Let me bring this scenario into light: You visit your doctor, who captures how you are feeling that time through your implanted sensors. The information is then uploaded to a secure blockchain of your medical history which can be accessed by doctors in real time. The information also helps in creating a digital picture of your body as well as discovers how it would respond to specific medicines.
It may look like a Hollywood movie scene, but it’s now not too far off from the reality. Medical science has made enough progress in medicines.
But it’s still not easy to quickly diagnose a patient and put him or her on medication. Diagnoses of medical conditions still suffer from several hurdles. Also, today’s modern technology used for diagnoses of medical conditions provides limited information.
Tools like X-rays, MRIs, ultrasound and others are available for so long but one major limitation is yet unchanged – a diagnose analysis can only be performed successfully if the patient and doctors are together and symptoms present. It’s a big challenge that has been existing for more than 4000 years when the Edwin Smith Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian medical text written.
But some interesting changes are ahead! Challenges in medicine are now finally being addressed with IoT (Internet of Things). Fundamentally, IoT is totally based on digital data which is generated by physical devices and then the data is used to perform healthcare operations.
Same is the case with medicines. With IoT enabled sensors, doctors are able to see how patients are doing not only when they are in the doctors’ office but also when they are at work or at home, doing workouts and performing other activities. These sensors keep collecting information which helps doctors learn about variations in intervals and then diagnose a timely treatment for an illness.
Take the example of a cancer patient who needs the careful monitoring of his weight. Controlled weight helps the patient stay healthy during the chemotherapy treatment. But there is no accurate indicator to report variations in the weight. Slight weight gain or loss is a normal fluctuation, but if a patient experience significant weight-loss or weight-gain after the therapy, it may affect his or her ability to survive with the treatment.
Maybe doctors detect variations in weight too lately to address an issue. But sensors can record minute’s details and same can transmit the same in real time to doctors who can keep tap on the data and suggest better amount nutrition. Sensors can suggest adjustments in a treatment plan to avoid a problem.
The combination of sensors and IoT can also help in maintaining a measurement repository required for other health conditions. In result, analyzing an in-progress disease or identifying a developing a disease will also be easier with the repository.
However, it’s not easy to develop an application tracking and keeping records of patients, their history, and required equipment.
What IoT means for those who rely on medicines to stay healthy.
Patients relying on IoT will require less time for visiting doctors and have more time to do their routine work. They will not need going for a variety of tests again and over again as sensors will keep tabs on changes. They will need to visit their doctors only when they need an adjustment their treatments. Of course, this will also be suggested by IoT.
What IoT means for medical companies
Companies working on IoT solutions for healthcare experience a number challenges, such as:
Data security and privacy
A patient may have to suffer a lot because of an unwanted revelation of his medical history. As we know, the medical & health data is personal to patients, their doctors. No one else excepting patient and doctors is supposed to have the access to medical information/ data of a patient.
Believe it or not, the personal health information (PHI) is 10 times more valuable than credit card data, but on the contrary, it’s 100 times easier to get the hold of it. Hackers know this weakness of currently used systems that are taking care of health data. The PHI about patients contains vital information such as age, gender, address, social security number, insurance coverage and medical history. This data can be used by hackers to make fake IDs which they can use to buy drugs and forged insurances claims.
IoT solutions for healthcare must be protected from external breaches by safeguarding the data from any sort of lost, theft and wanted exposure. These challenges can be solved with the blockchain which offers safe and secure storage to certain data type data and allow users to share information without considering about any risks.
Working with the right stakeholders
Healthcare, being one the largest industries all over the world, is participate by different stakeholders like hospitals, doctors, insurers, medicine and medical device companies. There are many players involved even a simplest transaction and eve patients do not know about it. The success of a system depends on reliable stakeholders who work together towards achieving a single goal.