The field of medical sciences is one of the sectors experiencing the most change due to digital transformation. The emergence of connected objects in medicine is contributing to the evolution of practices, so much so that we now speak of connected health. The stakes are high because of the ecosystem involved in these new uses: experimentation, prevention, relationship, treatment, etc. New technologies are at the service of both patients and caregivers. Through simple devices, curative acts become possible thanks to the rise of IoT and virtual and augmented realities.
Connected health: a technological and human challenge
Connected health through the IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) is growing rapidly thanks to applications and objects, such as the connected watch and other medical devices. These devices can be used independently by patients and provide data in real time. Their interest lies both in their predictive aspect and in the discovery of emergencies.
Communicating information and symptoms to your doctor or to the emergency services can save precious time, which can be life-saving. The efficiency of these systems, which integrate intelligent software, makes it possible to rapidly transmit data on a patient’s health status in a comprehensive manner.
Using these devices well in autonomy remains a challenge for both patients and caregivers. Training is required to master this equipment and to use all its capabilities to the fullest.
Deployment and security challenges
Data harmonization and security remain key issues. Interaction between the actors should provide fluidity in the transmission of information.
Deploying protocols and standards would allow for harmonization in the collection and processing of data.
Securing items also requires innovation in cybersecurity. New technologies ensure a secure flow of information. The training of staff and users in these devices is a pillar.
Does connected health also pose an ethical challenge?
Recognizing connected health as ethical remains a challenge insofar as the relationship with the patient most often takes place at a distance and without contact. The usefulness of telemedicine cannot be denied, especially in isolated or underserved areas. In particular, e-health enables user-friendly and non-anxiety-inducing communication. The efficiency of systems serving medical uses remains one of the main challenges of IoMT-connected health.
As such, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) offer diagnoses undetectable during a simple visit to the doctor. For example, VR can cause cognitive impairment in a situation that the patient believes is real. Just as AR helps to limit experimentation on living beings when the doctor can virtually practice risky techniques. The powerful software developed for these applications is the foundation of innovation in science.
IoMT-connected health relies on patient education and monitoring by caregivers. Thanks to it, and with the aim of prevention, emergencies can be avoided in territories that are difficult to access. The actors involved in this ecosystem will have to adapt to the evolution in order to face the public health challenges.