An Overview of Internet of Things in Healthcare


Human life in today’s world is totally driven by the internet and their applications. The broad range application of the internet includes the method by which most of the electronic devices can connect to the remote location on the internet and could be used from the remote location. The basic concept of IoT (Internet of Things) includes the various types of sensors, which have the capability to record the data using the networks. These networks help in the recording of the obtained data and the controlling of the connected devices. In this era of technology, IoT is highly demanding in the field of healthcare, manufacturing, and various industrial purposes [I]. If we think about the overall functioning of any device with IoT infrastructure or without IoT infrastructure, then there is no basic difference. The main purpose of the IoT is to develop things in a lightweight and smarter way. The designing of sensors in IoT is different as compared to commonly used sensors. There are so many sensors available according to their need and design. In this chapter, the authors have explained the methods of IoT, wireless sensors, application of IoT in healthcare, its challenges, its requirements, and the various sensors used in this method.

With the IoT, nowadays it is considered as one of the most important, newest, and fastest spreading mechanisms in the communication area. IoT consists of devices and integrating sensors at daily smart objects that are linked to the internet through wireless sensor networks (WSNs) that lead to opening the door to new methods of exchanging the data, which were not possible before. IoT has several applications, and one of the most effective areas is E-health or smart healthcare. In this application, radio frequencies based on w'ireless networking technology and wearable sensors are connected to the base station [2]. Currently, a great number of researchers are learning IoT applications in the E-health field. E-health terms had been recently established, which handles management of healthcare with the backing of electronic communication and processes techniques. E-health systems, such as wearable devices and cell phones, provide continuous monitoring of patients. Thus, this will provide many advantages like cost saving, transportation, insurance costs, and services of healthcare providers. Therefore, this will lead to achieving the goal of facilitating secure interactions among healthcare providers and patients, which will lead to better quality of healthcare, and save the time of patients [3]. E-health applications are a point to hack data, and increasing issues of security aspects are rising in numbers, and because critical data are sent through E-medical records, also because of the growing of user- wearable technology [4]. So, the main concern of IoT is the high level of security that is needed to keep all the communications secured. The concerns of security are extended due to the rapid deployment of IoT [5]. At IoT, security is mainly part of E-health applications, which provide a high level of security for medical data [6]. There is a need for more efforts and more researchers to handle the security problems. However, many of the researchers had searched about an open issue at IoT [7]. Researchers aim to meet the requirements for making security a major factor to build IoT E-health applications to protect data communication mechanisms [8].

Internet of Things

The IoT is the most effective area of research, where sensor nodes and smart devices can collect the information from different sources and communicate with the server without human involvement. In IoT, the main important concept is WSNs, in which data are shared and communicated with the help of sensor nodes. These sensor nodes are distributed randomly in the specified areas for collecting and sensing the information of different parameters. The IoT is a combination of nodes and sensors known as “things.” It refers to a node, device, or sensor that measures the physical quantity and converts it into the digital quantity [9]. It includes many applications like agriculture, military, home office automation [10], E-health, weather forecasting, monitoring and controlling systems, etc. Global Positioning System (GPS) works on the same technique and can be the solution to all of these applications, but the cost of GPS is very high and it consumes very high energy power. So this area has many numbers of researchers who are looking to optimize these services. This is directly involved in collecting and monitoring the information of sensors over the cloud internet. The important components of IoT are radio-frequency identification (RFID) and WSN. RFID gives the permission of automatic identification and capturing of data by using radio frequencies through tags and a reader. These tags are very powerful as compared to the traditional barcodes [10]. IoT is useful and involved almost everywhere. There are a few areas of applications shown in Figure 2.1(a).

Wireless Sensor Network

WSNs are the collection of distributed sensor nodes that can be used for multiple applications, like E-health, smart agriculture, military, weather management systems, environmental controlling systems, etc. [11]. Sensors are the main components of WSNs and they are distributed in an ad hoc manner. Sensors include sensor subsystem, processing system, and communication system. Every sensor has a base system and connects with the internet for communicating and sharing the information. There are many routing algorithms designed according to the requirements of the system. Each routing protocol is different from one another and has its own applications and limitations; it can be used according to specific work [12]. In Figure 2.1(b) shows the structure of WSN.

Body Area Sensor Network

A WSN contains an associated field known as a wireless body area sensor. Once the WSN has reached at a high level of development, the latest incoming wireless body area sensor network has inherited its place. These techniques become possible due to its small size components and technological enhancements. This technology gains the recognition due to the up gradation of the technical event and easy-to-use wireless technology. The healthcare sector has provided this technology with significant attention in recent days [13]. The microsensors are the driving force of this technology. The microsensors could easily be placed on the human or physical body to monitor the various physiological parameters. These parameters could be sent to other devices for the further analysis purpose or for taking any decision on the output. This technology is a valuable asset for the healthcare sector because it could be used for the disease diagnosis and could also function as an alarm system for such complicated diseases for the precaution purposes. The intent of this study is to present the various state-of-art aspects of the wireless body area sensor and its architecture, its framework of programming, security concerns, its routing protocols, and its application. Figure 2.1(c) depicts the framework of body area sensor network.

Smart Healthcare

Though the modern healthcare system is fully equipped, still it is facing the overburden due to the steady increase in the elderly population and development of chronic

disease conditions from the acute stage conditions. This situation has caused the high demand of the medical professionals throughout the globe [14]. The healthcare practitioners are looking for a solution to overcome this burden to facilitate the quality services to critical patients through the remote location using the technology.

The new technology of this era known as IoT came in knowledge to cope with the solution from this problem. IoT became the area of research for the various aspects in the recent clays. The thrust area of this study is mainly focused on the patients suffering from the diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Another part of research is mainly focused on the rehabilitation process by which the monitoring of the patients can be performed for the specific purposes. Figure 2.1(d) [14] depicts the process of internet connections supporting the healthcare mechanism.

This chapter brings out the exhaustive survey of IoT and IoT in healthcare [15]. The scope of this chapter is to provide a brief idea about IoT, its application, architecture, components, challenges, and the IoT-based healthcare system.

The remaining chapter structure is as follows: Section 2.2 includes a detailed related work of IoT, body area sensor network, and smart healthcare. Section 2.3 includes a detailed survey of IoT, like its architecture, components, challenges, applications, sensors, and many other related things. Section 2.4 includes IoT in healthcare; in this section the authors discuss how IoT is involved in healthcare, how it reduces the complexities of traditional healthcare, which technologies are important in IoT-based healthcare, and what the limitations of smart healthcare are. Section 2.5 discusses about the future scope, and Section 2.6 concludes the work.


The advancement of IoT provides the reasonable methods for the remote health monitoring. The mechanism of remote health monitoring provides the method of monitoring non-critical patients at their place, which helps in the reduction of the pressure from the hospitals and the medical practitioners. This mechanism plays an important part in the life of persons belonging to the rural areas and those who lack access to the healthcare facilities. This technology provides the better option for such people or elderly people to provide better healthcare facility at their end. IoT has provided a new opportunity to the persons to take care of their own health and reduce the burden on the healthcare resources in the short time span [16]. Every technology comes with some drawbacks, and the main drawback of the IoT technology is the safety risk. The remote health monitoring system is incapable in the situation when the sensor loses connection or the patient moves out from the cellular range or the battery of the sensor drains out. The other drawback is the database security and data sensitivity, because all the data get stored in the single database [17]. All the drawbacks of the IoT could be addressed and the proper solution could be found out. This study has highlighted such methods throughout the work.

In [18] the authors state that the IoT may be a platform where devices, processing, and communication became smarter, intelligent, and informative. In this paper, the authors give a concise discussion about the architecture of IoT and the connected scenarios for different physical devices for creating a network. This paper also gives the idea about the related tools, technologies, methodologies, and the requirements of the developers.

In [19] the authors indicate a network in which physical objects or devices are able to collect and share electronic information. The IoT network contains a wide set of smart devices, sensors, and actuators, which transfer data over the network through IoT applications. The extension of IoT applications and wireless technologies is leading to a new opportunity for the growth of various important fields, known as enterprise, education, agriculture, transportation, and a very important field, namely healthcare. In this paper the author discusses the importance of IoT, as well as the security issues and authentication of connected objects and exchanging data. The author proposed a secure and authentication scheme with group nodes for IoT-based smart healthcare application. This paper also focuses toward the proper energy utilization of devices or sensor nodes.

In [20] the authors have explained in the research work about the outfitted sensors, which are connected to each other for better communication. This method provides the result in a simultaneous manner. The authors also highlighted the thought about the technology to make this technology more robust and powerful. They have also discussed the exhaustiveness of the technology and its broad range sensors and its applications.

In [21] the authors have talked about the quick enlargement of IoT technology that provides the connections among the different smart objects through the internet, and these connections provide interconnection among the objects to gather more data to provide better healthcare facility. The authors have also discussed the semantic data model and proposed the method that discussed about the storage and interpretation of the data obtained by the interconnections of the model.

In [22] the authors have explained the method using the concept of cloud computing, that provides the method of handling the massive data obtained through the various interconnected sensors. This helps in the sharing of information through the IoT network to make healthcare service more reliable. The authors have also explained the newly developed method of cloud computing, along with the IoT technology to provide better healthcare services.

In [23] the author explained about the wireless body area sensor network. This is a subfield of a WSN. The author had also discussed about the architecture of communication networks, its applications, and the security issues, along with the routing protocols with energy-efficient functions. The microscale of sensors provides the better output for the modern healthcare.

In [24] the authors explained the energy constraint of the IoT network. They have sketched out the narrowband IoT (NBIoT) for the healthcare sector. They have also provided the various implementable proposals for the NBIoT for the healthcare sector. The designed protocol was made compatible with the Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform. The NBIoT faces the main challenges related to the security concern, but the authors have handled this problem very smoothly and came out with the solution of this problem.

In [25] the authors have shed the light on the healthcare monitoring system on the issue of elderly populations in the community. The authors have explained point-wise issues of the IoT system, including the standard architecture model and its application, along with the future and scope of the IoT in the field of healthcare sector.

In [26] the authors have defined the BSN (body sensor network) technologies for the designing of the small-scale and light-weighted sensors for the better diagnosis of the patients located at the remote location. This could be possible by the proposed method, which helps in the monitoring the various parameters of patients connected with the sensors. The authors have discussed in their paper regarding the BSN-based modern healthcare system. The method of BSN care had been proposed, which provides the secure IoT-based healthcare system for the better outcome in the field of healthcare monitoring system.

In [27] the authors have discussed about the mobile medical devices, which are feasible to take decision according to the need. The device is equipped with the biomedical sensors, cloud computing methods, and the concept of big data analysis to manage the E-health monitoring system. The authors explained the new methods of security scheme for the E-healthcare management. The schema provides the mechanism in which a local station is set up, which connects with the hospital server, and both the networks authenticate the obtained data and secure the collection of healthcare data. The main feature of this proposed schema is lightweight, and secure from the different types of attacks.

In [28] the authors demonstrate the communication between the smart devices and the mobile, which is android-based. The devices are connected via the Bluetooth network and the data stored on the cloud. This paper discusses about the method that helps in the catering of the admitted patient’s data on the mobile devices. This proposed scheme helps medical practitioners to communicate with several patients at the same time, which reduces the physical burden from the healthcare system.

In [29] the authors have proposed a method in which the physiological parameters could be monitored after every 10 seconds. The connected sensors collect the various physiological parameters, such as body temperature, pulse rate, heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG signals, etc. Once the data have been collected, the sensors analyze the data and resolve the errors if any, and they also replace the missing values if present. The signal is sent to the control system and also sends a message to the doctor immediately once after the sensors detect any problem. The major advantage of this system is the consumption of less power supply, high-speed process of communication coverage, and the security and privacy of the patients’ obtained data. The secure IoT communication is highly encrypted with an advanced encrypted technique.

In [30] the authors discuss about the superfluity of wireless body area network (WBAN) applications and network construction. Data collection, data transmission, and data analysis are the important phases of IoT. This paper also classifies the purpose of routing protocols and its use according to the use.

In [31] the privacy and security of the patient’s data is a main concern in the field of IoT. The author had explained the design, which is highly secured and guaranteed to the seclusion of the patients’ information, and also proposed the method of exchange of data from the clouds. These secure methods help the healthcare centers and the doctors to manage the data securely from the remote location and provide the better healthcare. The data can be saved and retrieved from the regular basis from the cloud and the healthcare centers. This approach provides the doctors a new method to check the regular health status of the patients and can provide the better solution for the problem and can also check the progress of the patients.

All these research studies have shown that IoT is very much successful in the healthcare sector and provides an enhanced version of E-healthcare. Still, there are many limitations.

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