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How Cloud and IoT are Improving Healthcare

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How Cloud and IoT are Improving Healthcare

Rohit Kukreti, Sr. Solution Architect, Cloud Practice, PEA Proficiency

January 16, 2020

Introduction

Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled a plethora of interactions between healthcare provider and patients. From remotely monitoring the health of patients discharged to scheduling routine follow-up visits, thereby making appointment scheduling and travel inessential, the ability to sense and track changes of  patient health  using internet connected sensors and systems is radically changing healthcare delivery.

IoT is a network of uniquely identified computing, mechanical or digital devices which have the ability to independently transmit data or signal over a network (which is often the Internet). In a care setting, as various medical devices get connected, processes, exchange of data and communication between patients and healthcare professionals changes. Remote and continuous monitoring of patients health is now possible using a combination of monitoring devices, mobile apps and IoT on the Cloud.

IoT Advantages

  • Reduced cost of patient care: Using IoT-based medical and care devices and solutions allow healthcare professionals to remotely monitor, diagnose and prescribe suitable treatments. Efficient, real-time and effective health data collection, management and analysis can reduce patient visits to doctor as well as reduce readmission rates, reducing cost treatment
  • Timely medical assessment and help: IoT devices enable healthcare professionals to closely monitor patient conditions/vitals.  Real-time alerting and analytics solution also allows for corrective and preventive action
  • Improved patient satisfaction: Reduced cost, timely medical assistance and fewer hospital visits for health checkups have a significant impact on improving patient satisfaction scores
  • Efficient device management: Devices connected to central systems using IoT with their health info monitored periodically. This enables remote monitoring of the devices easy. Critical device updates, such as new security features, can be pushed Over the Air (OTA) with IoT

IoT Use Cases in Healthcare

  • Remote Health Monitoring: Remote patient monitoring devices stream patient health data to IoT based and the recipient processing services can process the data as required. Alerts/notifications can be set for certain threshold to ensure healthcare professionals can take timely actions, if required. Remote monitoring minimizes costs and eliminates the need for frequent visitations, and improves patients quality of living
  • Device Health Monitoring and Management: Devices connect to and share its telemetry data to an IoT service. This data is further processed in the IoT pipeline and is stored in a persistent data store. Manufacturers can monitor the device health or analyze the data to identify any risk to the device, ensuring its availability and accessibility. Device firmware updates can also be pushed using the pipeline
  • Centralized Patient Repository: Devices and on-premise enterprise apps can share patient data from the IoT pipeline to a central repository to be stored in a centralized repository or a Clinical Data Repository (CDR). This helps care teams to efficiently coordinate and share patient insights to deliver improved patient-centric care and support secure, compliant, and timely communications
  • Telemedicine and Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH): Telemedicine and PCMH are emerging trends in the healthcare industry. IoT is enabling these telecommunication technologies by transferring patient’s vital health information from devices in real-time to healthcare professionals for diagnosis and treatment

Why IoT on Cloud?

Healthcare IoT use cases consider connecting devices, ingesting and analyzing device data which include patient health as well as device health data. Healthcare devices generate data frequently, in large volume and require near real-time analysis/measurement. This process needs large storage, high processing / computation, and analytical capacity. Planning and scaling on-premise infrastructure for such use cases can be challenging as it may lead to over-provisioning and underutilization of infrastructure.

Cloud computing offers IoT and related services which can scale on demand ; scalability and flexibility cloud offers makes deploying such applications easier and faster. On-demand/flexible nature of cloud allows for experimenting, innovating and building products on cloud easier. Additionally, cloud infrastructure can be scaled keeping performance and costs in mind. With all these benefits/advantages cloud becomes a very viable choice for Healthcare IoT use cases

Competitive Analysis of Cloud IoT Offerings

As the market for IoT expands, major cloud providers have released their version of IoT services. Comparative analysis of IoT service offered by each cloud provider is listed below - 

 

Parameter

Azure IoT

AWS IoT

Google IoT

Protocols

  • HTTPS
  • MQTT
  • MQTT over WebSocket
  • AMQP
  • AMQP over WebSocket
  • HTTPS
  • MQTT
  • MQTT over WebSocket
  • HTTPS
  • MQTT

Security

  • Device authentication supported using X.509 certificates
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Symmetric Key,
  • Shared Symmetric Key
  • Device authentication supported using X.509 certificates
  • IAM (Users, Groups & Roles)
  • Amazon Cognito Identity
  • Device authentication supported using JWT
  • RSA or Elliptic Curve algorithms to verify signatures
  • X.509 certificates
  • IAM

Programming Languages

  • .Net languages
  • C
  • Java
  • Node.js
  • Python
  • .Net languages
  • C++
  • Embedded C
  • Java
  • Node.js
  • Python
  • PHP
  • .Net languages
  • C
  • Embedded C
  • Go
  • Java
  • Node.js
  • Python
  • Ruby

 

How CitiusTech helped a client?

The client is a leading provider of medical grade vital signs and physiological monitoring solution. They needed to build a medical IoT based platform to monitor vitals with medical quality; provide solution to its partners to integrate custom solutions; and deliver personalized, actionable insights.

 

CitiusTech partnered with the client to develop the cloud based IoT platform. Key aspects of the project:

  • Messages (device generated data) do not have a fixed structure and may change in future

  • Data producer(s) to simultaneously upload data for (at least) 100 subjects in less than 2 seconds per subject, receiving no more than 40*21 = 840 data points per subject per request

  • Data consumer(s) to read simultaneously data of (at least) 100 subjects in less than 3 seconds, producing no more than 15,000 data points per data consumer

  • Data for most recent 14 days shall be ready to be queried, and data older than 14 days to be moved to cold storage

Conclusion

IoT promises healthcare professionals to remotely monitor patient health round the clock as well as reducing cost of patient care. As patient health data is transferred in real-time, it allows for better diagnosis and treatment. Although IoT is changing the way patient care is delivered in healthcare industry, it currently does not seem make the need for a doctor’s visit for examination and care less important.