What are the benefits of healthcare IOT and how can it be secured?

Last updated: 01 December 2022

There are huge pressures facing healthcare organisations and systems all over the world. Populations are ageing, chronic illnesses and infectious diseases are on the increase, and many organisations are still suffering with a backlog of cases following the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this blog we’ll be looking at how digital health solutions, powered by IOT, can help healthcare providers deliver better, more consistent, and more efficient healthcare; increasing access to health services and empowering individuals to manage their own health more effectively.

Benefits of IOT in healthcare

The benefits of IOT in healthcare are numerous – and cannot be underestimated. Much has been written about how the use of IOT can positively impact both patients and healthcare organisations – with some of the key benefits as follows:

  • Reduced costs: The use of connected medical devices and IoT solutions means that patients can be monitored in real-time. This could result in catching symptoms earlier, less visits to the doctor, and fewer hospital admissions.
  • Better patient experience: Efficient and accurate collection of data will improve the accuracy of diagnoses and being connected to a real-time healthcare system means that patients will feel more engaged in their treatment.
  • Better patient outcomes: The provision of real-time health data can reduce clinical variation, and be used to make better informed decisions about the patient in question, and provide evidence-based treatments.
  • More accurate drug monitoring: IoT monitoring solutions can help patients better adhere to their treatment plans, in turn allowing doctors to track compliance with prescriptions.
  • Errors and waste are reduced: By cutting out unnecessary tests and expensive imaging, system costs can be reduced – and human factor errors can be eliminated.

Securing healthcare IOT

There’s no about doubt the benefits IOT services can have in healthcare – however, they also provide a rich opportunity for malicious actors. Any security flaws could pose serious threats to the health and safety of patients. For example, criminals can remotely manipulate devices, including those that control dosage levels for drug infusion pumps and connected defibrillators.

As a result, it is crucial that organisations implement healthcare data security solutions that will improve patient care while protecting important assets and satisfying healthcare compliance mandates. Here is just some of the examples of how to secure IoT in healthcare:

Reliable cellular connectivity: Devices that record and send critical medical data must be trusted to stay connected for extended periods. Wherever your eHealth device is, wherever patients are, they need to be confident that a continuous stream of data is being collected.

Compliance with medical device regulation: More than ever, connected medical devices need to be carefully designed to meet the requirements of governmental regulators. Devices must comply with privacy and cybersecurity regulations such as IEC 62304, MDR 2017/745, GDPR, HIPAA, NIST SP 1800-30 or the MDS2.

Device lifecycle management: eHealth devices must be future-proofed to allow secure remote software or security updates that provide optimal performance over long periods.

Ease of use: For medical connected devices to be adopted, they must be easy for patients and doctors to connect and run with minimal intervention or set up. Thales enable out-of-the-box connectivity and biometrics solutions that provide trust within the ecosystem.

The potential that IOT has for healthcare is huge – both for organisations and patients. In order for it to be utilised to its full potential, and for all benefits to be realised, the key lies in security, compliance and connectivity.

If you have any further questions, or would like to discuss IoT in healthcare further, join me on the Thales stand at Medica, Hall 12, E37 on the 14-17th November.

For further reading check out the following:

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