How IoT in Healthcare is evolving as IoP (Internet of Patients)
The 21st century has been witnessing the biggest ever data boom in the history of the world. With Internet of Things flourishing, industries like manufacturing, retail, and healthcare have undergone swift and incredible transitions. Next to manufacturing, the healthcare domain has undergone an unforeseen makeover with IoT or Internet of Things. IoT in healthcare is often hailed as the Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT). If IoT makes machines smarter and capable enough to communicate and collaborate with each other, IoHT is the smart convergence and integration of data collected through sensors, medical equipment/ devices, mobile technologies etc. IoHT helps in leveraging and applying this data to the daily healthcare practices.
The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2025, approximately one-third of the $11.1 trillion market for distributed devices will be occupied by healthcare.
From Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT) to Internet of Patients (IoP)
For IoHT to succeed, “data” should be the most significant area that needs to be focused. The McKinsey Institute further states that healthcare is next only to manufacturing as the source of distributed devices. However, the two industries are extremely different. While people demand more data privacy and security, machines, equipment, assembly lines or trucks do not have such expectations. Therefore, in IoHT, the accent is on “thinking smart” than “smart things”. This very well applies to patients and their data. What is being overlooked is a robust operational model unique to healthcare.
IoHT discussions and implementations frequently make an obligatory remark about data confidentiality and security. There is a growing demand for a proper, strategic management of IoHT at the granular level to ensure that we can overcome the healthcare interoperability challenges of today. There should be a strong patient data consent and management policy in place. Data access policies must be well laid-out. Have control on who can access or use patient data, who can view or manage online activities as well as device usage.
IoHT must stand as the steward to managing sensitive content. The data source of patient-generated healthcare data (PGHD) is, obviously, a patient, with all the apprehensions, convictions, outlooks, and perspectives about their health/ personal information that is being shared. In short, IoT in Healthcare must stand to guard data. Patient is inseparable from data and vice versa. Truly speaking IoHT thus becomes IoP or Internet of Patients.
Keep this in mind when you build the next big thing in IoHT.