Reimagining Healthcare with Azure IoT

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Providers, payors, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences companies are leading the next wave of healthcare innovation by utilizing connected devices. From continuous patient monitoring, to optimizing operations for manufacturers and cold-chain supply tracking for the pharmaceutical industry, the healthcare industry has embraced IoT technology to improve patient outcomes and operations.

In our latest IoT Signals for Healthcare research, we spoke with over 150 health organizations about the role that IoT will play in helping them deliver better health outcomes in the years to come. Across the ecosystem, 85 percent see IoT as “critical” to their success, with 78 percent planning to increase their investment in IoT technologies over the next few years. Real-time data from connected devices and sensors provides benefits across the health ecosystem, from manufacturers and pharmaceuticals to health providers and patients.

For health providers, IoT unlocks efficiencies for clinical staff and equipment:

  • Reduces human error.
  • Ensures regulatory compliance when exchanging patient health data across systems.
  • Coordinates the productivity of medical professionals across clinical facilities.

For manufacturers, IoT creates new digital feedback loops connecting their employees, facilities, products, and end customers. Real-time data can help:

  • Reduce costly downtime with predictive maintenance.
  • Improve sustainable practices by reducing waste and ensuring worker safety.
  • Contribute to improved product quality and quantity.

For the pharmaceutical industry, IoT provides greater traceability for inventory along a supply chain:

  • Improved visibility into environmental conditions.
  • Reduced costly inventory spoilage.
  • Increased control against theft or counterfeiting.

For end patients, IoT can improve health outcomes with continuous patient monitoring:

  • Reduces the need for unnecessary readmissions.
  • Improves treatment success rates by providing continuous data to care professionals.
  • Personalizes care based on patient needs.

In this blog, we’ll cover how our portfolio can support different IoT solution needs for software developers, hardware developers, and healthcare customers.

Building healthcare IoT solutions with Azure IoT

As Microsoft and its global partners continue to build solutions that empower healthcare organizations around the world, a key question continues to face IoT decision makers: whether to build a solution from scratch or buy an existing solution that fits their needs.

From ensuring device-to-cloud security with Azure Sphere to providing multiple approaches for device management and connectivity with Platform as a Service (PaaS) options or a managed app platform, Azure IoT provides the most comprehensive IoT and Edge product portfolio on the market, designed to meet the diverse needs of healthcare solution builders.

Solution builders who want to invest their resources in designing, maintaining, and customizing IoT systems from the ground up can do so with our growing portfolio of IoT platform services, leveraging Azure IoT Hub as a starting point.

While this approach may be tempting for many, often solution builders struggle when growing their pilot into a globally scalable IoT solution. This process introduces significant complexity to an IoT architecture, requiring expertise across cloud and device security, DevOps, compliance, and more. For this reason, many solution builders might be better suited for starting with a managed platform approach with Azure IoT Central. Using more than two dozen Azure services, Azure IoT Central is designed to continually evolve with the latest service updates and seamlessly accompany solution builders along their IoT journey from pilot to production. With predictable pricing, white labeling, healthcare-specific application templates, and extensibility, solution builders can focus their time on how their device insights can improve outcomes, instead of common infrastructure questions like ingesting device data or ensuring disaster recovery.

New tools to accelerate building a healthcare IoT solution

Over the past year, we’ve been working hard to create new tools to make IoT solution development easier for our healthcare partners and customers:

  • Azure IoT Central app templates.
  • Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) Connector for Azure.

To help you put all of these tools together, we’ve also published a reference architecture diagram for continuous patient monitoring solutions.

Continuous patient monitoring reference architecture