It has been very clearly established that technology has helped healthcare and the medical industry transcend boundaries that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. What’s great about technology is that it’s evolving every day, every moment. This evolution and growth in technology always result in benefits to many major industries in two aspects. One, to explore innovative options. Two, to enhance the existing options adding the facets of affordability and accessibility.
In this article, we will talk about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its role in helping medical devices with the task of gathering data and how it plays a huge role in saving lives.
Internet of Things (IoT) is basically a network of devices, each having a unique identity and can be connected to each other to gather data, share it and process it into meaningful information. The technology has been in work since well the concept of smart devices was introduced in around 1982 but the term is said to be coined between 2008 and 2009. IoT has positively affected several major industries and Healthcare is arguably the most important of those.
IoT has resulted in Healthcare functioning in a more competent manner. It has brought in improvements that help not only the patients’ cause but also makes the process more effective for the professionals. All in all, the entire process has become more convenient for both parties. If we take a look at some statistics, we will find out how tremendously IoT has grown to be embedded more and more in the Healthcare Industry.
We can see how the number of installations of IoT Devices in Healthcare has nearly doubled from 2015 to 2017. It is expected that around 161 Million IoT devices will be shipped for the same purpose by year 2020.
In our following sections we will be focusing on how exactly does IoT help medical devices gather data, how is it useful for diagnostics of diseases and a lot more. Let’s get to it.
Integration of IoT into Medical Devices
IoT as a technology has proved beneficial for multiple sectors. With the help of IoT, even Healthcare professionals are now able to identify diseases in a better manner as well as provide treatments to those diseases in a more timely manner. But how does this integration of IoT and medical devices work exactly? Let us look into that.
Major healthcare facilities have adopted medical devices which come with certain IoT sensors and devices embedded into them. These embedded medical devices help in the reduction of diagnosis time owing to the high-speed processors under the hood as well as a rich and accessible operation system interface. These devices also manage the storage of patients’ data. They also carry out an analysis of said data.
IoT enabled medical devices mainly work by connecting to separate hardware. This separate hardware provides them with multiple facilities like disease examination, touchscreen interface i.e. better accessibility, and data analysis & processing.
Now, when a user enters his or her data, the system looks for those symptoms in its already prepared database and tries to find a match. If a match is found, the system returns the disease name in response along with a proper prescription containing names of generic medicines.
In case no match is found or a partial match is found, the system responds to the user with a request to undergo certain tests that may be ideal in identifying the disease and preparing a prescription.
All the inputs like patient information and system responses like prescriptions and disease names are stored on the cloud for further analysis.
Role of IoT in Tackling Diseases
We have established that IoT has provided unparalleled benefits in the sector of Healthcare resulting in improvement of quality and efficiency of treatments. Now we are going to dive deeper and see how IoT has tackled certain diseases in a way that was not possible before.
A smart monitoring system, named CYCORE, was developed for cancer patients. It involved usage of a Bluetooth enabled weighing scale and a blood pressure cuff. These were integrated with the symptom-tracking app. The app’s function was to send continuous updates regarding patients’ symptoms and responses to treatment on every weekday. This IoT enabled solution was used by 357 patients undergoing head and neck cancer treatment.
This group of 357 people experienced less severe symptoms from cancer and its treatment in comparison to another group who went for regular weekly physician visits without any other additional monitoring.
This study clearly shows the potential of IoT enabled devices to reduce the troubles patients go through in a regular healthcare routine.
Diabetes is a condition that has been said to affect on an estimate, one out of ten adults. A condition like this requires a platform to conduct continuous monitoring and treatment administration.
Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) is a device made for patients suffering from diabetes and can help them by offering features like monitoring of blood glucose levels. Readings are taken at regular intervals. In the last few years, a number of devices have come up in the market trying to make this process smarter and more efficient.
We are talking about Smart CGMs like Freestyle Libre and Eversense. These devices collect the required blood glucose levels data and forward them to their compatible apps (available on Android, iPhone as well as Apple Watch). This data is then represented in a useful manner which can be accessed by patients and their doctors to understand the condition better. The Freestyle Libre app goes one step ahead by allowing remote monitoring of this data to relatives or caretakers of the patient as well.
Apple Watch’s Life Saving Heartbeat Monitoring Feature
When Apple launched its latest models of Apple Watches, one feature stood out, its ability to perform an Electrocardiogram (ECG). Electrocardiogram basically refers to a test that does the measurement of the electrical activity of your heart with the help of electrodes placed on the skin, which is taken care of by Apple. While the previous iterations of Apple Watch, like every other fitness band in the market today, had a Heart Monitor for heartbeat measurements, this particular ECG feature has been a leap in the wearables field.
To add to that, Apple has taken clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department that allows them to detect Atrial Fibrillation. Atrial Fibrillation refers to an irregular heartbeat. It can increase the risk of heart failure or a stroke. Apple Watch uses this feature and notifies the user whenever their heartbeat is irregular. Apple Watch also takes notes whenever the heartbeat is too low.
Apple Watch coming to the Rescue of Scott Killian: If there’s anything that can speak volumes about Apple team’s accomplishments, it has to be this incident with Scott Killian, an attorney of age 49. Scott knew the health implications that come with the stress level of being a lawyer so he used to take conscious steps in order to make sure he is healthy. These steps included regular running and boxing. There didn’t seem to be any worrying factor about his health since he took all the necessary steps.
Scott often wore his Apple Watch to bed for its sleep tracking functionality. On a fateful night, the Apple Watch woke him up with an alert at around 1 AM. This alert was pushed by an Apple Watch compatible app HeartWatch and it mentioned that Scott’s resting heart rate while sleeping had elevated beyond regular heart rate. While Scott’s average resting heart rate was calculated to be around 49 beats per minute, the same had elevated to 121 beats per minute that night. With such alarming data, Scott and his wife decided to visit the Emergency Room.
When the doctor connected him to an EKG machine, it was found out that his heart rate was still much more than normal. On analyzing his blood test, an elevated enzyme was discovered which signalled that a heart attack has either occurred or is occurring. Apart from that, four blocked arteries were discovered as well.
There were possibilities that if the Apple Watch had not woken him up in time, he wouldn’t have woken up at all. With his family history involving the death of his grandfather with a heart attack, this could have been very possible. Every time Scott looks at the watch now, he thinks of how it has saved his life.
Conditions like Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) impact the lives of millions of people globally. To bring more insight to these people regarding their symptoms and treatment, Connected Inhalers are coming to help.
Propeller Health is the company that has become the largest producer of this Smart Inhaler technology. They are not investing their resources in producing entire inhalers. Rather, they are producing sensors which are attached to existing inhalers or Bluetooth spirometer. This sensor forwards all this data for proper representation to an application. After the data is analysed, the app displays proper findings and users will be able to understand what could be the reasons behind their symptoms. Apart from that, the app also displays a list of rescue meditation and allergen forecasts.
This adds another dimension to the treatment process as the sensor generates reports which a patient can share with their doctor. The doctor can be assured on whether the patient is taking the medications properly and are the medications working as expected to.
IoT Extended from Objects to Human Beings
We are already in the age where the technology of IoT is controlling not only simple objects but adding another dimension to human beings as well. Microchip Implants have now entered the territory pushing the envelope further and connecting human beings.
Easy Access: In Sweden, Hannes Sjöblad, a Swedish biohacker, has developed RFID microchips to be implanted in someone’s hand. This will give employees much easier and faster access to buildings and other information. It removes the requirement of a key fob that is traditionally required for such activities. Refer to this video to listen to Hannes himself explaining the benefits of such technology.
ECG using an Implant: We previously discussed how Apple Watch can perform an ECG with its ability to detect irregular heartbeats. Well, there’s another thing that can do that same process. Only, it’s tiny. How tiny? The size of a rice grain! Yes, such microchips that are being called Loop Recorders are used for detecting irregular heartbeats and with the help of Near Field Communication, these microchips communicate with reader terminals wirelessly.
A minor surgical procedure is performed in which the implantable loop recorder is placed just beneath the skin of the chest. Currently, Loop Recorder can record the heart rhythm for up to three years. This device uploads all the data to a cloud-based database that can be regularly checked by the patient and healthcare professionals.
Fertility Monitor From Inito
The Key to Fast Pregnancy
Most women believe that they can get pregnant close to the 14th day of their cycle. This assumption is incorrect as ovulation varies from woman to woman and the cycle is controlled by the individual hormone levels. In fact, 46% of menstrual cycles vary by seven or more days.
Estrogen, a key fertility hormone, starts rising 3-4 days before ovulation while LH (Luteinizing Hormone) rises 24-36 hours before ovulation. These two hormones are an excellent predictor of your fertile days.
Understanding your fertile days will help you get pregnant faster.
Chizel is the manufacturing partner for Inito Fertility Monitor helped them go from prototyping to mass manufacturing, helping them succeed in their manufacturing goals.
Everyone’s Racing Ahead, Let Chizel Help You Catch Up!
With the kind of technology we are discussing, the number of developments and innovations daily cannot be ignored. The competition is cutthroat and when it comes to medical devices, there is no margin of error.
We at Chizel, can help you tackle these issues with our easily accessible and reliable services. We can help you manufacture medical devices like they are supposed to be manufactured. To help you get your own vision in the final product, you can use our online cloud platform for a convenient experience.