IoT Enabled Deep Data and Data Analytics
Better preventative care and remote monitoring is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of IoT integration within medical devices. Deep data and data analytics also provide an opportunity for IoT to positively impact the medical device industry. At the moment, extracting data from a medical device is a daunting process. It either has to be integrated into the electronic health record, or be network-enabled, as it cannot push data to health providers. If IoT devices are designed to constantly push data, it can be stored and analyzed to look at anomalies, averages, and a variety of different metrics in order to make well-informed decisions.
However, with the constant transmission and compilation of data, there is a high chance of hoarding data that is not necessarily useful. The key challenge is to determine what data is relevant, how long to store it, and what data can be deleted. Otherwise, efficiency is compromised as an infinite pile of data is analyzed when only a small portion is useful. This is a very real challenge that will have to be addressed in order to preserve the efficacy of IoT connected devices.
IoT devices can also improve data analytics through their accuracy, speed, and plethora of transferable information. In population health improvement, healthcare leaders such as health administrators, insurers, consultants, and/or academics collect the data for a particular population that they analyze to determine what the averages are and how they can improve the averages of that patient population. The key point is that data must be aggregated. With IoT devices, data will be forwarded automatically, making it more accessible and accelerating analysis and results. Providers will increasingly look to analytics to provide predictive and prescriptive capabilities.
Data analytics would be achieved by devices and software. Medtronic developed a wearable medical device that can send glucose level alerts up to 30 minutes ahead. In this example, the pump delivers tiny drops of insulin in accordance to the body’s needs, and can be temporarily altered around daily activities. It incorporates a continuous glucose monitoring system where the user can get readings every five minutes, straight to the pump. Throughout the day, glucose levels can be automatically tracked, including the effects of food or exercise, to provide a more complete picture. The testing of glucose levels and insulin distribution can be done simultaneously with the constant communication of data throughout the device. IoT can be a key contributor once it is integrated. This information can be transmitted to the diabetic’s doctor for remote monitoring and eliminate the need for constant checkups. Medical device companies will see a better approach to serving consumer markets by aggregating and interpreting the often massive amounts of data acquired via IoT devices.
IoT and Critical Care Response
Traditionally, critical care response is most effective within a hospital where nurses are alerted via medical devices to help patients in distress. However, once a patient leaves the hospital, this type of immediate feedback is no longer available. IoT devices will allow data to be transmitted to a remote location monitored by healthcare professionals who can expertly analyze the data. Taking it further, machine intelligence and algorithms can be utilized to autodetect anomalies, enabling data to be transmitted to the appropriate individual for a response. Knowledge of the patient’s background and medical history would be readily available, and the critical care response can be tailored to the patient’s needs.
One of the key issues of critical care response is the lack of information received by the critical response team in the event of an emergency. When 911 is dialed, an EMT arrives and attempts to care for the patient with no prior knowledge of the person. Most of the information they receive is what they are able to gain from family members or the individual. There is no data on medication used by the patient or the presence of chronic illness. If an IoT system is implemented, the device can send an alert and inform the EMT about the patient (e.g. chronic illnesses, allergies, medications, and/or medical complications) so they can respond faster and more accurately. This will also drive costs down, because it will enable the patient to be cared for faster while also minimizing complications.
A reduction in complications can result in early hospital release and a decrease in hospital fees. For example, eCall is a vehicle emergency call system that recognizes when a car has been in a collision, and with IoT, eCall can actually calculate the severity and communicate the location of the accident and direction of travel. This information is automatically sent to the appropriate emergency services. Once IoT is involved, individual health records can be communicated through this system, leading to a faster, better, and a more prepared response.
Enabling Cost-Effectiveness with IoT
Cost-effectiveness can be achieved in a variety of ways with IoT connected medical devices. By shifting from a reactive healthcare industry to a preventative one, medical fees can decrease substantially. According to a 2015 U.S. Census Bureau Statistic Brain Research Institute report, patient care took over 64 percent of the healthcare industry, generating annual revenue of $1.068 trillion. Cutting down the cost is not only a benefit from IoT connected devices, but is mandatory.
There are two aspects of cost-savings for IoT. The first is due to the reduction in complications due to faster treatment because EMTs have better knowledge of the patient. The second aspect is due to the patient being released from the hospital faster because data is transmitted in real time, which enables patients to use a less-expensive facility for long-term care. While improving the healthcare industry with a better system to save lives, cost-effectiveness is an all-encompassing end result for the integration of IoT within medical devices.
How IoT Will Disrupt Healthcare
With the advent of IoT connectivity, the opportunities for medical device manufacturers are endless. The automatic transmission of medically relevant data through IoT connected devices will revolutionize the healthcare industry and the way data is analyzed. Doctors and physicians will be able to assist their patients faster and more accurately with the instant sharing of data.
With IoT enabled devices, there can finally be a shift from a reactive healthcare system to a preventative one, where illnesses will not only be better treated, but will also be avoidable. Elderly patients will be able to stay home alone with their IoT connected monitors, and both physicians and patients will have complete access to medical information. Additionally, critical response personnel will be able to handle emergency situations more effectively, resulting in a faster, better, and more affordable healthcare industry.
This article was written by Waqaas Al-Siddiq, CEO and Founder of biotricity Inc., Redwood City, CA. For more information, visit http://info.hotims.com/61066-160.