3 hurdles facing digital health IoT innovations

Privacy and security concerns, interoperability and data capture errors are among the biggest hurdles hindering Internet of Things innovation in healthcare according to healthcare consultant Paddy Padmanabhan.

Padmanabhan, in a commentary for CIO, says that while the "coming of age" for IoT innovation is well under way in the industry, substantial adoption will only take root when technologies can talk to each other faster and easier. One encouraging sign, he notes, are advancements aimed at eliminating that particular hurdle.

"The interoperability issue is being gradually addressed through the formation of consortiums that are trying to set industry standards, and several innovative startups are building cloud-based applications on data gathered through a collection of APIs," Padmanabhan writes. "Not what we may call true interoperability yet but definitely a positive trend."

Privacy and security is often a top industry challenge cited by experts and potential adopters, as FierceMobileHealthcare has reported. Padmanabhan says that he expects consumerization to help alleviate some security concerns, as it will lure good vendors into the business; he also notes, though, that federal oversight isn't having a strong impact in that regard.

A recently published report reveals that of 19 U.S. FDA-approved mobile health apps tested for security, 84 percent did not adequately address at least two of the Open Web Application Security Project's mobile top 10 risks--application code tampering and reverse-engineering.

Padmanabhan says he expects greater federal agency oversight to eventually come into play with mHealth apps and IoT innovations, but not from the FDA.

"As the IoT movement gets under way, we will see the FCC getting involved in protecting the privacy of healthcare consumers, as devices start talking and transmitting personal medical information," he says. "At the same time, increased threats of hacking of medical devices will remain a dampener on the IoT movement."

Meanwhile, regarding data capture, Padmanabhan calls inaccuracy levels "well outside" of what should be tolerated by medical professionals.

For more information:
- read the CIO commentary

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