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Role of IoT in the future of healthcare organizations

IoT will drive digital transformation across the healthcare industry. According to an IDC Health Insights survey, 28% of payers and 36% of providers reported that IoT was part of their digital transformation strategy. The digital hospital of the future will rely heavily on medical IoT to glean all manner of insights about patients, medical equipment and supplies, and staff to improve decision making and transform the care delivered. Sensors will continue to decrease in size, passively and unobtrusively collecting and transmitting data to be aggregated and analyzed. For example, sensors embedded in patients' clothing to collect vital signs. Similarly, medical tattoos affixed to patients' skin could provide the same function. Miniature sensors — as small as a grain of sand — could be embedded in pills to monitor patients' medication compliance.

Medical IoT will extend to patients' homes, sending vital information to clinicians about how their patients are recovering at home or merely managing their health. Combining medical IoT with video-based telehealth services will enable patients to receive care in the comfort of their own homes, or wherever they may be, without having to travel great distances for in-person care. This combined approach will create operational efficiencies for healthcare organizations while saving patients time and money (e.g., travel expenses, parking, lost wages, and child care). As the industry makes the shift from sick care to health care under value-based health initiatives, healthcare organizations will leverage technology, like medical IoT and virtual care, to create new care delivery models that are most efficient and cost-effective and provide more convenient access to care, thus improving the patient experience. 


What we are up against

IoT can provide life-saving services and improve the quality of healthcare, but implementation challenges—and security is just one of them—abound. Device and system interoperability, safety regulation, privacy protection, Big Data analysis, and the danger of data overload are all critical issues. 

Data security is a key aspect. Hackers have been able to infiltrate servers containing sensitive medical information by exploiting security backdoors after gaining access to connected devices. 


What HPE can offer

While the security issue is the most alarming, another pressing challenge is how to present medical professionals with the most relevant data collected, and not overwhelm them with extraneous information. As more devices come online, this big data analysis problem will grow greater. Turning the data stream into notifications and actions that best protect patient safety is another primary task.

With HPE’s tremendous experience and world-class products and solutions the actions/controls can be carried out semi-automatically or automatically depending on rules (e.g., the amount of human review and intervention may vary). For examples, sending a warning to a physician that a patient’s condition is deteriorating, sending a patient a reminder to take his medication, or sending a command to a smart pump to increase the dose of medication.


Audrey Cox
WW OEM Communications & Brand Awareness
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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