Top 4 Challenges of Medical IoT Platforms

The Internet of Medical Things (or IoMT) is becoming the next big thing in the healthcare industry. There are countless examples of IoT use cases in healthcare that demonstrate just how versatile this technology can be. Its ability to collect, transfer, centralize, and synthesize health data has the potential to revolutionize the way patients are diagnosed and treated as well as how medical research is conducted. 

However, while the IoMT has the ability to drastically improve patient care, it also comes with unique challenges. Medical devices are subject to very strict standards regarding their design, performance, and reliability, particularly when they are connected to a larger network. This blog will discuss the opportunities this technology will bring as well as the difficulties that it may pose.

Top Challenges of IoMT Transformation

Medical IoT solutions are becoming increasingly common as the years go by. Deloitte estimates that by the end of 2023, approximately 68% of all medical devices will be connected to some sort of network. 

The speed with which this technology is being adopted makes it all the more important for clinicians to find an IoMT platform that works for them. The following four challenges are something that you are most likely to face when attempting to implement one at your own healthcare facility.

1. Data Protection 

Due to its sensitive nature, individuals’ medical data (also called Protected Health Information or PHI) must be extremely well-guarded. Regulations such as HIPAA govern clinicians' obligations regarding the collection, storage, and application of patient data. Unfortunately, cybersecurity incidents are still commonplace in healthcare. According to Herjavec Group, more than 93% of healthcare organizations experienced a data breach of some kind in the three years leading up to 2020. 

An IoT network has dozens of vulnerabilities embedded in it, and these weak spots cannot be removed without compromising the functionality of the devices. While standard cloud service providers such as AWS and Google Cloud claim to employ advanced measures to protect users’ data, these statements only apply to the underlying infrastructure. The IoT application itself must also be fully secure and HIPAA-compliant to protect patients’ data and reduce your liability.  

Using a dedicated medical IoT platform is the best way to ensure that you can keep your patients’ data safe. Medical device platforms like BioT are built specifically to meet the latest healthcare data protection requirements and are continually updated with the latest security protocols to guard against cyberattacks. 

2. Regulatory Compliance 

Many medical IoT devices may cause harm to patients if they are faulty or misused, so they must be designed with patient safety foremost in mind. Software intended for medical purposes must conform to strict standards established by several regulatory bodies, including the ISO and the FDA. There are also standalone laws that govern accepted practices in the medical software industry, such as the GDPR and the CCPA. 

What does this mean in practice? Here are a few specific examples of the rules that medical software companies must follow: 

  • IEC 62304 establishes standards for medical software lifecycle processes from development and configuration to maintenance and problem resolution.  
  • ISO 13485:2016 outlines the requirements for quality management systems for medical devices and related services, ensuring that manufacturers remain responsive to changes in regulations or consumer needs. 
  • ISO 14971:2019 outlines the accepted risk management process for medical device manufacturers to ensure patient safety.  
  • 21 CFR Part 11 defines the FDA’s requirements for the handling of medical records. 

There are few generic off-the-shelf IoT solutions that meet all of these criteria. Using specialized IoMT solutions like BioT ensures that your system conforms to the extensive legal requirements of the healthcare industry. 

3. Technological Limitations 

Medical IoT devices show incredible promise, but their performance is often hindered by the limitations of the technologies that support them. If the software platform being used to store and analyze the data is not sufficiently powerful, the data cannot be used to provide the up-to-the-minute insights that make the IoMT so promising. 

Cutting-edge medical IoT platforms allow IoMT applications to collect and analyze health data in real time. This allows for more reliable data collection and far greater responsiveness when patients bring up health concerns.

Using these solutions, a patient’s health complaint can be investigated, diagnosed, and treated in as little as a few hours. Such short turnaround times can make a critical difference in patient outcomes. 

4. Software Updates 

All internet-connected devices require periodic software updates to resolve bugs, add new features, and maintain functionality. However, the software that powers medical devices in IoT cannot be updated using the same spontaneous over-the-air (OTA) updates that are routinely sent out to smartphones and other personal devices. While being unable to use your phone for a few minutes is nothing more than a minor inconvenience, any unplanned medical device outages could potentially cause grievous harm to patients.  

Software updates for medical devices must be done with the utmost care to ensure that security standards remain in place during the update and that downtime is minimized.

Leading medical device platforms like BioT are designed with these needs in mind. Users receive frequent updates to maximize security and utility, but these are delivered safely, securely, and confidentially. They can also be installed remotely to ensure that they remain accessible to patients regardless of their technological skill. 

Unlocking the Potential of the IoMT

IoMT applications are unquestionably the future of healthcare, and the right platform can make them exponentially more useful for clinicians and patients alike.

Our IoMT platform can help you overcome the issues you may face when implementing IoT technology in your healthcare facility. Contact us today to learn more about BioT and how it can help you provide better patient care through data analysis. 

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