More IoT devices mean more collected data to analyze and act upon. A cloud platform that ingests all of the information and presents it in a way that clinicians and other staff can use to make informed decisions is vital.
FREMONT, CA: According to an analytics prediction, by 2020, there will be close to 10 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices in use globally. IoT devices like connected security cameras and wireless monitors for vitals are already in use at hospitals, clinical settings, and senior living facilities. Over 87 percent of healthcare organizations use the devices for applications that, for example, predict and detect falls and track high-value medical equipment.
Nevertheless, IoT tools pose unique requirements and challenges for healthcare organizations compared to conventional technology devices like PCs and servers. The difficulties often comprise a higher level of maintenance, enhanced security measures, and increased network support.
Below are some considerations for medical organizations when mulling over an IoT initiative.
Safeguard Devices and Protect Their Data
No matter how they are utilized, IoT devices must be reasonably priced so that organizations can deploy them extensively. Most of all, the more IoT tools a hospital has, the more information it can extract to make decisions about patient care. To accommodate the price sensitivity, IoT vendors usually add enough memory and processing power into their products to support a machine's core duties.
Unlike a tablet or PC, each device has a few extra resources to assist cybersecurity software and thus poses a risk for a security incident. As a result, it is up to the network and the rest of the IT infrastructure to shelter IoT devices and the information they handle and avoid HIPAA fines that would come with a breach. Many cloud-based solutions from companies are helping medical practices to combat the issue. Through machine learning and crowd sourcing, the solutions can monitor each IoT device’s behavior to recognize anomalies that could signify if the tool has been hacked. When new IoT devices are installed, the solutions identify the type of tool and automatically apply the appropriate security policies. Wearables, for example, would need higher security than an IoT device checking indoor air quality.
Pick the Right Technology and Network Architecture
While device security is decisive, a strong network is a key for the accomplishment of any IoT application. For instance, consider the tracking of high-value equipment—the process is critical to preventing burglary and allowing clinicians to locate what they require swiftly. But if the IoT equipment being used for tracking rely on Wi-Fi connectivity, then the wireless LAN must have seamless coverage throughout the whole facility.
Adding more access points seems like an obvious solution, but that can often go wrong. Too many Access Points (APs) in close range will interfere with one another, weakening the WLAN’s capacity. So, many healthcare organizations have adopted network access control technology to settle on each AP’s ideal location to reduce interference and remove dead spots.
Healthcare organizations should also consider what IoT applications like remote monitoring devices, are in their patients’ residences. The organizations must navigate connectivity options like using Wi-Fi that connects to the patient’s home network for patients who do not have broadband before deploying the devices.
Facilitate Digital Alteration Within the Organization
More IoT devices denote more data to be collected, analyzed, and acted upon. A cloud platform that ingests all of the information and presents it in a way that clinicians and other staff can use to make informed decisions is vital. So, healthcare organizations should consider which platform best ropes their IoT goals. Additionally, they should choose one that comprises lower costs, tightened security, better patient experiences, and improved treatment outcomes. Using a platform that is HIPAA compliant could be a particularly good fit for organizations looking to boost security measures. The cloud platforms that can also offer real-time and historical analysis are a key for facilitating digital transformations that enhance patient care, employee productivity, and more.