Impact of IoT on Life Sciences and Health Care

Impact of IoT on Life Sciences and Health Care

Everyone is talking about Internet of Things (IoT) and all its promises to the businesses and consumers, from marketers to IT professionals.

As you guessed it right, health care providers have still lagged behind other industries in adopting IoT innovations and to use available customer data to decision making. Though it is true that the required shift is slowly taking place. Let’s take some time to explore the possibilities in IoT over healthcare industry.

  1. Efficiency and Cost: In the healthcare provider space, leveraging technological advances from remote healthcare monitoring is becoming immensely possible . It is feasible to measure a patient’s medical condition in real time and share this information with the doctors with greater efficiency. In industries like healthcare and life sciences, IoT can potentially help bring down costs across the system. To give you one use case, the bar code on every soda can when scanned can provide info ASAP and it is made visible to the makers. Cool right? The most important thing is that IoT gets the visibility for healthcare. There are several reasons to take this move further. As perthis report of U.S Healthcare given by Goldman, Sachs & Co , the “digital revolution” using IoT can save over $300 billion in healthcare. This is massive if achieved. But how will that be broken down? Imagine more sensor devices will be involved which would mean more patient monitoring for chronic issues. This will make sure better and large scale remote patient monitoring which will bring down checkups and unnecessary appointments. This will also take their role in cost reduction.
  2. Products data: If you look inside the big pharmaceutical companies, the amount of obsolescence within these organisations is beyond imagination. Their inventory is massive. To manage it, one need to make major changes and move healthcare industry of other industries. IoT promises to provide trail regulators to get more real time view of the patient experience and collect data.
  3. Effective care: IoT-enabled devices can provide remote data from equipment like fetal monitors and electrocardiographs, among others. The information about temperatures, heart rates, and glucose levels can be automatically transmitted in real time with the help of wearable devices. This helps hospitals operate more efficiently and patients receive better care. All this required important data can help monitor patient’s sleep and exercise patterns and even lead to determine their percentage risk for heart attack or stroke
  4. Empowering patients: Imagine the days when you are allowed to get expert medical advice without going to the doctor? There could be some sensors which are connected using Telehealth (Telehealth is the delivery of healthcare treatment and information through telecommunications technologies. At its most advanced level, this could theoretically allow surgeons to perform surgeries remotely) which can let actual doctor access without the waiting rooms. This integration could also be useful when it comes to behavior modification, as providers would have new tools to use when encouraging healthier lifestyles for patients

Here are a few key challenges facing this union:

  • Data Security: Security is a huge topic of discussion for using IoT for healthcare and life sciences domain. If the number of Internet-connected devices are increased, which is the expected, the number of entry points into data systems will also be increased. These data systems consist of sensitive patient healthcare and financial information which are very lucrative for cyber-attackers. I think that this is the major reason why healthcare is lagging behind other industries in terms of IoT. The Healthcare organizations absolutely must have security at top of mind to look ahead to the IoT.
  • Mobile hesitation: IoT involves mobile devices on majority but what (or whom) they’re connected to still counts for something. If there is provider hesitation or confusion during any part of the patient data-handling process, care could suffer or breaches could occur. Some health IT departments and physicians have struggled to handle all that data coming in. Given the mobile, BYOD healthcare culture, substantial data handling training is requiredthroughout an organization, not just at the top.
  • Vendor Consistency: Can you tell me what are the communication standards and protocols for all these new medical wearables and other IoT-ready devices? No? It is problem. The different medical device vendors have not agreed on them yet. Inside a particular hospital, different vendor medical devices are used which are raising questions of propriety and consistency

I would like to quote here one research done by MIT fellow to replace bandage with an electronic bandage which can heal bounds mush faster. You can get more details about this research from here.

This article covered the possibilities and challenges of using IoT in healthcare. As this is vast domain, there are numerous steps already taken using IoT in healthcare. These would be part of the next article on this topic as per plan.

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How does IoT matter to you?

How does IoT matter to you?

This post must have grabbed your attention because you are aware about IoT and why it is one of the major investment hub in the today’s market. You might have read many articles about IoT, how it works, what are the different technologies, components that are involved in the complete IoT system. This post is more from a consumer perspective rather than a developer.

The concept of IoT for a consumer is absolutely fascinating. It is obviously more fun when someone else is doing all of our work when we take rest. That’s more like a aim for IoT system. People like to give orders and get their work done in style, but the icing on the cake is when you don’t give any order but work is done. Sounds exciting, right?

Mobile has become most important and quick interface for ubiquitous computing for consumers. It is not limited to SMS, e-mail, surfing and apps but serves as the socket to the consumer IoT needs.

The consumer expects that everything around him should work for him over a single click of a button. To serve this command, it is essential that all objects must be smart objects. The expectation is not hypothetical but true. There are various different sensors present in the market which can allow users to do anything using one click. The smart objects need some extra chip which can help send and receive command/data to the consumer. The objects can be anything like windows, doors, curtains, watches, televisions, automobiles, coffee maker, health monitors, thermostats, security systems, LCD, AC, plug, pantry and household products etc. This list can go on and on as there are plenty objects around us, signifies the vast investment already done in IoT.

For example, I have a button sensor of a particular vendor. I click on this button sensor to off my dinning room lights and also stop camera recording. This can be achieved by creating rules using IFTTT concept.

Some of the example could be a consumer wants his smart alarm clock to wake him up at 6 am and commands coffee maker to brew coffee. Some person would like his car to be smart enough to identify problem in car components and tell the customer service on our behalf so that they can serve him better and faster.   Some enthusiastic gym person would want his wearable device like smart watch or smart band to inform about the calories burnt in the entire day at night time so that he can plan activities for the next day. Some of your colleague would want to paint can knowing it’s nearly empty or your car recognizing when you are going to the hardware store to buy another. As already said, there are n number of use cases and applications involved in IoT system.

Though I don’t have any smart devices installed at home except my smart watch,  I have read many articles of people mentioning about their experience for their installed connected devices at home and it is worth to reconsider the goals of IoT industry. Most of the people believe that security has utmost importance as most of the data involved is private. If the system is secure, more people prefer it.

They want to automate everything that they do or should happen repeatedly most of the days. The example could be that they should be able to remotely turn on a light while sitting on the couch. Lights should turn get dim automatically during evening time. This depends on the various light modes available to the user and he has selected one by default for the best case.  Some consumer need application to ask for permission before dimming the lights. The use cases differ for person to person.

Image a house combined with Google Now. It is all about home as a platform. Imagine a water sensor in a bathtub and that links to a radio or light plugged into a connected wall socket so when water splashes outside the tub, immediate feedback can be generated to tone it down. This might be the custom use case and may not be included in the offered home automation packages currently.

As there is no limit to the innovation in IoT and lot of creativity can be achieved in connected homes. The services like IFTTT (i.e. Rules and Recipes) to drive the automation stuff have great appeal. Consumers need app connecting home to be easier, rather than too much too much configurable. The key is minimum click, maximum automation output with easier process.

Also, I have seen that people don’t prefer smart objects of different vendors. This can lead to managing them using different apps and can be painful in management. It’s also why hardware vendors like Nest or Samsung are trying to push smart products into the user’s home where the more devices from that same vendor you buy, the better experience you have. But I don’t think consumers buy devices that way, and it also ignores the idea that the real value in the connected home are actually the services.

But when it comes to the smart home, this race to appreciate the customer is the defining drama of this market. I think that it will shake out in the next year as more and more people will purchase connected products would want to automate many things than just turning on the lights from couch. I expect biggies like Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft and Google will release their products soon in the market for IoT as they have already release many IoT frameworks for the developers. Lot more exciting stuff is going to come soon.