A typical health monitoring device monitors vital signs from various body systems, including heart rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels. Remote patient monitoring devices measure many vital parameters simultaneously and are often integrated into intensive care units and provide remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions. IoT in the healthcare industry provides continuous monitoring of a patient and can even warn of a potentially fatal condition before clinical staff can recognize it. Considering the responsibility level, the implementation of IoT for healthcare should be approached carefully with more control and adherence to the standards than anywhere. Understanding the difficulty of sorting out the information, we’ve collected the data on the main requirements for smart healthcare, IoT devices, and patient monitoring systems in this article for you.
Wireless Sensing Nodes
Wireless sensing networks are a crucial technology for the 21st century in general and especially in healthcare. These networks comprise sensors installed and computing modules that follow wireless communication protocols and perform data acquisition, processing, and fusion tasks. These nodes self-organize through a particular protocol to gather information about their environment. Besides, wireless sensor networks can be integrated with embedded systems to perform specific tasks.
Speaking about why we make such a huge accent on wireless connectivity here, we can say that widespread adoption of smart healthcare using IoT can only be real if not bound to one place with wires. Only wireless monitoring systems ensure remote patient monitoring and Always On connectivity. Wireless sensing nodes can be used to monitor patients’ vital signs and multiple conditions related. With a wireless approach, remote patient monitoring can be a reality.
Wireless sensing nodes for health monitoring devices need to be time synchronized as well to provide accurate data and relevant updates. In addition to being reliable, wireless medical sensors need to be able to coordinate their activities and perform collaborative work.
High Level of Security Protection
Implementation of IoT for healthcare requires a high level of security and protection of remote patient monitoring device. In health monitoring applications, wireless sensing networks have a unique security requirement due to dealing with patient health data. As these networks deal with sensitive patient data, strong cryptographic functions are essential to ensure that the data collection process is protected and will not be challenging. This will protect the patient’s privacy and prevent malicious attacks. However, such cryptography requires extensive computation. It is vital to select a cryptography system that requires minimal resources while ensuring secure communication.
Advanced Embedded Features
Nobody will be surprised by a common blood sugar meter or blood pressure monitor because even fitness bracelets available on the market now can monitor blood oxygen level, and a patient’s body temperature, and have an embedded patient’s pulse oximeter. These mass-market sensors can track the progress of the activities with pulse oximeters and remote physiologic monitoring functions but they are not medically certified.
So, the greatest requirement for an actual medical device is to be certified and reliable enough for medical professionals. Professional patient monitoring systems track patients’ vital signs, including high blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen levels, heart function, artery motion, and temperature. Some sensors also monitor blood flow, which can be crucial for patients with chronic heart disease or high blood pressure. Knowing blood flow, it is possible to predict and prevent congestive heart failure. When these dysfunctions are addressed in a timely manner, chronic diseases can be managed more effectively.
An implementation of IoT for healthcare can help track progress of treatment for patients with lung issues such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other respiratory diseases. TEKTELIC has a device for health status monitoring with a focus on respiratory chronic disease. TEKTELIC eDOCTOR is a perfect choice for monitoring a patient’s condition, accessing health risks, and having direct contact with a patient without a need for an in-person visit. eDOCTOR monitors the patient’s heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, and chest expansion, and has a cough/sneezing detector, and fall detection. This device guarantees effective home monitoring of a patient’s health data collected in real time and replaces both physical and virtual visits.
Some of the most promising sensors for health monitoring devices are non-invasive and flexible, which is advantageous for a variety of applications and contributes to cost-effectiveness. Wearable remote patient monitoring devices (RPM) are the most reliable as collected data updates constantly and allow medical specialists to react instantly if needed. For such purposes, the best are blood pressure monitors, blood sugar detectors, and or RPM devices comprising most vital signs monitors at once as eDOCTOR.
The benefits of IoT for healthcare are extensive and, combined with other health monitoring technologies, they help doctors and healthcare organizations improve patient care, reducing costs and giving valuable insight. IoT implementation in healthcare can even be used to track a patient’s weight gain remotely, which helps identify potential health issues.
Versatile Connectivity Options
Digital technologies are also becoming increasingly sophisticated and versatile, providing medical professionals with a wealth of information on a patient’s health. For example, an accelerometer embedded in a radio set can detect falls while simultaneously measuring a patient’s heart rate. This information provides valuable information on an individual’s cardiovascular physiology at the time of a fall. These wearable devices could transform healthcare and lead to major changes in the way our healthcare systems operate.
However, with versatile and diverse IoT trends in healthcare, raise the necessity to effectively interconnect monitoring systems. Many remote patient monitoring devices are not inclusive in terms of connection to third-party sensors and require creating a one-provider ecosystem. At the same time, it may be difficult and inconvenient for those health care institutions, which already have a certain scope of smart devices and don’t want to throw them away by buying new ones instead.
A good thing about TEKTELIC devices here is that we provide LoRaWAN connectivity regardless of the medical device manufacturer. KONA Micro IoT Gateway, for example, is an ideal connector between devices and end-user, which operates indoors and can support multiple monitoring systems at once keeping low levels of energy consumption. This gateway was designed keeping in mind the high requirements for health care. It has 4 hours of battery backup and allows for remote physiologic monitoring even if the main power source is shut down. For example, diabetes patients, those with kidney dysfunction, or those experiencing some medication effects needed to be monitored at all times, and power outages can pose a real danger to them. That is why battery backup, which KONA Micro IoT Gateway has, is so important for such patients to be on the safe side.
A successful RPM program has to be adaptable and be able to create an end-to end-solution with any device for remote physiologic monitoring systems.
Robust IT Infrastructure
IT infrastructure for health monitoring devices should be built with high availability and redundancy in mind. This will help healthcare organizations maximize the efficiency of their remote patient monitoring devices and ensure that data is always available no matter what the conditions are. In addition, healthcare organizations should consider different operating systems and patching schedules for their devices.
Addressing Big Data Volumes
IT infrastructure for health monitoring devices must be strong enough to handle the volume of patient monitoring data. This includes data analysis, data visualization, signal processing, and machine learning for each medical device. It must also be reliable and in good working order so that the device can deliver a high level of service to the patient. Further, it must be able to send alerts to healthcare services if the patient needs immediate assistance or if chronic conditions have aggravated.
Connecting Remote Patient Monitoring Systems
IT infrastructure monitoring is an essential part of IoT medical device management. A comprehensive monitoring system is required to keep tabs on the health and measure light wavelengths and performance of the devices that make up their network. With this technology, medical facilities can identify and address operational issues that can impact the productivity of their organization. Further, such a system will also flag unknown servers and applications that need attention.
Build Complex but Strong Hardware & Software
IT infrastructure for health monitoring devices is becoming more complex as healthcare organizations continue to add IoT devices. To reap the advantages of IoT in healthcare, organizations should invest in new hardware and upgrade their existing software. They also need to secure the data collected by patient monitoring systems. A solid IT infrastructure can help healthcare organizations improve the quality of patient care and minimize operational costs.
What is the Impact of IoT on Healthcare?
The first stage of remote patient monitoring began with video connections between doctors and patients. These connections allowed doctors to monitor the patient and offer real-time information. However, these connections were subjective and often based on observations. However, the next phase of remote monitoring involves providing continuous streams of patient data that are critical for making treatment decisions and handling emergencies. The Internet of Things (IoT), in turn, has allowed for comprehensive analysis of the patient.
Remote patient monitoring is a great option for hospitals and other healthcare institutions. It can reduce hospital visits and improve patient care. This approach is not only a great way to improve quality, but it can also improve access and decrease the total cost of care. Ultimately, remote patient monitoring will help improve patient care by reducing the risk of infection and preventing unnecessary exposure to infectious diseases. It will be especially helpful for the elderly, pregnant women, and patients with chronic illnesses. Furthermore, remote patient monitoring will decrease the number of emergency room visits, which means less work for hospital staff.
IoT infrastructure monitoring solutions can also help healthcare organizations monitor their network performance and identify bottlenecks. They can also provide a single view of the status of their network, servers, and devices. By automating this process, hospital teams can avoid addressing problems in a rush as they arise and free up resources for troubleshooting.
Challenges to Consider
With all the technological advancement, there are still several challenges needed to be addressed before turning to smart healthcare.
The cost of remote patient monitoring is largely dependent on the type of equipment and set-up service used. Some of these devices will have an onboard patient portal for the caregiver to upload vital signs and manage the patient’s care remotely. In addition, a physician can bill remote patient monitoring services for more than one clinical condition. For example, a patient suffering from congestive heart failure may require equipment and tablets to monitor medication adherence. This may require a way more advanced system than the one for regular monitoring.
However, if you need only to effectively monitor a patient’s condition and don’t need to involve any financial operations, you can choose a low-cost monitoring device and the cost will not be an issue at all.
Acceptance of New Technology
Moreover, RPM requires a shift in mindsets among the players in the healthcare ecosystem. In order to achieve this, product managers should engage in outside-the-box collaborations to develop new technologies and launch innovative solutions. Ultimately, a change in mindset is necessary to ensure remote patient monitoring’s success. At the same time, considering the increasing promotion of different blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and other monitoring systems, people should willingly accept this shift.
In addition to cost and infrastructure, other barriers include security concerns. Insecure video-call equipment, outdated antivirus software, and unknown malware pose security risks. In addition, certain browser add-ons may compromise patient privacy and security, leading to sensitive data leakage. Providing basic equipment to patients can help overcome these challenges, but it may not be an option for many patients. That is where LoRaWAN networks can become a way out. All the messages in LoRaWAN are encrypted while transferring and can be decrypted only with a paired gateway. So, using LoRa nodes for healthcare monitoring systems solves any security-related concerns.
Another major barrier is the availability of reliable broadband. Although Internet access is ubiquitous in urban areas, rural areas are less likely to have reliable connectivity. Further, many older people live in rural areas without broadband access. Without a reliable connection, the technology may not be reliable enough to provide accurate diagnoses. This could result in wrong prescriptions and potentially harmful treatment. Here, TEKTELIC devices stand out from others as well, as they support all the global bands and operate anywhere in the world globally.
Remote monitoring increases patient satisfaction and engagement. Patients will feel more empowered to take responsibility for their health by having access to their medical data right away from wearables and attachable monitors. Moreover, when they can access their data at any time, they are more likely to engage in discussions with their healthcare providers. By sending customized communications and content, remote patient monitoring can help patients understand their condition and get involved in their health care.
Remote patient monitoring has numerous advantages, including improved outcomes, reduced cost of care, and increased efficiency. It is an excellent way for doctors to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and save hospital resources. Hospitals are increasingly leveraging digital health tools in order to make their facilities more efficient. In the US, more than 100 hospitals have implemented the hospital-at-home program, which will increase their availability of beds (Resnick, 2021).
At the same time, the technology behind health monitoring devices has advanced tremendously in the past few years. Wireless systems and cloud computing technology have made them much more scalable and efficient. Together with such development rise, the requirements for a good medical device have increased as well. But they create a standard to follow and perform as a quality guarantee in some way.
TEKTELIC, in turn, is doing its best to comply with all quality requirements for the healthcare industry. If you want to discover any details on that or find out what other devices we offer, feel free to message our sales team.