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An Introduction to M2M and Healthcare

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Meet our guest blogger: David H. Hoglund, founder of Integra Systems, a medical device and wireless consultancy and design firm. Mr. Hoglund has over 30 years of medical device and wireless experience. He’s worked with companies such as Siemens Medical Systems, Inc., Biotronik, Instromedix, Cerner, VitalCom (now a part of General Electric), Symbol Technologies (now a part of Motorola), Draeger Medical, Johnson Controls, and Andrew (now a part of CommScope).  Mr. Hoglund holds provisional and awarded patents in the M2M and wireless connectivity space. You can read more from David on his blog here.

First, let’s define M2M. Machine-to-machine, or M2M, refers to technologies that allow both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices. M2M uses a device, such as a sensor or meter, to capture an event such as temperature or inventory level. The event data is relayed through a network to an application (software program), that translates the data into meaningful information. For example, when inventory is low, the business owner may get a text that items need to be restocked.

Modern M2M communication has expanded beyond a one-to-one connection and has grown into a system of networks that transmits data to personal appliances. The expansion of wireless networks across the world has made it far easier for M2M communication to take place and has lessened the amount of power and time necessary for information to be communicated between machines. The ubiquitous growth of M2M and the new era of the smart phone has given rise to awareness for use of devices in the healthcare world.

In healthcare, M2M is being recognized as a valuable tool. Medical devices can provide remote diagnostics and create a better patient care experience. Medical devices can change health care in may ways, here are just three benefits of a M2M enabled medical device.

Three Benefits of a M2M Enabled Medical Device

1. Reduce risks and costs of remote home healthcare support
Risks can be reduced as the patient is taken care of in a real-time even when he or she goes home. M2M enabled devices solve the problem of decreased patient communication that occurs when a patient is remote. Costs can be reduced through a decreased need in services– a nurse may no longer need to make a daily trip to a patient’s home as the medical device can provide immediate and real time corrective actions.

2. Decreased anxiety for the patient and improved quality of care
The patient is less anxious and experiences a lower level of stress when he or she has the increased safety of real time “connectivity” in their healthcare. This improves the quality of their own individual care as well.

3. Medical devices use small amounts of bandwidth
Most medical devices use a small amount of bandwidth, even in real time patient monitoring, and are intermittent in nature for transmission purposes. So, in the medical field, the bandwidth requirements are going be nothing like data requirements of today’s smart phone.

How do these do these innovations come to fruition? In the past, when considering a M2M applications the application developer had to either build their own management platform or outsource this an outside entity. A new alternative to this is “cloud management.” Digi International has developed the first M2M ready to use cloud platform for network management, iDigi. The iDigi platform provides secure application messaging, data storage and device management. The platform is scalable and is based on high availability architecture that has been designed around redundancy and failover, making it ideal for these medical device solutions. While there’s a lot to learn about M2M and the medical device world, we hope this post sheds some light on the impact devices will make in healthcare.

You can learn more about Digi International’s healthcare solutions here. Interested in connecting a device? Sign up for the iDigi Device Cloud and connect up to 5 devices for free.

Connecting Your Body with the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things is often associated with the benefits it can deliver for businesses, homes and even large-scale healthcare systems – but have you thought about personally connecting your body to the Internet?

If you ran in the Chicago half marathon this past Saturday, or if you like to experiment with the latest fitness tools, you might already be using the Internet of Things to collect data about your body.

Here are 10 tools that have become part of the Internet of Things. These devices allow you to collect and track information on your exercise activity and health condition.

Nike Fuel
Nike+ Devices track runs, your walks, hikes and then sends the data to the Internet, so you can keep an eye on what you did, where you went, calories burned and more.

Wi-Fi Scale 
One of the major benefits of being able to connect things to the Internet is the collection of historical data. This scale includes a Web dashboard that provides intuitive information that’s automatically collected as you step on your scale each day. The data can allow parents to see their child’s growth and and health over a period of time, or measure the success of a diet and exercise program.

RunKeeper is a smart-phone application that tracks workouts via the phone’s GSP. The app aims to be social and easy to understand so that you can improve the quality of your fitness. The app collects data, and based on your preferences, can automatically share that data with your social networks. The online Web dashboard shows the run distance, route, route incline and running speed throughout.

Basis is a device that tracks heartbeats, caloric intake and sleep patterns to paint an accurate picture of your health. The Web application adds a motivational feature by allowing users to accumulate points and praise for progress.

Fitness Evolved Headphones
New Balance’s Fitness Evolved headphones have a heart rate monitor, pedometer and stop watch. The headphones provide insight to walkers, runners and athletes engaged in exercise, training or competition.

Jawbone UP
The UP wristband collects data and uses its own iPhone app to track steps, distance, calories burned, pace, intensity level, active verses inactive time and routes. This device also tracks hours of sleep, deep sleep verses light sleep and even overall sleep quality.

The iBGStar is more than just a device to keep an eye on health, it helps people manage their diabetes. They can keep track of data and share the historical data with their doctors.

Fitbit Ultra is another device to track your everyday steps, stairs climbed, calories burned and sleep patterns. The data can be tracked both online and through a smart-phone application.

Need something to bring these devices together? Once you’ve set up a profile, you can link your Fleetly.com account to Runkeeper, Nike+ and Wi-Fi body scales. The Fleetly app incorporates social media elements and encourages competition. Fleetly.com is accessible with a web browser or by downloading the free iPhone app.

This list just skims the surface on how our bodies can be connected to the Internet to collect data. This post on Quantified Self takes a look at a number of health related objects that will be connected to monitor our health.

If you’re curious about other Internet of Things fitness devices, just take a look at your Facebook or Twitter feed, people are posting their fitness data constantly.

Are you using a connected device to track progress or learn more about your health? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter. Better yet, we challenge you to make your device (maybe with the iDigi Device Cloud) and let us know how it turns out!

Contact a Digi expert and get started today! CONTACT US

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