“Within five years, the majority of clinically relevant data . . . will be collected outside of clinical settings.”* Internet of Things (IoT) technology is transforming the healthcare industry by redefining how applications, devices and people connect and interact with each other in the delivery of healthcare.
Benefits of Implementing IoT in Your Healthcare System
As IoT technology evolves and matures, healthcare systems can reduce errors, improve processes and automate workflows to realize new efficiencies. Patients can benefit from reduced healthcare costs, receive improved care and enjoy patient-centric experiences that lead to better outcomes.
- Reduce Costs – wearables, mobile devices and apps, allow patients to communicate their health updates from home with devices that send reports wirelessly to their doctors, or communicate via telemedicine conferences. This reduces the burden on health systems and costly in-person doctor visits.
- Better Outcomes – physicians accessing IoT powered healthcare systems can monitor patients in ways not previously available. They can help patients with disease management and reduce readmissions. Plus the real-time information powers evidence-based decisions for better outcomes.
- Improved Patient Experience – IoT information spotlights patient needs. This makes diagnosis more accurate, enables more timely intervention by physicians and enhances the patient’s experience.
IoT increases demand for Edge Computing
The volume of data being processed is set to rapidly increase as IoT devices grow in adoption. Therefore the cost of using remote data centres to process and analyze data will also grow, in many cases beyond the budgets of small and medium enterprises. Technologies like AR, which require real-time analysis and interpretation of data, mean that processing on local devices, or 'edge computing', is set to grow in popularity. A recent Research and Markets report predicted that the edge computing market will grow at a CAGR of 35 percent through 2022.
Powerful mobile workstations and miniature desktop workstations like ThinkStation Tiny have the compute and connectivity capabilities necessary to run analytics as edge compute devices. At the same time, because of their size and mobility, they can be integrated discreetly into existing medical or research equipment.
With edge devices possessing the power to offload the compute and analytics workload from data centers, they also act as the mechanism to authenticate users and devices on the network. Consider the following as part of your overall infrastructure security plan:
- The device security layer - as your endpoint devices are accessing data, you need them to be secure. This involves 2 aspects; authenticating users (are they authorized), and authenticating devices themselves (is this a known and authorized device). Multi-factor authentication of users is important because it avoids reliance on passwords. For device authentication a TPM chip can securely store cryptographic keys used to identify the device and software on it.
- The data security layer - this refers to the medium of data transmission. This should be secure so that "man-in-the-middle" and similar attacks are avoided. For example, with mobile users logging into your network using public WiFi, you need built-in monitoring of WiFi security built into the devices, to keep users away from malicious networks and access points.