The Ways IoT Medical Devices Can Fight Cardiovascular Diseases
Statistics, as usual, are firm in their resilience. Cardiovascular diseases are the most common health problems in the world, and this is the main and most widespread cause of death. American Heart Association researched that 2300 persons die from cardiovascular diseases each day only in U.S., and this number is even more shocking on a global level. The World Health Organization reported that heart attacks and strokes are 85% of all deaths from CVD. This situation could be truly frightening, but modern technologies make it possible to fight even with such a strong rival as death from heart disease.
What Are the Leading Causes of CVD?
The cardiovascular system was formed in the process of evolution in order to easily carry significant loads. Getting food and other resources, surviving in harsh conditions, fighting against nature, predators and competitors required strong muscles and nerves, constant physical exertion, endurance and the ability to be content with scarce food. Civilization has changed everything, and now cardiovascular diseases can develop for various reasons. Bad habits, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of sleep and poor ecology lead among them. However, there are still factors such as age, heredity, and congenital heart pathologies. What’s worse, in most cases heart attacks occur suddenly. IOT with heart disease solutions are able to help people who are at risk and make their life better and longer.
How IoT is Helping with the Heart Disease Treatment: Opportunities That Are Already Realized
The Internet of Things will be one of the important trends in future, it can affect the
networking, business and communication. Being embedded in the healthcare sector, it’s a multitasking technology that allows doctors to prevent critical states, monitor the patient's health in real time, whose disease is in remission, as well as help the patient recover all body functions after an attack.
#1 Heart Disease Monitoring With IoT
It all started with the use of smart wristwear, which over time became full-fledged gadgets for health control, helping to track down the patient's condition and replacing regular visits to the doctor. Today, the Internet of Things allows diagnostics at home, saving time. Thus, devices for counting steps and monitoring sleep very quickly evolved into gadgets for measuring pulse and blood pressure levels. For example, Cambridge Consultants has created a Flow Health Hub device that monitors blood sugar, cholesterol, and measures pressure. The doctor receives all the information in real time and can adjust the course of treatment or prevention.
#2 IOT Heart Attack Detection
IoT medical devices promise to make a real revolution in the life of patients with CVD. The main task that can be performed to prevent critical states is to continuously monitor the patient’s condition with the help of heart disease monitoring of IoT system. Internet of Things devices may warn their owners about the formation of blood clots even before the situation becomes irreversible. In addition to the fact that IoT predicts heart attack in this way, more thoughtful systems also monitor the state of all body functions, record heart rate, physical activity and calories consumed in order to give doctors a complete picture of health status and further treatment. Thus, the IoT-based heart disease monitoring system can literally fight cardiovascular mortality at a level that humanity has not yet known.
#3 Recovery after Stroke
Impact of IoT on Heart Disease is not limited to a warning about a change in the state of the heart and blood vessels. New technologies also help patients recover from the disease. So, scientists from Shirley Ryan Ability Lab have developed wearable sensors that monitor the rehabilitation process. Previously, the patient's condition was monitored using dozens of wires, and the patient himself was actually tied by them to a hospital bed. Flexible wearable devices developed by scientists, change this situation, allowing doctors and patients to obtain accurate data from different parts of the body without the need for wires. All data is systematized through the accompanying application. With it, doctors can set goals, track recovery progress, and create alerts that notify the patient how well he is doing with key recovery indicators.
#4 IoT Pacemakers
The installation of a permanent pacemaker is a small surgical procedure. The meaning of the operation is to conduct a vein of one or more electrodes into the heart chambers, followed by fixation of the pacemaker's body in the subcutaneous tissue on the chest. Such devices based on IoT technology, being hypersensitive, are certainly giving thousands of people a chance to maintain a normal life. However, this type of devices causes the greatest concern among researches because with external intervention its owner can be killed in a split second.
Security Question - How to Protect the Heart from a Sudden Stop caused by Hackers
Despite all the advantages that IoT provides for the control and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, the medical and pharmaceutical fields remain the most vulnerable areas in terms of data transfer security.
For example, several years ago, a vulnerability was discovered in the work of insulin pumps of Johnson & Johnson. Through this vulnerability, attackers can get control of the device via Wi-fi from a distance of about seven meters and provoke an overdose of insulin in the patient’s blood. This, in turn, can lead to irreparable health effects. The vulnerability was also detected in the Merlin @ Home system, which provides pacemakers. There was a similar situation with Sant Jude Medical pacemakers as well when the devices have been recalled due to the hacking risk. It turned out that almost any request could be sent to them, even to forcefully stop the heart of the device owner. In addition, hackers also do not feel free to steal personal data of hospital patients with a view to their further sale on the black market.
How Does It Work Technically?
Technically, IoT health monitoring applications are being developed at three levels.
- The first level is the sensitive layer, that is, the technologies that make it possible to read the patient's vital indicators.
- The second level is the transport layer. This is a chain that provides data transmission through the so-called transit points - various communication technology devices.
- The third level is the application layer, which is installed on the end device. With the help of such applications, doctors receive information about the patient's state of health in a systematic and constantly updated form.
Is It Worth Investing in IoT Devices for Heart Diseases
Currently, health monitoring systems are a very relevant research topic.It is predicted by Statista that amount of healthcare IoT devices will reach 161 mln by 2020. For comparison, this indicator was only 46 mln in 2015, so we can observe an almost fourfold increase in five years. This is not surprising since modern innovations really save lives, and this is a promising area for development and investment. The efficiency of data processing achieved by medical wearables is getting to the point where this consumer-oriented side of the IoT technology will bring exceptional value to our lives and become a new fashion along the way. However, when developing any solution for the healthcare sector, it is necessary to act on the principle “do no harm” and the issue of security should be a key element of any idea.
We, at Archer Software, have significant experience in healthcare solutions development. We have already come up with the system for a neurodiagnostic device and pain management solution.
Feel free to share your ideas of IoT devices to monitor heart development, and be sure that together we will be able to create a really useful and secure solution. Let’s get in touch and discuss it!