The Internet of Things in Health Care in Oxford: Protocol for Proof-of-Concept Projects

JMIR Res Protoc. 2018 Dec 4;7(12):e12077. doi: 10.2196/12077.


Background: Demands on health services across are increasing because of the combined challenges of an expanding and aging population, alongside complex comorbidities that transcend the classical boundaries of modern health care. Continuing to provide and coordinate care in the current manner is not a viable route to sustain the improvements in health outcomes observed in recent history. To ensure that there continues to be improvement in patient care, prevention of disease, and reduced burden on health systems, it is essential that we adapt our models of delivery. Providers of health and social care are evolving to face these pressures by changing the way they think about the care system and, importantly, how to involve patients in the planning and delivery of services.

Objective: The objective of this paper is to provide (1) an overview of the current state of Internet of Things (IoT) and key implementation considerations, (2) key use cases demonstrating technology capabilities, (3) an overview of the landscape for health care IoT use in Oxford, and (4) recommendations for promoting the IoT via collaborations between higher education institutions and industry proof-of-concept (PoC) projects.

Methods: This study describes the PoC projects that will be created to explore cost-effectiveness, clinical efficacy, and user adoption of Internet of Medical Things systems. The projects will focus on 3 areas: (1) bring your own device integration, (2) chronic disease management, and (3) personal health records.

Results: This study is funded by Research England's Connecting Capability Fund. The study started in March 2018, and results are expected by the end of 2019.

Conclusions: Embracing digital solutions to support the evolution and transformation of health services is essential. Importantly, this should not simply be undertaken by providers in isolation. It must embrace and exploit the advances being seen in the consumer devices, national rollout of high-speed broadband services, and the rapidly expanding medical device industry centered on mobile and wearable technologies. Oxford University Hospitals and its partner providers, patients, and stakeholders are building on their leading position as an exemplar site for digital maturity in the National Health Service to implement and evaluate technologies and solutions that will capitalize on the IoT. Although early in the application to health, the IoT and the potential it provides to make the patient a partner at the center of decisions about care represent an exciting opportunity. If achieved, a fully connected and interoperable health care environment will enable continuous acquisition and real-time analysis of patient data, offering unprecedented ability to monitor patients, manage disease, and potentially deliver early diagnosis. The clinical benefit of this is clear, but additional patient benefit and value will be gained from being able to provide expert care at home or close to home.

International registered report identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/12077.

Keywords: Internet; Internet of Medical Things; Internet of Things; computer systems; computing methodologies; dataset; health services; information storage and retrieval; information systems; patient care.