Industry IoT Consortium Intros New Test Drives for Healthcare

By Rich Handley

The organization has unveiled a pair of short-term pilots for gait analysis in geriatric patients, as well as for asset-tracking within healthcare facilities.

The  Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) has announced a pair of IIC Test Drives involving Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. The consortium, established to accelerate the adoption of IoT solutions, is a program of the  Object Management Group (OMG), and the recently released test drives are in line with that effort. IIC Test Drives are short-term, rapid-engagement pilots enabling technology users to employ and adopt Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies. The program fosters collaboration with partners to address IIoT use cases in three- to six-month projects, based on technology end users' specific problems.

The first of these is the Inertial Gait Analysis (IGA) Test Drive, designed to detect early-stage symptoms of geriatric diseases, and to assist physicians in diagnosing patients with such conditions. This test drive explores how IGA can help to protect the elderly from sudden falls, by detecting physical anomalies and setting up criteria for the early detection of disorders.

"Senior people and aging populations are especially at risk of negative consequences of physical disabilities and undiagnosed illness," said Howard Kradjel, the IIC's VP of industry programs, in a prepared statement. "These can lead to lower quality of life for affected individuals and higher demand on healthcare systems. Falling can exacerbate and accelerate problems. The Inertial Gait Analysis test drive brings together technology and know-how intent on helping to avoid falls and encourage early diagnosis to the benefit individuals and society."

"Geriatric or senile diseases are challenging to detect and diagnose," added Takao Futagami, the IIC's IGA Test Drive lead, a research fellow at  Toyo Corp. and a guest professor at  Shinshu University, in the prepared statement. "Patients don't always provide adequate descriptions of discomforts and sometimes attempt to hide the pain. Early detection with the IGA Test Drive can help prevent geriatric diseases." By using sensors to capture the walking gait of test subjects, the IIC explains, the IGA Test Drive can detect abnormal signs linked to illnesses of the elderly, as well as provide analysis to assist doctors.

The other short-term pilot is called Valuable-Asset Tracking (VAT) for Healthcare Networks, which combines tamper-proof hardware and blockchain software to create a trusted, transparent asset-tracking solution for assets within a medical facility or among entities of a healthcare network. Initiated by IIC member  IoTeX, the VAT Test Drive is intended to facilitate collaboration among supply chain stakeholders, improve supply chain efficiency and the user experience, and enable cost savings.

"A lack of transparency, integrity and availability of supply chain data has restricted operational efficiency and prevented collaboration among stakeholders," Kradjel noted in a separate statement. "The Valuable-Asset Tracking for Healthcare Networks Test Drive addresses these industry-wide challenges. It creates a trusted system to track assets in a facility and provide visibility to the flow of medical goods and services from manufacturer to consumer in the supply chain."

"The test drive combines tamper-proof hardware and software and creates trust among stakeholders in supply chain applications," added Xinxin Fan, IoTeX's founding member and head of cryptography, and a co-chair of the IIC Distributed Ledger Task Group, in the statement. "The test drive shows how healthcare organizations can improve supply chain efficiency and the user experience and save a substantial amount of money."

The test drives are designed to provide trust and transparency across multi-tiered healthcare supply chains, the consortium reports. According to the IIC, the learnings gained from these short-term, rapid-engagement pilots can be applied to other business fields as well.