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Healthcare IoT Sensor Solution Remotely Collects Wearable Data

PAREXEL's new healthcare IoT sensor solution collects and communicates data from patient wearables for more easily managed and monitored clinical trials.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- PAREXEL announced the launch of its patient healthcare Internet of Things (IoT) sensor solution that securely captures, transmits, stores, and visualizes patient data for clinical trials.

The company’s new release is powered by the Perceptive MyTrials platform and enables end-to-end services and technology, letting healthcare organizations remotely collect subject data using medical devices.

Healthcare organizations are exploring wearable devices as a more efficient way to collect patient data. Wearables and sensors could replace or reduce the number of on-site clinical assessments and visits during clinical trials. This could potentially attract more patients to participate in clinical trials because of convenience, widening the pool of results.

Wearables and sensors can also collect data more often if organizations are using cloud storage. Wearable devices can collect data from the subject constantly, providing researchers with more in-depth data and real-time insights into patient behavior.

Less on-premise patient visits can also save organizations money on trial costs, allowing them to conduct more and longer trials.

PAREXEL’s solution gives organizations the ability to collect sensor-based data without contracting separate solutions for wearable third party devices to leverage sensors in clinical studies.

“Due to evolving regulatory and payer standards in today’s healthcare market, there is a growing need to leverage alternative data sources in clinical trials,” PAREXEL Informatics President Xavier Flinois said in a statement. “Wearables and sensors have the potential to transform Phase I-IV trials as well as observational studies. However, infrastructure and multi-functional expertise are needed to validate the appropriate use of medical devices to generate clinical and quality-of-life endpoints.”

The healthcare industry is exploring the value of wearable and IoT sensors to monitor patient data. A recent Research and Markets report attributed the projected growth to the increase of connected IoT devices across all industries. The healthcare industry in particular has a need for IoT sensors to monitor patient devices and connected medical devices.

Research and Markets report analysts said the main drivers for IoT sensors were the growing awareness towards health and various implemented health IT infrastructure advancements that have been widely adopted over the past year.

While integrating IoT wearables and sensors into health IT infrastructure has many benefits for clinicians and patients, organizations need to prepare for the strains these devices can put on network capacity and security.

“An average hospital room will have between 15 and 20 medical devices, and almost all of them will be networked,” Aruba Networks Product Marketing Manager Rick Reid told HITInfrastructure.com. “That’s a pretty high density if you think about the size of an ICU room, which is usually about 15’x15’ with 20 devices in it - and the room next door has 20 devices in it. A ward typically has 20 beds, so that’s quite a lot of devices in a relatively small area.”

Organizations can be dealing with thousands of IoT devices accessing the network and each needs to be approved to communicate with the datacenter.

When it comes to patient wearables for clinical trials and patient monitoring, healthcare organizations need a network sophisticated enough to determine why each device is communicating with the network, what information is it looking to access, and determine how to prioritize that communication.

Patients communicating information to the datacenter from their homes will need a secure way to access the network and the device must be secured against harmful attacks. Even wearables with minimal interface can still be hacked and used to hijack a network.

Healthcare organizations will inevitably have to accommodate securing and connecting IoT devices as more uses for them become apparent.