Whether people know it or not, the internet of things (IoT) is all around us. From smartphones to personal assistants like Alexa and Siri, we are all connected to the internet virtually 24 hours a day. The IoT has grown so fast that it’s getting harder and harder to find pockets of space where you are not connected to it in some way, shape or form.
The IoT is even finding its way into Western medicine. But how far will it get? Does the IoT have a place in medicine above and beyond networks, desktop computers, and mobile devices? Absolutely. The potential for the IoT to transform the way medicine is practiced is huge.
A Quick IoT Definition
If you are not familiar with the IoT, understanding it is pretty simple. The IoT consists of that entire global community of devices connected to the internet. All of those devices can be interconnected due to their common internet pathway. As such, it is technically possible to link your smartphone to a refrigerator in China or a car in Peru.
Think about all of the devices in your home that connect to the internet in some way. Now multiply your home by billions to account for the rest of the world. Then add in all the offices, warehouses, educational institutions, businesses, etc. that also have connected devices. It quickly becomes apparent that the IoT is a vast web of devices that blankets the earth.
The IoT in Medicine
Bringing the IoT to medicine has been a long time coming. It began in earnest back in 2010 when the federal government began urging the medical sector to transition to electronic health records (EHRs). That one move alone has led to record-keeping systems being linked across the country.
The next step came a few years ago with the introduction of wearables. People interested in monitoring certain aspects of their own health were able to buy wearable devices capable of monitoring heartbeat, respiration, etc. That data could be transmitted to a computer server for storage and analysis.
Today, the IoT is being harnessed as a way to monitor and treat patients without requiring them to visit a doctor’s office or clinic. The technology for collecting and transmitting the data has been around for a long time. So what is so different now? Rock West Solutions says it is all the development of data processing in healthcare.
Big Data with a Purpose
Rock West Solutions is a California technology company that specializes in things like remote signaling, signal processing, and big data analytics. They have worked with the medical sector over many years to develop better imaging devices and cutting-edge analytical tools.
The brilliant minds at Rock West are working on better ways to use all the data now being generated by the IoT. Along with similar companies in the business, they are not content just to know that wearable medical devices exist. They want to make the information generated by those devices more usable on a practical, day-to-day basis.
In the near future, the IoT will be the engine that drives all kinds of medical devices. Picture a wearable capable of monitoring a patient’s condition and sending data directly to a primary care physician. Imagine another device capable of collecting data that can be analyzed to assess a patient’s risk of experiencing a medical emergency.
Thanks to the maturity of the IoT, the possibilities seem endless at this point. It is just a matter of improving how we use the internet and continuing to develop signal processing and big data analysis.