The July/August 2015 Issue of IEEE Internet Computing is focused on applications for the internet of things/IoT and healthcare. This morning, when I hit the Google.com home page, it had a birthday cake — and on “hover” – it wished me a “Happy Birthday Jim” — just in case you were wondering if your Google entry page might be customized for you — the answer is “yes”. How do these two statements intersect? In some (near term?) future, that page may have suggested I needed to visit a doctor – either because I was searching a combination of symptoms, or because the sensors surrounding me (my watch, cell phone, etc.) indicated problematic changes in my health (or some combination of data from such diverse sources.)
Of course this might be followed by a message that my health insurance was being canceled, or my life insurance. Who owns this data is an additional point for discussion.
As this Internet Computing issue points out, there are many benefits to be gained from having a network of sensors that can continuously monitor and provide feedback on health data. The first paper addresses barriers — legal, policy, interoperability, user perspectives, and technological. The second paper focuses on “encouraging physical activity” and the third paper considers “quality of life (QoL)” (physical health, psychological, social relationships and environment (financial, safety, freedom, …)) It is evident that IoT and health care have many points of overlap – some intended (monitoring devices) and some unintended (search analysis) — and all with significant personal and social impact considerations.
Besides my ingrained paranoia (will Google automatically apply for my retirement benefits and direct the checks to their accounts?) and delusional optimism (“Your financial QoL is below acceptable norms, we have transferred $1 million into your accounts to normalize this situation – have a good day”) there are pros and cons that will emerge.
What issues and opportunities do you see?