Real-time Technology and the Healthcare Internet of Things

3 min read Michael Carroll on May 21, 2022

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to weave its way deeper into our daily lives, revolutionizing how we live and significantly impacting various industries. Among these, the industrial sector's reliance on IoT, particularly in healthcare, remains more pronounced than ever.

The industrial IoT landscape has grown even more data-intensive and large-scale, transcending traditional fields such as manufacturing and energy to embrace sectors with high-stakes data needs and mission-critical applications. Healthcare is a prime example of this evolution.

A Rapidly Growing and Evolving Market

As of 2024, the healthcare market for IoT is nearly $59 billion and is expected to reach over $160 billion by 2029. The integration of IoT across the healthcare spectrum includes:

  • Patient Monitoring and Diagnostics: Leveraging IoT for real-time health monitoring.

  • Data Management: Enhancing information transfer, storage, and collaborative access.

  • Smart Healthcare Devices: From intelligent wheelchairs to advanced RFID systems and sensors.

  • Connected Emergency Services: Integrating IoT into ambulances, emergency units, and hospitals.

This vast IoT network within healthcare raises critical questions about connectivity and data management.

The Role of Real-Time Edge Messaging Networks

An edge messaging network is the backbone of IoT, providing a robust, globally redundant publish/subscribe network that manages the bidirectional flow of raw data among devices, users, and servers. In healthcare, where data transfer must be reliable and secure, the indispensability of a sophisticated network becomes evident.

Impact on Medical Professionals and Patients

Internet-connected devices like MRI machines and heart rate monitors are commonplace in medical facilities. These devices' real-time capabilities significantly affect medical staff and patients by improving accuracy and speed in diagnostics and treatment. Mobile real-time communication apps, integral to healthcare IoT, enhance how nurses, physicians, and administrators interact with patient data and each other.

Data Delivery and Synchronization

In the realm of Medical IoT, the quality of patient care has improved due to more reliable communications. Mobile applications and secure networks enable immediate access to patient data, synced in real-time across all platforms. Such synchronization is crucial in mission-critical scenarios, where time and data accuracy are paramount.

Geolocation and Mobility in Healthcare

Emergency response and mobility are central to healthcare IoT. Real time mapping and geolocation help efficiently dispatch response teams, which can be crucial in life-threatening situations. The integration of presence functionality allows healthcare providers to access patient information and coordinate care seamlessly anytime, anywhere.

Enhancements in Administration and Technical Maintenance

For medical administrators, the choice between digital and analog solutions is long past. IoT technology, more accessible and affordable than ever, has become the standard. Cloud-based data systems allow hospitals to schedule patients efficiently, improving service turnover and patient satisfaction. For technicians, IoT enables quicker response times to equipment issues, minimizing downtime.

Security and Confidentiality

With the critical nature of patient and medical data, ensuring confidentiality and security is paramount. End-to-end encryption is essential, and robust authentication measures (including 2FA) are standard. Compliance with evolving global regulations, such as HIPAA, requires continuous updates and vigilant data management, particularly in data routing and storage.

Looking Ahead

The future of IoT in healthcare promises innovation but also complexity. The central challenge remains: How do we effectively harness IoT to advance healthcare? The answer lies in enhancing connectivity among devices, systems, and healthcare professionals to ensure real-time, reliable, and secure data streaming.

With advanced data stream networks and efficient publish/subscribe patterns, PubNub is poised to play a pivotal role in this transformative era of healthcare IoT.