches
Embracing IoMT is a balancing act. Physicians need to ensure that they are enjoying every perk the technology provides without the downsides. Unfortunately, some risks are inevitable. The more advanced the technology gets, the riskier it becomes. Since the health industry is meant to save lives, these risks need to be kept at a minimum as any risk can result in a life and death situation. Here are some of the risks presented by IoMT:
IoMT devices have to be tested constantly for uptime and functionality. An IoT device that has flaws could easily lead to injury. While some injuries might be minor, others could be adverse. That's why the internet of things medical companies need to keep tabs on how well their devices function.
Besides putting the patient in harm's way, ill-functioning devices could easily result in a lawsuit. For instance, a physician offers a smart pill to a patient with memory impairment to monitor their consistency when taking a drug. If the smart pill fails to submit the data in time, resulting in expensive surgery for the patient, they could easily sue the device manufacturer.
The security threat posed by IoMT devices depends on the manufacturer's and end-user's security measures. Failure to comply with regulatory requirements could make devices vulnerable to security breaches. However, even if the manufacturer does everything to keep the device secure - encryption, patch management, and the whole nine yards - the security of the devices can still be compromised at the side of the user.
Your Internet of Medical Things security structure is only as strong as the weakest point. For instance, many medical facilities might not have invested heavily in IT staff members, who can help schedule device updates, monitor threats, and oversee the successful deployment of IoMT devices.
The typical workflow for these devices follows four distinct levels:
The user keys in the details about their symptoms through the embedded IoT medical device’s touchscreen interface. They will also need to provide personal information like their contact details, age, and name. This info will be useful during diagnosis.
2.Symptom analysis and diagnosis
The device will then assess the symptoms provided by the user while comparing it to the pre-loaded symptom file. It will then perform tests that are suggested in the symptom file in case the symptoms don’t fully match with the data in the file. Since the devices are equipped with sensors, they can conduct these tests independently.
In case there isn’t a clear diagnosis, the device will notify the doctor. Upon conducting their independent assessment, the doctor will offer a diagnosis to the patient and update the device accordingly.
3.Providing a medical prescription
Once a proper diagnosis is established, the device will offer a treatment solution by assessing the pre-loaded prescription file.
The device stores the user’s data in a cloud database, which can be used for future analysis.
While both terms are related, there is some disparity in the use of general IoT and IoT in medical field. IoMT was valued at $45 million in 2018 and is projected to be worth $254 million in 2026. On the other hand, while IoT devices were valued at $100 billion in 2017, their projected value could stand at $1.6 trillion by 2025.
Internet of things medical devices have helped hospitals become more strategic. They are mostly used to maintain health records and monitor patients. On the other hand, IoT devices have a wider spectrum of use depending on the industry, from controlling temperature in factories to supporting smart home technology.
However, IoMT devices are ahead of the general IoT industry security-wise. The fact that lives are at stake leaves little to no room for error security-wise. State-of-the-art devices come integrated with internal segmentation, endpoint security, real-time monitoring capabilities, and better policies to authenticate the users.
IoMT devices will eventually lead to the formation of smart hospitals. These are healthcare facilities that have automation at their core. Everything will be streamlined and digitized, from disease diagnosis to inventory management.
The good thing is that new supporting technologies are also coming up, such as 5G, VR, and AR, which could all widen the use scenarios for IoMT devices. However, one thing that manufacturers have to work on is the standardization of the industry. Having interoperable devices will propel the widespread adoption of IoMT devices. When combined with strong security architectures, there is no limit to the heights this technology can reach.
COVID-19 has driven the adoption of IoMT devices on a large scale. Worldwide health systems have been extremely taxed by the pandemic during their lifetime, leading to a shortage of beds and facilities to attend to patients. While the primary focus has been on coronavirus patients, other diseases are still at large. To maintain social distancing and curb the spread while attending to other patients, healthcare systems have had to embrace remote healthcare.
IoMT devices have been instrumental when it comes to delivering telemedicine services
On the other hand, sensor beacon with cold chain solution can track the humidity and temperature condition
When deployed correctly, IoMT devices can also reinforce social distancing protocols. A good example would be how the NBA used wearables to ensure athletes stay six feet apart in the Orlando Bubble. In other areas, the devices can be used to monitor the traffic density in shops and offices. If the number of people in a space exceeds the predetermined threshold, the IoMT devices will trigger an alarm that will close the building's doors, blocking more people from accessing the building
Among the most important IoT applications in medical field has been facilitating inventory management. In times of crisis, it is easy for resources to get depleted fast. However, resources like protective materials and drugs need to be constantly restocked to solve crisis quickly. IoMT devices, when combined with RFID technology, can monitor stock levels to limit stock-outs. Trackers can be installed around medical materials to facilitate this
As beneficial as IoMT is, its effectiveness is always contingent on the current network infrastructure. It can run on cellular networks, LPWAN, LAN/PAN, or Bluetooth, among other networks. While 4G has been a great accelerant for the development of IoT technology, 5G promises an even better boost in adoption.
It will facilitate faster data transfer and communication, which could further open up new ways to deploy IoMT. Here’s how 5G will boost IoMT deployment:
1.Facilitate quick data transfers
Some medical procedures require a lot of data to be transferred between two points. For instance, MRIs are large files, and it can take hours to send them over a low-bandwidth network. 5G could slash the time taken sending the same data by a huge portion. This means faster service delivery, saving more lives in the process.
Telemedicine is helpful in instances where in-person patient attendance is impossible. However, video-based consultations need a lot of bandwidth to facilitate, and 5G could make the whole process smooth.
3.Reliable, real-time patient monitoring
IoMT devices have been instrumental in monitoring patient health as well as identifying treatment options. When used right, it can help physicians be proactive in preventing diseases. 5G ensures uninterrupted and streamlined patient monitoring.
4.Promoting advancements in AI
IoT devices and AI have a mutual relationship. AI shapes the future of IoMT devices and can be used to collect data, analyze it, and provide valuable insights. With 5G, the growth and use of AI can be accelerated, further increasing the effectiveness of IoMT devices.
5.Supporting medical research
Technologies like AR and VR have been used sparingly in the health industry. They can provide suitable platforms for researching treatments in a non-invasive way. For instance, when combined with IoT devices, these technologies can be instrumental in simulating complex medical scenarios to identify possible solutions. With the kind of fast and reliable connectivity 5G offers, actualizing these use scenarios will be much easier.
Besides being used for IoT medical applications, IoT devices can be instrumental in all other industries. Any industry that could benefit from automation and real-time communication can embrace the technology. If you are looking for internet of things examples in the manufacturing industry, IoT can be used to track environmental factors like temperature and humidity on the factory floor.
In the agricultural industry, it could help power drones that facilitate land surveys. In general business, technologies like beacons that run on IoT can be used to deliver personalized services while also improving customer engagement and lead generation. However, the growing role of IoT is contingent on supporting technologies and the applied security architecture.
The future of IoMT devices is quite bright. With more technologies like 5G and VR receiving widespread adoption, who knows the limits to IoMT deployment? The only caveat is that the more advanced technology gets, the higher the number of security vulnerabilities that arise. The onus is on the key healthcare stakeholders to design every medical IoT solution with security in mind.