Guidelines: 15 things to ask before choosing an Internet of “medical” Things (IoT) Platform in digital health

The IoT platform space is very important, but it can be crowded and confusing. Especially in digital health, adopting a platform in your organisation is crucial to benefit the returns on your organisation. How do you find one that is right on your journey to digital health adoption? Our guideline below is here to assist:

Platform infrastructureHow does your platform different and better than other IoT platform providers?It is important to look for the major differences between platforms and to ask the IoT platform providers the USP of their IoT platform. It is also important to understand the requirements of your platform and how the platform vendors can comply with the requirements
Does the provider have a comprehensive IoT offering?
What other complimentary tools and services needed to create an IoT solution?
ApplicationsHow do you handle mobile/web application development?The mobile or web app is the driver of the IoT product’s user experience. Ideally an IoT platform will include tools for speeding and integrating application development with the rest of the IoT technology. It will also have an ecosystem of dedicated application developers that can do the final customization and personalization of your control applications.
Does the platform have a facility for developing, testing and maintaining multiple applications?
Can the platform connect easily to your current business applications?
Can the platform connect with third party applications?
Data managementHow does IoT data collection work?Data volumes are vast and fast. The platforms must enable real-time decisions and control
Does the platform handle cleaning, formatting and correction of data?You should own the data generated by your products. Be sure that an IoT platform provider doesn’t retain ownership to any aspect of your data
Does the provider own and operate its own data with their own cloud infrastructure? If not, which publich cloud provider(s) does it use?
How customizable are the IoT dashboards for the data?
Who owns the data generated by the connected products?
Integration and device managementHow flexible is your IoT platform with respect to future unknowns?An agile IoT platform will be built upon open standards—and its provider will have a proven commitment to keep pace with IoT technologies, protocols, and standards as they morph and evolve
Which IoT protocols is the platform compatible with?
What happens when one needs to drastically increase the number of connected devices?Scalability in the IoT means the ability to scale not only in the number of devices, but at the cloud, software-application, data, security, reliability, latency, user-experience, and even the support levels.
How will our connected products or devices interoperate with other connected products, as well as various cloud infrastructures and third-party services?
Security and privacyWhat commercial grade authentication, encryption and monitoring capabilities does the platform have? Are any of these capabilities distinctive?IoT platform technology must have enterprise-grade security baked into the full IoT spectrum, from connected product to cloud to mobile or web app. End-to-end, integrated, standards-based technology encompassing the following:
AAA security (Authentication. Authorization, Accounting)
Device-to-cloud network security
User app-to-wireless network security
Cloud security, Device security, including authentication and up-to-date certificates
Application authentication
Data encryption
Data protection at rest, in transit, and in the cloud
Secure session initiation
Concrete plans for updating security
Deployment timelineHow much time will it take to launch a connected product?IoT platform providers recommend a minimum of three months of field testing for simple products, and up to six months for more complex IoT solutions. Rigorous field testing is the only way to uncover bugs, security holes, or poor handoffs along the device-to-cloud-to-app spectrum—and to remove the problems before the product launches.
Quality AssuranceWhat happens to a connected device’s operation if the power or network connection fails?Device security, including authentication and up-to-date certificates
RegulationsDoes the platform comply with health regulation standards?As with any software used in the healthcare setting, it will be important to consider whether any such technology is a medical device under the relevant legislation and guidance. In addition, it is important to understand the data privacy and security regulations that encompasses the digital health industry. In digital health, it is important to comply with HIPAA, Safe Harbor and EU Data Protection, which are integral to safeguarding data privacy in clinical and commercial health services.

The IoT in healthcare is a big deal. If done proper planning, it can be a disastrous money and time sink. If done well, however, it can lead to increased market share, new revenue streams, and even an entirely different approach to designing and building products and portfolios in your healthcare organisation. Asking the right questions from the beginning will help determine which route you take.

Biotaware is a technology solutions provider specialising in digital healthcare platforms, building native mobile applications, scalable secure cloud server solutions and wearable integration for Digital Health Care, mHealth in clinical trials and consumer well-being.

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