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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Health Sector IOT Connected Medical Devices

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The health sector is increasingly driven by cost efficiencies, result-based compensation for treatments, and patient well-being.

IoT can play an important role in addressing the changing demands of patients, professionals, hospitals, and insurers in this respect.

For instance, connecting medical devices in patients’ homes allows important operational data to be gathered, which generates value in numerous use cases.

Through geo-fencing, device owners can ensure that the devices in their fleet remain at the designated location, minimizing the financial damages resulting from loss or theft.

Other operational data tell them the status of the device, enabling preventive maintenance and battery replacement, and minimizing the number of routine inspections by mechanics, which not only enables cost savings in the field force, but also reduces intrusive visits to the patient’s home.

Although privacy and cyber security issues need to be addressed, remotely sharing medical data will enable doctors to improve their diagnostics, because they have access to a wider range of relevant data, while patients benefit from a potentially lower number of hospital visits.

With new low-power wide area (LPWA) technologies like NB-IoT, these use cases become more attractive.

This is due to their enablement of companies to deploy solutions transmitting small amounts of data, in hard to reach (indoor) locations, for longer periods of time (less energy consumption means longer battery life), and therefore in a more cost-efficient manner, while continuing to use existing mobile networks for use cases demanding more throughput and latency.

Other use cases for cellular

  • Real-time surveillance monitoring
  • Connected cars

As an intermediate summary, we can state that different IoT applications require different connectivity characteristics.

Use cases located in rural areas require long-range connectivity standards to connect to base stations far away, while those located near cities and with close access to base stations or gateways can rely on short-range connectivity solutions.

Moreover, use cases that rely on a short interval between data generation and action should focus on deploying solutions with low latency, such as cellular LTE Rel.8, while use cases that do not require immediate action can accept standards with higher latency, such as Sigfox.

High bandwidth standards like LTE Rel. 8 are important when the data packages collected by sensors and sent by a ‘thing’ are large.

In cases where only small data packages need to be sent, it is worth considering solutions like LoRaWAN.

Cost is another consideration, so when the costs of deploying and maintaining the connectivity solution are high relative to the cost of the ‘thing’, that is, when operating many small sensors with low hardware value, usually low-cost connectivity solutions such as LTE Cat-M are appropriate.

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