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  • Abigail Kim

The Promising Nature of IoT Medical Devices

Updated: Dec 11, 2021

by Abigail Kim

 

Internet-of-Things (IoT) is one of the most promising computer technologies in the modern

world. More scientists are beginning to direct their attention to researching IoT; because IoT

is an intersection of various scientific fields, it requires a comprehensive study. Despite its

promising nature, not many people clearly understand what they are, how they work, and

what challenges currently limit its usage in our daily lives. Therefore, it is crucial for

people to begin educating themselves of the advantages and challenges of these devices, as

they may soon function as an important part of our society.


IoT technology is a wireless connection technology that can connect many different devices

to the Internet seamlessly. However, what makes IoT stand out from existing wireless

connection technologies is its connection coverage and application. First, in terms of

coverage, IoT can connect many different types of devices to the Internet, including wearable

devices, smart phones, smart speakers, game machines, TVs, computers, and even cars. In

terms of application, this tool can take on the advantages of various different devices. For

example, when a person asks his or her smart watch about today’s weather, the watch

automatically connects to the Internet in order to extract information, and then connects to a

TV to show the weather information on the screen. This is an example of an IoT service that

connects three different devices: the smart watch, the TV, and the Internet.


Due to these huge advantages of IoT technology, it can also be applied to the healthcare

industry. They are many ways in which connecting various technological devices can benefit

doctors and patients. One health issue IoT can mitigate is the management of drug adherence. According to a research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017, only 25 to 30 percent of drugs prescribed by doctors are taken properly and only around 50 percent of patients take their medicine regularly. This drug nonadherence is becoming a serious problem in medical treatment. Based on a recent proposal, a promising

IoT solution known as ‘digital drug’ seems to solve this problem effectively. A digital

medicine contains an extremely small ingestible sensor inside. When a patient takes this

digital drug, the patient’s wearable monitoring device attached to his or her stomach will

detect the consumption by sensing the drug’s inside sensor. Thus, the monitored information

will be automatically recorded in the patient’s smartphone and sent to doctors. In this manner,

the patients will not make any mistake in consuming the appropriate number of drugs, and the

doctors will be able to track exactly when the patients consume their drugs.


Despite the advantages of medical IoT devices, researchers have yet to find solutions to two

of its most fundamental issues: cost and reliability. For example, the prices of digital drugs

are not similar to those of ordinary drugs; building a digestible digital sensor within a drug

means that the price of an IOT drug easily outweighs the cost of a typical drug. In addition, if

the sensor or the monitor device makes a mistake, patients may consume an inappropriate

number of drugs, and doctors will make incorrect medical decisions.


As a result, the uncertainty surrounding cost and reliability of IoT devices means that they are

currently not safe enough to be fully utilized in our daily lives. However, there is still

hope—experts consider IoT medical devices as a promising method of efficiently monitoring

patients. They also form the intersection between many different scientific fields, such as

technology, medicine, and health, which may be the reason finding a solution to the two

challenges of IoT can have a hugely positive impact on our society.

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