5 Reasons the Challenges of Health Care IoT Are Worth It

By Kayla Matthews, HealthIT writer and technology enthusiast, Tech Blog
Twitter: @ProductiBytes

A lot of problems tend to arise when we start messing around with medical records. Many of these problems have to do with technological transitions and getting used to a better way of doing things.

In this case, by incorporating the IoT (or Internet of Things) with health care, one of the biggest problems becomes security. The IoT is connected to everything, so sharing such personal information and still wanting to keep it secret is possible but difficult — especially on a large scale.

However, there’s a lot of reward waiting for us on the other side. If we can tackle the challenges that come from integrating our health care sectors with the IoT, we’ll be able to take our health technology and knowledge to an entirely different level.

Saving lives and advancing our understanding is worth the trouble. Here are a few more specific reasons to get involved:

1. Remote Monitoring
In the age of technology, patients don’t have to be in a hospital or doctor’s office to receive a checkup. Now, with smart devices, we can monitor heart rates, blood pressure, sleep patterns and almost every other health factor right in our own home. Now you can even see a doctor right at home, too, thanks to telecommuting.

Whether you’re speaking to the doctor in real-time or just being constantly monitored, this can all be done while you go about your normal life.

2. Reduced Costs
Because you are not necessarily going to the hospital and using their equipment, you don’t have to be sidelined with an expensive medical bill. By using smart technology to monitor your health at home, care is improved, labor costs are decreased and you don’t have to worry about surprise bills in the future.

It’s not just the equipment you’re paying for, after all. Nurses, doctors, and just taking up a bed in a hospital can get expensive fast. Technology to find this information at home is much cheaper in the long run and becoming more useful all the time.

3. Medication Management
There are a lot of security and safety standards when it comes to pharmaceuticals. Sometimes even pharmacies themselves are difficult to trust. To keep a more honest and secure method than anything people manually put together, the IoT ensures compliance by keeping its own records.

Some hospitals are thinking about trying models that combine the Industrial Internet of Things with the Internet of Medical Things, effectively wrapping industry standards and health care needs together.

4. Connected Health Care and Research
As a sort of lead-up to remote monitoring, the IoT needs to know what to look for. This is done by adding gathered information to the IoT itself and spreading knowledge to anyone needing a quick peek. Back before the internet, doctors got to know problems on the other side of the world with books. Now, we can have instant access to everything through sharing our knowledge around the world, hopefully advancing our understanding of the human body and foreign diseases by incredible leaps and bounds.

5. Emergencies
Not everyone currently uses smart devices for their health that connects to the IoT. However, many people who already have to monitor their health for various reasons will be able to benefit if an emergency ever arises.

In the event of a medical emergency, providers can know that something’s wrong in real-time, and practically instantly. Response time can be shortened and more lives can be saved.

For older adults and people who live alone, technology like this is practically invaluable. Even before an emergency occurs, warning signs can be caught easily and sent to caregivers for review.

Better health monitoring can directly result in fewer emergencies altogether. And for those instances we still have trouble preventing, we can get help to patients faster than ever before.

What Is Health Care IoT Worth to You?
The challenges for health care IoT are steep, but there isn’t a person alive who doesn’t get sick or grow older. On a personal level, this technology is important to us all and can allow the human race to grow and flourish for centuries to come.

However, we can’t ignore the challenges and hope the technology “just works.” We have to fight through each of them to make everything as efficient as possible.

With blockchains, security and organization may never be a difficult hurdle again in any sector. Protocols may have to be changed, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be obeyed. In the end, the only problem that doesn’t have an immediate solution in mind is an overload of information.

We’re already on the way there, but this technology could make the overflow of information harder to manage.

Regardless, we’re constantly developing new things, from larger cloud storage to faster download speeds, that can help with this issue. Given the benefits, there’s little reason not to go further and fight the challenge head-on.