IoT disruption in the healthcare sector - Seeker's Thoughts

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IoT disruption in the healthcare sector

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Since the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), a lot about the way we do things and interact with each other on a global scale has changed. 


IoT is simply explained, is a network of connected devices that have the ability to collect and exchange information. IoT has disrupted the health sector in many ways, discarding old thoughts, and making the old way of doing things obsolete.

In 2017, a study carried out showed that IoT would expand by 12% every year until it ballooned to 125 billion devices in 2030. 
Traditionally, doctors would have to make physical rounds in hospitals to see their patients.  In later years, the telephone became an important way to alert doctors of an emergency. 
With IoT, these visits have become less unless absolutely necessary, remote monitoring is the preferred method, thus reducing the need for hospitalization.

There are many ways in which the health sector is changing. Sophisticated technologies keep getting developed, which in turn makes the health providers’ work easier and reduces medical costs. They include:

3D printing

3D printing is not new. It was developed over 30 years ago and has been in use in various sectors. Its use in the medical sector involves several applications such as:

        Medical implants and devices such as dental implants and hearing aids.

        Surgical instruments that include scalpel handles, forceps, clamps and hemostats.

        Orthopedic implants or prosthetics

As technology advances, it is expected that 3D printing will be utilized for bioprinting. This technology uses pipettes that are guided by computers to lay live cells in layers to create an artificial body organ such as a liver, heart, eye, ears and many others. 

All over the world, there are millions of people in need of organs, yet there aren’t enough donors. 3D printing creates a solution to this problem by customizing the patients’ needs and substantially reducing the cost of surgery and the time spent in the hospital.

Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI)

Robotics have been in use for many years, especially in the manufacturing industry. In recent years, there have been ventures to integrate robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) into the health sector. Robotics helps to do menial jobs in hospitals that are deemed too dirty or dangerous for humans. 
Applications have been developed that allow people to manage their lifestyles, allowing them to live full and fulfilling lifestyles.

 AI provides an avenue for health providers to understand and monitor the pattern of their charges’ lives, allowing them to be better equipped to dispense advice based on this data.  Most breast cancer screenings usually end up with a misdiagnosis. AI is a useful way to detect cancers in their beginner stages. AI translates a mammogram with a 99% accuracy, and 30 times faster than a human can, no matter how well trained.

 AI ensures no one has to undergo an invasive biopsy which means unnecessary incisions by giving an accurate diagnosis. AI is also used to detect other ailments such as heart diseases and diabetes before they progress into advanced stages. AI systems can provide doctors with real-time data that is sourced from information stored in the patients’ EHRs (electronic health records) in record time, especially during emergencies.

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Augmented surgery

Augmented Reality (AR) has been in development for over 50 years and is only lately venturing into the automobile and health sectors. AR technology allows the user to experience the real world with digital information imposed onto the already existing environment. AR works by using sensors such as a camera and display monitors.

Augmented surgery provides real-time data that the surgeon can use, whether it is a simple or complicated operation. Augmented reality allows the doctor to study the patient’s body via an AR headset before they even perform the actual surgery. They can use AR to look at internal organs' muscles and bones before they make any cut, so as to pin-point the exact spot where they need to operate on.

Remote care

Remote care works well for the elderly who are often plagued by chronic illnesses, or people with special conditions that need monitoring. 

Telehealth, or telecare as it is often called, works by means of communication via phones or the internet.

 This method works well for the elderly who have trouble going for frequent checkups due to mobility issues and also the inconvenience caused In case of an emergency, automatic alerts are available.
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IoT cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a major concern where IoT devices are concerned. Most devices are not encrypted, and neither are the operating systems up to date, making them easy prey for hackers. Implanted devices are especially vulnerable, and if compromised, may cause injury, or even death. An example is a research study that was carried out, and an implantable insulin pump was disabled, blocking the delivery of critical medication.

 The same researchers hacked into a pacemaker system and added malware to the computers implanted in patients’ bodies. The researchers went on to show how the pacemaker’s program could be rewritten, causing great danger to the patient. Patients and doctors have to be wary of the devices they connected their devices to. The advice given is to install a VPN for protection. What is a VPN? A VPN or a Virtual Private Network provides a secure channel for your IoT device to log into the internet securely. VPNs are useful in protecting your online activities from prying eyes, censorship and any form of interference. A VPN allows you to browse incognito by masking your location.


The health sector is critical. While we cannot keep people from getting sick, we can do our best to prevent and diagnose illnesses while they are at the initial stages. Technology plays a major role in the implementation of these efforts to keep disease at bay. AI and robotics become more complex and their role in our lives more significant as we depend more on them to get work done. 3D printing and augmented surgery is the future of health care.

3D printing will solve the problem of organ shortages while augmented surgery will make it easier to do surgery by guiding surgeons on where to make that crucial cut. Remote care is the solution to eldercare, giving more people peace of mind that their elderly are safely monitored in the event of an emergency. While all these advancements disrupt health care, it behooves us to be careful of malicious people who may want to do harm via our devices. The installation of VPNs is vital to protect ourselves when we access the internet. While we may sleep, malicious people out to do harm never do. Be vigilant.

This post is originally written by Chris Jones @TurnOnVPN.

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