The Internet of Things in the medical device industry is increasingly being recognized by analysts as one of the technological eras where health, wellness and safety of billions of people of all ages can be improved having a positive impact in the world.
These manufacturers can capitalize these opportunities with the right strategies, selecting the right partners, and delivering the right capabilities to market with speed. Mobile platforms and accompanying sensor-based connected devices offer the promise of unprecedented levels of information, access, and feedback.
Internet of Things component in the medical device industry will primarily be used to attain the following capabilities:
- Real time visibility of the patient’s condition
- Monitor compliance to prescribed treatment, diet and exercise regimes
- Provide feedback in order to implement corrective action
- Real time feedback for better patient outcome
Remote monitoring of patients leads to more effective and timely treatment, leading to better management of health and wellness. In addition, patients are empowered by getting greater visibility into their actual health conditions, enabling them to play an active role in controlling and influencing their treatment.
Some examples of Internet of Things medical devices by category are:
- Safety Monitors
- Fall detection devices
- Vital Signs Monitors
- Weight measurement devices
- Heart rate measurement devices
- Blood pressure medical devices
- Activity Monitors
- Walk Time devices
- Calories spend devices
- Sleeping measurement devices
What the Internet of Things is accomplishing in the medical device industry is to lower the cost of care, improve patient outcome and improve quality of life connecting doctors, hospitals, medical devices, patients and family members.
What makes this particularly complex is how rapidly the technological, legal, security, privacy, and regulatory landscape is shifting. Medical devices are having challenges due to the missing standardization of some of the components in the Internet of Things solution.
Commonly accepted standards of network interface are required between the devices and the aggregation device (gateways, home routers, smartphones and pc’s). Similarly, the interface between the aggregation device and backend medical records will be governed by regulations that mandate the use of certain approved standards and certification. This is leading to significant interoperability issues and increased system integration costs.
While connected medical devices can provide benefits, they also pose new and sometimes unexpected risks. It’s the responsibility of the design engineer to ensure that development proceeds rapidly, but in a safe, careful and organized fashion.
Putting additional data into the hands of patients and clinicians can be incredibly powerful, but creates new challenges and risks for accurate collection, interpretation, storage, and dissemination that must be clearly understood.