One of the biggest problems encountered in many developed countries is the rise of ageing population and the public expenditure due to it. Because of this there is an increased demand for affordable, personalized health care devices and hence a rise in their cost. This exorbitant price has been creating challenges for the healthcare industry and opened new avenues for creating low cost personalized health care devices like medical wearables. Hence, they can replace older less accurate devices along with improving quality of health care and reduce public expenditure by reducing remissions by early detection. Therefore, there is a huge need for low cost wearable devices for remote healthcare monitoring enabled by cloud connectivity.
While these wearable connected devices look promising there are many challenges in their widespread adaptation. The following are the primary challenges.
Cybersecurity And Data Security
One of the biggest concerns with these connected devices is privacy and this is a big reason many people are hesitant about adopting them. Because of this there are many regulatory barriers and makes it difficult for the manufacturer for their widespread implementation. Hence, there are FDA and other agencies that issue guidelines and the manufacturer doesn’t have to go through their approval process if they have security updates streamlined. However, on the flip side devices will have to be re-tested and recertified by the FDA.
Manpower And Cost
The biggest hurdle in their implementation is the cost of development and lack of manpower to develop and maintain such a connected system according to the FDA regulations. Because, for a system that is connected and collected there is not enough knowledgeable man power to maintain, manage the stored data and operations. Moreover this network has the same standards as the devices which makes the seamless functioning a difficult task when proper upgrades and maintenance is lacking.
Opportunities of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
With the increasing number of smart devices such as smartphones, Wi-Fi routers, app development for specific requirements there is an ever increasing opportunity for IoMT devices. They let medical care institutions and practitioners to get highly accurate vital readings round the clock to develop tailor-made therapies that was impossible before. Moreover, it even enables very early detection of fatal health crisis and thereby avoid fatalities with the implementation of AI along with the network of connected devices. Hence, it improves the overall well being and longevity of individuals.
Furthermore, with the amount of data collected it helps to improve the detection accuracy through machine learning as well as develop better detection devices. Because of this there will be an overall improvement in the accuracy of disease diagnosis as well as provide personalised reminders for maintenance or replacement of faulty devices. Above all it also helps in the development of utilising the massive amount of data available for the development of better and effective drugs. Moreover, there is the added advantage of allowing the automatic refilling of prescription drugs during the course of treatment by the pharmacy if the patient subscribes for medicines and hence enabling better customer service.
With the implementation of connected devices it enables very early detection of future failure of important devices such as insulin pump, the lubricant of heart pump etc with advanced algorithms for predictive analysis. Therefore, these devices can predict a catastrophe from device failure and totally avoid such a scenario by detecting patterns. Furthermore, these connected devices when combined with existing diagnostic devices can provide better diagnosis at a lower cost. This is because the stand-alone diagnostic devices are too expensive and resource consuming.
However, one of the biggest challenges is these devices can be effectively implemented among people or patients only if it is supported by their medical insurance. This is because they have a very steep price tag due to the advanced technology and making them part of the health insurance can subsidise their price similar to healthcare. Moreover, it also helps these agencies to use the data from the devices for checking the authenticity before giving insurance claims to claimants.
It is obvious by now that the security threat of the users medical information and the cost of implementation are the two biggest roadblocks preventing their widespread adoption by medical institutions and patients. Because of this we must think about what the consequences are if the data collected is being erased or accessed by unauthorised methods. If that is a concern then better encryption methods are to be used to protect user privacy. Moreover, you must consider what are the cost benefit analysis of using or not using such connected devices.
The above mentioned concerns can be dealt by practising and using multi level security protocols by the manufactures and service providers. Also do daily security review of the system to identify any potential breach of the security system and other cybersecurity measures.
It is a fact that connected devices are the future of healthcare and they are already here. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before this revolutionary medical technology becomes part of our daily life.