IoT In The Health Industry – The Pros And The Cons

With the world changing right before our eyes, there is a reason not only to update our cell phone but ourselves as well. The one term that is making headlines all over in the past couple of years has been IoT. So what is it, and how does it especially help us in the health care industry? Let’s find out…

What Is IoT?

IoT or Internet of Things, is definitely the next big thing that involves the internet. In the broadest sense of the term, IoT incorporates everything under the sun that is connected to the internet. What this helps in achieving is devices connected to the internet to “talk” to one another. Now as a terminator fanatic, you may say this is the perfect recipe for creating Skynet. But fret not, we’re far from that. So what are the implications of this? Imagine your fridge which is constantly keeping stock of your groceries finds that you are low on eggs. Now when you head down to the supermarket to shop next time, your fridge will update your shopping list that you can view on your phone and remind you to get a batch of eggs. How efficient is that?!

By combining the many IoT enabled devices with automated systems, it is possible to collect information regarding specific parameters, analyse and study it, and then finally conduct an action based on the findings. Now what if you needn’t even go to the supermarket and your fridge sends an order to have eggs delivered by the time you get home from work on a weekday? You will have free time on the weekends and there is no need to put yourself through the pain of going to the market. I hope you see the possibilities that the future of internet of things now holds…

So What About IoT In The Healthcare Industry?

There is a play on words when IoT is implemented in the healthcare field, and is called IoMT or Internet of Medical Things. Now that you got a sense of how IoT could help monitor the eggs in your fridge, you can come close to fathoming the effect it could have on the health industry! As a matter of fact IoMT is already being used, and is already on the journey to deliver better services and medical care to more people. With the power of IoMT, the place of care need not just be the four walls of the local hospital! Health care is accessible when you want it! But is the picture painted as rosy as it seems? Let us look at it from both sides…

The Pros

IoMT can be implemented in wearable technology such as wrist bands that can give real-time feedback such heart rate and can alert those who are experiencing atrial fibrillations. Hell even wearable ECG monitors are available for doctors to wear, that will send electrocardiogram readings of the patient.

  • Perfect For Caregivers

IoMT can be a boon for those who are caregivers to parents and don’t live nearby or have a hectic work schedule. It helps them set appointments and keep a watch over the process.

  • Helps Save Life And Your Wallet

There are those who have chronic illnesses and have to bear with high costs due to the medical care. This cost comes in the form of rehospitalisation, time off work and to travel to and from the hospital. This takes not only a physical but a mental toll as well. Having IoMT technology helps bring the care to the patients. They can remotely check-in with the doctor, ask any question pertaining to their condition, and conduct simple tests that doesn’t require them to be physically at the hospital/clinic.

  • Helps Keep An Eye On Them

IoMT helps keep a watchful eye on the patient. Caregivers or family can now see if they miss a dosage, or require a refill with connected caps of medicine bottles. The connected device can then send an alert, notifying them of the shortage.

Pros Cons
Perfect for caregivers Secure but not safe
Helps reduce expenses Privacy
Helps with compliance Could be a health hazard

The Cons

  • Secure Is Not Always Safe

New aspects of the IoMT technology involve ingestible pill that include connected devices. This has been tried on a controlled group of cancer patients. The chemotherapy pill will allow for a third party such as a doctor to see if the patients don’t miss their dose and that they take their medicine when they’re supposed to. The problem lies when others can hack and pull out the information broadcasted by the connected devices. This brings us to the next point…

  • Privacy

What if somebody can use the information against you? What if there is an important figure or personality that is making use of this IoMT technology, and an ill-wisher somehow manages to get their hands on the information relating to their health? Or, what if the data from the device is erased or changed? What happens if the device malfunctions endangering the patient?

  • Could Be A Health Hazard

Connected devices can malfunction, fatally harming the user. This would be a law suit that any manufacturer of IoMT enabled devices would not want to be a part of.

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