What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? This expression has been used many times in several different sectors, but what are the concrete implications in healthcare?
Ken Kleinberg, a managing director at the Advisory Board Company, talked to MedicalExpo before his speech at the HIMSS Conference in Las Vegas in early March.
According to Kleinberg, the IoT refers to “the trend of connecting devices, beyond the typical computing devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, also including sensors, monitors, cameras and everything else that can have some computing capabilities.” The goal is to collect “a much broader amount of information than we ever collected before” in order to “analyze it and take action on it.”
It can be medical devices measuring patient blood pressure, temperature and respiration rate, or sleep trackers attached to the wrist.
At home, you can also have items like a scale, a smart toilet, or even a floor that can measure how someone is walking and whether they might have a problem with their balance.
“There are many types of devices, sensors and monitors, including cameras that can look at someone’s face to see if they’re depressed,” Kleinberg added. “These devices have all started to become more miniature and more affordable.” Some hospitals are equipped with smart beds which transfer collected information wirelessly to electronic medical records for analysis to alert caregivers to problems.
These monitoring systems give doctors the ability to watch their patients more closely.
But there has to be some filtering of this information and only the relevant information gets passed on to the doctors. So you have to have analytic capabilities, filters and rules to determine what’s important and what’s not.