IoT and personalised healthcare

IoT and personalised healthcare

November 21, 2023

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The advances made in Internet of Things (IoT) technology have been highly beneficial to the field of healthcare. With medical devices collecting more reliable data more quickly, IoT technology and personalised healthcare go hand in hand to give users a better quality of life.

Since the Internet of Things is a technology that brings together physical objects and software connected to the network, it becomes easier and quicker to collect data from patients and then store and analyse it. This is how personalised healthcare can provide the right healthcare for each patient.

It is also because of the rapid collection of data and adjustment of care that the market for IoT solutions in healthcare facilities has increased year on year and is already expected to continue to grow. This technological subcategory is also called the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), as it is designed for a medical purpose.

In this article, we will review what personalised healthcare is and how it relates to and is driven by IoT technology.


Table of Contents

What is personalised healthcare?


How are IoT and personalised healthcare related?


The future of the IoT and personalised healthcare relationship


What is personalised healthcare?

Also known as precision healthcare, personalised healthcare is an approach to healthcare that relies on personal data to provide more tailored care for each person. This approach therefore designs treatments according to each patient’s needs.

By having a detailed analysis of each person’s data and history, from lifestyle to genetics, healthcare professionals linked to this medical approach can advise more precise treatments and prophylactic care, at less cost to patients and with better results. What’s more, they are also able to educate their patients about the care they should take in the future.

By collecting and analysing data, it is possible to get a better idea of how a given patient will react to a specific treatment, what its success rate will be and whether they are predisposed to developing any pathologies.

Personalised healthcare is also used to diagnose health conditions at an early stage using molecular markers.

To be able to collect data quickly and reliably, IoT and personalised healthcare go hand in hand.


How are IoT and personalised healthcare related?

Since IoT allows data to be collected in real-time and monitored, this technology opens up new possibilities for immediate and prophylactic healthcare.

With the integration of generative AI and the Internet of Things, the results of healthcare treatments are getting better and better. This is achieved by using mobile devices with sensors that users wear on their bodies (just as they do with smartwatches and other fitness trackers), which alert them to potential health problems.

The IoMT is also integrated with other remote monitoring devices, which send patient data to health centres and professionals in real-time. This makes it possible to intervene when it’s most needed and in a personalised way, and to improve healthcare provision itself.

In addition to these, there are already devices that combine IoT and personalised healthcare to create a smart home environment, so that users have a healthier space, vital signs and medication can be monitored, for example, and health professionals can be alerted in the event of a crisis.

As for monitoring and analysing users’ health data, this is done using Machine Learning algorithms to subsequently provide medical recommendations.


What kind of health data does IoT generate?

IoT devices can collect different types of data to suggest prophylactic health care or alert health organisations in the event of a crisis. As such, the data generated by IoMT can be related to:

  • Vital signs such as temperature, heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Sleep patterns.
  • Glucose levels, especially to monitor levels in diabetic patients.
  • Prescribed medication, reminding users when to take it and keeping a record of the results.
  • Physical activity and healthy habits.
  • Environmental context, by monitoring air quality and outside temperature.


IoT and personalised healthcare – Pros and cons

Like all technologies, and because it is still being implemented and evolving, IoT for personalised healthcare has numerous advantages and disadvantages.

These devices are advantageous for this approach to healthcare, as they are tools that help it achieve its goal: to improve healthcare and adapt it to each patient. By collecting and monitoring data, the IoT can suggest non-evasive treatments, alert authorities and prevent readmissions to healthcare facilities.

What’s more, mobile devices with the Internet of Things can monitor patients at risk and alert health professionals in the event of a crisis or accident.

In this way, this technology combined with personalised healthcare contributes to improving the quality of life of chronically ill patients, but also of citizens who just want to increase their well-being and live a healthier life.

The Internet of Medical Things is constantly evolving and developing to mitigate the disadvantages it is still associated with. One of the obstacles to implementing more IoMT devices is related to cybersecurity issues since these devices collect data, and send it for processing and storage. This patient data is sensitive information and must therefore be protected and treated confidentially.

In addition to cybersecurity, this technology also has high associated costs, so it is not within the reach of just any healthcare unit or patient.


The future of the IoT and personalised healthcare relationship

As one of the most essential tools in personalised healthcare, the Internet of Things is helping to build a more targeted medical approach to treatments tailored to each patient.

The future for IoT and personalised healthcare is promising, as technological advances in this area have not stopped. More and more mobile data collection devices are being developed and launched onto the market. Combined with Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, these devices will make a difference in the accuracy of diagnoses and less evasive and more successful treatments.

In this way, it will be possible and even faster to assess a patient’s state of health remotely and in real-time and to prescribe personalised treatment.

What’s more, healthcare professionals will be able to use AI and IoMT algorithms to predict possible health conditions and prescribe prophylactic treatments.