The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical objects embedded with software, sensors, electronics, and network connectivity, capable of collecting and exchanging data. This technology has the potential to transform the way things are done in various industries, including the healthcare industry.
The Internet of Things in healthcare may have its pros and cons, but the technology is definitely on the way. The first wave has already arrived in the form of IoT devices that millions of Americans carry around on a daily basis.
Uses of Internet of Things in Healthcare
IoT applications are already in use in the healthcare industry with the potential for many more new developments in the future. Examples of Internet of Things in healthcare, now and in the future, include:
- “Smart beds” (already being used in some hospitals) that can detect when a patient is trying to get out of bed and self-adjust to proper pressure and support for the patient;
- Hand hygiene compliance monitoring on hospital staffs to help prevent hospital acquired infections being transmitted to patients;
- Wearable devices that capture the patient’s health information;
- Blood glucose monitoring and tracking for diabetics;
- Urine output and core body temperature data collection and charting for catheterized patients in hospitals;
- Remote monitoring devices that allow hospitals to continue to monitor patients at home, thereby reducing the length of a costly stay in the hospital;
- Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags added to medication containers to better track the drug supply chain;
- Edible “smart pills” to help monitor health issues and how the drugs are taken, and also to help healthcare providers and drug companies mitigate risks.
Internet of Things in Healthcare Challenges
IoT has tremendous potential in the healthcare industry. Nevertheless, it carries with it certain widely recognized, significant concerns. One issue is that doctors will be inundated with too much information, and that will add distraction, pulling the medical professional off the primary purpose of treating their patients.
Another serious concern is privacy and security. Medical IoT devices might be vulnerable to hackers and patients’ health information might not be secure. Individual health data is an extremely sensitive category. A data breach could result in a great deal of harm.
Although many believe that IoT in healthcare can save millions of dollars as well as streamlining and improving quality of care, security is a serious matter that cannot be ignored. The more data is being transmitted, the greater the risk of health information privacy issues.
IoT in Healthcare: California Legal Counsel
Security issues surrounding IoT in healthcare are a valid and major concern. If you are facing these issues, now or in the future, your best course of action is to consult with a knowledgeable attorney.
Our general complex litigation lawyers at McCuneWright LLP can help you find the solutions you need to help prevent issues from arising in the future. If you are facing litigation, we have the skills, experience, and resources to provide the outstanding representation you need. Contact us to arrange for a meeting to discuss your IoT in healthcare matters and how our firm can help.