Are you prepared for IoT in Healthcare?

June 20, 2018 Gustavo Herrera

The technology behind the Internet of Things (IoT) has already been developed yet many people are still trying to figure out how to get the most out of it. The healthcare industry has a number of clear use cases but before they can be realized it is important that the industry figures out how to implement IoT in a secure way. 

Some of those use cases are related to the care of the elderly through virtual home assistants and portable diagnostic devices, the growing popularity of wearable devices, and the increasing rate of chronic diseases. All of these require long-term, constant healthcare monitoring, and the growing understanding of how prevention reduces the cost of healthcare. It’s premature to know how—and if— IOT will realize its full potential within the healthcare industry, but forward-thinking healthcare organizations need to ask, are we prepared for the Internet of Things?

How did we get here?
Recent advances in technology have made it possible to develop solutions that were once considered science fiction. Before cloud platforms made their appearance a few years ago, it was unthinkable to connect thousands of remote individual devices to a single API—at least in a way that was both financially and technically sensible. Such scale was reserved to large enterprises running their own data centers, justified by even bigger business scales such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, but not for regular healthcare institutions or providers. 

Now, advances in security have enabled the healthcare industry to use the open internet to process and store Personal Identifiable Information/Personal Health Information (PII/PHI) data. Once the technical capabilities such as encryption mechanisms and physical security were in place, they were added to the standard expectations (SOCII, ISO27001), along with regulations, to make them mandatory (HIPAA and GDPR, for example). 

On top of the scale and the broadly accepted standards, we can now also accept the ubiquity of IoT. In effect, having people connecting personal devices to a single API requires the ability to receive data from wherever they go, and in a global economy it won’t be practical to receive data from one state only—or even one country. Both cloud and standards make possible to receive data from anywhere in the world, allowing healthcare providers to offer services at a global scale.

Once you start handling PII/PHI data at a global scale from thousands of devices, you require the capability to store, analyze and process an enormous volume of data. Again, something that is only possible by using the scale provided by the public cloud (or by having very deep pockets).

Orion Health developed Rhapsody as a Service (RaaS), combining the best-in-class integration engine, Rhapsody, with all of the forward-thinking features required for providers wanting to prepare for, and capitalize on, IoT. 

This includes the world-class integration engine supporting a wide variety and expandable number of standards that are being deployed within a cloud platform that is both scalable and secure. Migrating to RaaS also forges a partnership with a vendor that is subject to the strictest standards and regulations, and shares responsibilities through those standards (HIPAA BAA, GDPR PIA).

However, the best part is that providers get those benefits while saving money— as discussed in previous blogs on Total Cost of Ownership. By moving integration engines to the cloud, providers can be prepared for IoT with the best ally to make the move safely and economically.

To learn more about migrating to the cloud, read the white paper here.

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