Healthcare Applications using Internet of Things

Healthcare Applications using internet of Things

An ingestible sensor for measuring medication adherence

An ingestible sensor or smart pill is one of the newest applications of IoT in healthcare. By using this technology the medication ingestion and adherence patterns of a patient and other useful health metrics are often measured. Nonadherence with medication may be a very complex and multidimensional healthcare problem that could end in significant complications and deterioration of patient health.

This technology includes a system for detecting the ingestion of a tablet or capsule. The system includes ingestible sensors embedded in tablets, a little wearable sensor patch, a mobile application, and a portal. Once the pill reaches the stomach, a sign is transmitted, which is received by the sensor patch attached to the physical body. The signal is converted to a digital record then sent to the mobile device of the patient then to the cloud system where the doctors and caregivers can access the medical data using their portals.

An ingestible sensor for measuring medication adherence

The sensor is produced after performing several manufacturing processes which combine high-volume semiconductor and pharmaceutical technology. It’s made from edible elements that are normally present during a human diet. The sensor contains three important components performing specific functions, 1) the active layers, 2) the microcircuit, 3) the insulating skirt disk. The IC may be a small-sized CMOS chip of dimensions 1 mm X 1 mm X 0.3 mm. The active layers are deposited directly on the IC using some microfabrication steps. The weather like magnesium, silicon, gold, and copper are deposited during this step.

Then these fabricated ICs are attached to a skirt material using an adhesive by a pick-and-place machine. These sensors are then placed in dye alongside the pharmaceutical powder and pressed to supply the tablets. The active layer in contact with the gastric fluids creates a charge and powers the device. The reactions of various elements within the tablet cause a flow of current which successively generates an electrical field. The insulating skirt (which is formed from a standard pharmaceutical medium like ethylcellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, and triethyl citrate) shapes and amplifies the electrical field which is detected by the wearable receiver patch attached to the human skin.

A code is transmitted by the device which denotes details about the medication and dose. The receiver patch may be an FDA-approved sensor that has the potential of tracking medication taking, steps, activity, rest, and pulse. The patch is meant in such how that it might be easily worn and doesn’t produce any discomfort to the patients. The info tracked down by the patch is then sent to a mobile device and to a cloud system where the health professionals and therefore the caretakers can analyze the health record of the patient. Thus they will check whether the patient adheres to the medical prescriptions made by the doctor.

Ambient Assisted Living

The growth of the older population has caused the necessity of technologies and services to enhance the health, independent living, and quality of life of older people. Ambient assisted living (AAL) refers to intelligent systems of assistance for a far better, healthier, and safer life within the preferred living environment by giving focus to older people. In other words, AAL aims at making the planet a far better place for elderly people using the concepts of the Internet of Things. Research has been done on improving the quality of life of both the elderly people and therefore the supporting staff and physicians. This method combines wearable and mobile technology with which caregivers are often alerted of the hazardous situations to the older people during a house or ambient living facility centers.

The technology was developed supported a survey on Italian Ambient living facilities (ALF) called Residenze Assistenziali Flessibili (RAF). RAFs are health and social care facility centers trying to enhance the standard of living of elderly people. The system was designed taking into account issues like portability, ubiquity, unobtrusiveness, and automatic detection of hazardous situations. The system was figured out in several phases and in RAF (an ambient assisted environment). The system was developed considering many problems that existed in earlier technologies that include the situations where the inhabitants are in need of assistance but aren’t ready to request it thanks to some physical conditions. No automatic detection of the hazardous situation was present within the previous technologies. The sooner system lacked facility which could support caregivers once they are alone.

The situation may arise where one caretaker couldn’t handle the matter and that they could also be in need of assistance from other caregivers. These problems were handled by the system. variety of important requirements were collected and reviewed to get the systems like System ubiquity – The system should support the caregivers no matter their location within the assisted living facility, System portability – The devices should be easily carried around the assisted living facility with none quite discomfort, Robustness of the devices – Device should be water and shock resistant, Automatic detection – Potentially hazardous situations should be detected automatically by the system, Assistance delivery confirmation – The system should confirm that for every requests made by inhabitants, the required assistance has been provided by the caregiver, Unobtrusiveness – The request made by the inhabitants shouldn’t disturb the opposite inhabitants in any way, Emergency call option for caregivers – The system should provide an option for caregiver’s to involve immediate help in emergency situations, Reliability and stability – The system should be safe, stable and reliable and Internet availability – The system is an IoT solution and uses internet for communication. Wearable devices are employed by both the caregiver and therefore the inhabitant. within the system, a sensible watch is employed as they’re more accessible, easy to hold, closer to the body, and features a display.

There are three main components within the system – the inhabitants, the central server, and therefore the caretakers. The inhabitant who is in need of assistance sends a message through his/her smartwatch to the server, which successively sends messages to all or any of the registered caretakers. The implementation of this technology will have a huge impact on the healthcare sector as this may eliminate the complications caused by medical nonadherence. The number of wasted medicines and economical losses incurred also will be reduced. This technology might be improved to include ingestible cameras which could take snapshots of the physical body and thus replace the prevailing endoscopy procedure. The tests wiped out laboratory and on citizenry clearly state that the ingestible technology is safe and efficient but there are many challenges lying ahead, caregivers. These problems were handled by the system. The utilization cases of the system are:

  • The voluntary request of the inhabitant.
  • Automatic request just in case of emergency situation.
  • The request of a caregiver to other caregivers.

In use cases 1 and a couple of an invitation is generated automatically or by the inhabitant who is in need of assistance through the smartwatch. The smartwatch generates an alarm and sends it to the server as textual messages. The server successively sends the message to all or any of the caregivers on duty. Anybody caretaker has got to take hold of things by accepting the request. An acceptance notification is sent to the server and a message is sent to all or any other caretakers about the acceptance of the request. The server temporarily stops the alarm on acceptance of the request. The server periodically checks whether the request is terminated, if not the alarm is resumed. A caretaker can terminate the request by pressing a button on the smartwatch of the inhabitant who has requested assistance. Within the third use case, the caregivers can contact other caregivers just in case of an emergency. Within the implementation of this technique, pebble smartwatches were used, but these devices don’t provide direct internet connectivity. To tackle this problem the watches were paired with smartphones via Bluetooth. The smartphones communicate with the server using HTTP requests, and therefore the server communicates with the clients using the Google Cloud Messaging service. There are two main components within the system,

  • Device for users (both inhabitants and caregivers)
  • Central server

For the users, there is a complete of 4 applications. Two pebble smartphone applications and two paired smartphone applications for both inhabitant and caretaker. The android application works in the background between the smartwatch and therefore the server. It also helps in authenticating whether request termination has been done by the authorized caretaker using Bluetooth low energy proximity, aside from the initial authentication. The smartphone helps in communication between the smartwatch and therefore the server. It also helps in authenticating whether request termination has been done by the authorized caretaker using Bluetooth low energy proximity.

Smartphone Medicine

Smartphones have a really important role in our lifestyle but aren’t much utilized in the sector of healthcare and medicine. Smartphone Medicine technology aims to use smartphones to enhance the healthcare and medical needs of individuals. Nowadays wearable devices like smartwatches, smart bands, smart shoes, etc are often integrated with a sensible phone to live personal bio-metrics like vital signs, pulse, rate of respiration, and blood oxygen concentration. These devices help patients to capture data by themselves and also help them to stay track of important signs and other information using their smartphones. Smartphones also are enabled with real-time data streaming, they act as a hub for connecting many medical diagnostic devices including inexpensive handheld ultrasound technologies like Lumify (Philips Healthcare), and it uses advanced imaging technologies to supply hospital-level diagnostics.

This technique is often employed by trained specialists during a remote area which might help many patients get their regular checkups by not meeting physicians’ in-person. These diagnostic data are often sent to doctors afterward for further analysis. Sensors during a smartphone also provide data regarding the user’s personal environment including weather reports, air quality measurements, and ambient radiations, ultraviolet. Data collected from many smartphones are often wont to provide an assessment regarding environmental exposure risks. Smartphones also help to right away access medical records and test results that a patient has previously undertaken. this will are available handy just in case of emergency situations when all the patient records are required directly, thus doctors are given all the specified medical records in no time and it also helps to save lots of money by not taking unnecessary medical tests.

Interactive M-Health System for Diabetics

Diabetes is currently an incurable disease that needs future treatment and care from the patient and his caretakers. This new system provides two-way communication between patients and therefore the health professionals using Internet of Things technology. This technique lets patient upload their blood-glucose readings to the system database and therefore the abnormalities in these readings are monitored by both health professionals and caretakers. The system consists of a glucometer General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Blood-Glucose Monitor (BGM) which is employed to urge the readings from the patient, a telecare android and iOS application for caretakers for communication between patient, health care provider and caretaker and a cloud server through which of these readings are monitored. The cloud server is that the core of the system because it stores patients’ data and permissions from authorized caretakers. It also includes Abnormal Blood-glucose Level Detection (ABLD) and a Proactive Notification Engine (PNE).

GPRS BGM is an android based two-way communication device. Blood-glucose readings are collected via GPRS BGM in several timings (before/after meals, in the morning then on) and these readings are uploaded to the cloud server using GPRS protocol and XML format. Telecare application offers remote assistance to patients by providing the info of patients’ blood-glucose readings to caretakers. This helps caretakers to stay track of the patient’s condition and if any abnormality is found then the caretaker can take necessary actions as per the recommendation of the health professionals.

Mansoor Ahmed is Chemical Engineer, web developer, a writer currently living in Pakistan. My interests range from technology to web development. I am also interested in programming, writing, and reading.
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