Internet of Things-Based Healthcare Applications

Internet of Things-Based Healthcare Applications

Seema Ansari (University of Malaga, Spain & Institute of Business Management, Pakistan), Tahniyat Aslam (Institute of Business Management, Pakistan), Javier Poncela (University of Malaga, Spain), Pablo Otero (University of Malaga, Spain) and Adeel Ansari (Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Pakistan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1253-1.ch001
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The demand for global healthcare systems for human health improvement is ever growing. Internet of things (IoT) has influenced every industry in the market. IoT-based healthcare monitoring systems have emerged using smart gateways between sensor networks and the internet. This chapter aims at focusing on the impact of IoT on healthcare and explores the difference that IoT has made in the recent years. IoT applications in healthcare have helped people keep track of their medical requirements such as reminding them of appointments, keeping a check on calorie count, variations in blood pressure, a check on exercises, and many more. In this chapter, studies of IoT-based healthcare applications are presented. The chapter begins with the introduction and history of IoT in healthcare, sharing state of the art, architecture, applications of IoT in healthcare, advantages, future concerns and challenges, and future of IoT in healthcare, followed by conclusion.
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In 1999, Kevin Ashton invented the term ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). It is referred to electrical equipment of any size or competence that are linked to the Internet for sharing information (Miraz, Ali, Excell, & Picking, 2015). The main concern of IoT is to focus on physical devices that are communicating with each other. ‘Internet of Everything’ (IoE) is considered as a superset of IoT. The term IoE has been used by both CISCO and Qualcomm. (Weissberger, 2014). Qualcomm replaced this term with the IoT.

The IoE is transforming the communication between human beings and devices, and establishing the way that all of them work cooperatively to accessing the services. IoE is based on four pillars of people, data, process and things as shown in Figure 1. Cisco, which first invented IoT, considers that the process gets people, data, and things collectively to create interacted connections more pertinent and valuable. The IoE is assisted by the growth of Cloud Computing, aiding to link “everything” online (Bradley, Loucks, Macaulay, & Noronha, 2013). In 2013, a study by CISCO predicted that in coming next ten years, $14.4 trillion may be utilized by employing IoE with M2M, M2P and P2P.

IoT based healthcare applications connect devices anywhere, with anybody at any time, using a network and services that lead to smart healthcare (Bardram, et al., 2011). A world where the actual and the virtual are uniting to build “smart environments” that creates many domains besides health, such as transportation, energy, living, buildings, cities and industries.

When worn on the body these network sensors collect data about the patients’ health. This information can bring an affirmative change in the healthcare sector, related to medicine, treatment options, reducing the cost with better results. The aim of the Internet of Things is to allow communicating devices to be linked at all times, anywhere with whatever e-device using any network and services. IoT is a novel innovation of the Internet (Vermesan & Friess, 2013). Now, the Internet is not only the computer networks, but it has advanced into a network of several devices of different types and sizes, that are linked and communicated continuously all the time.

Figure 1.

Internet of everything (Cisco)


As defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), (ITU-T /Y.2060) report, IoT comprises a universal framework for connecting physical and virtual devices or things on current and evolving communication technologies. IoT offers facilities including identifications, processing and capturing of data by ensuring the requirement of confidentiality and security.

Vision of IoT is to facilitate the healthcare sector, by developing a link to provide a novel service of life changing and improving. It has brought financial and societal advantages to the individuals, inhabitants, governments, and business with cutting-edge and enhanced services. IoT can be recognized as a vision with complete implementation of social and technological implications.

Regardless of the advancements, IoT in the Healthcare sector has paved the way for numerous possibilities to leverage from and challenges to be focused. According to forecast of the market, the IoT Healthcare Market is worth of $158.07 billion with 50 billion associated equipment’s and devices by 2020. The expected IoT development in healthcare affords the capability to respond with speed and influences the entire community or a nation. (Rao, 2018)

IoT European Research Cluster (IERC) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) defined, IoT as a worldwide architectural network of communicating devices with different identities, specifications, standards, interfaces and communication protocols integrated into a common infrastructure (Internet of Things - IERC, 2014).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tracking: The act or process of following something or someone continuously is known as tracking.

6LoWPAN (IPv6 low power personal area networks): It is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), defined protocol that provides connectivity between wireless sensor networks and internet providing support to IPv6 using IEEE 802.15.4. It denotes a wireless link for low power personal area networks (LoWPANs). These networks are categorized by their more restricted abilities than other WPANs (e.g. Bluetooth) and WLANs (e.g.WiFi), they have small frame size, low data rate, low bandwidth, and low transmit power.

Protocols: Protocols are a set of rules and regulations that governs the communications between computers or communicating devices on a network.

Patients Surveillance: Continuous monitoring of a patient’s condition.

Machine to Machine (M2M) Communication: It is defined as a direct communication between devices. The communication channels can either be wired or wireless.

Ambient Assisted Living (AAL): AAL is capable of providing assistance services to the aged and handicapped patients by continuous activity monitoring and getting access to medical support.

Smart Devices: It is refer to electronic devices, connected with other devices and networks by different wireless protocol. The term smart devices also denotes to a ubiquitous computing devices.

Security: Security refers to all actions that are taken to protect a person or place from a danger or threat.

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