Role of Internet of Things In Equipment Management in Medical Industry
THE ROLE OF IOT IN EFFICIENT EQUIPMENT MANAGEMENT IN MEDICAL INDUSTRY
The paper aims at analysing the contribution made by the Internet of Things or IoT in the management of medical equipment within the healthcare industry. Therefore, the research paper is divided into four parts. The first part talks about the thesis statement, the problem statement, the key research question, the relationship between the variables and a structure of the entire research. Next is the literature review section, which highlights the IoT concept, importance of equipment management in medical industry correctly and problems faced by the healthcare organisations for inappropriate management of equipment. The role of IoT in managing the issues, improving performance, reducing error and proper management of the medical device is also discussed here. IoT is a technology that enables the medical sector increasing the accuracy of information management, adequate storage and usage of medication and medical tests and so on that improves service quality and efficiency of the industry leading to reduced mortality rate and chances of injury.
The primary research methodology selected for this research is positivism philosophy, grounded theory approach, descriptive research design. The study focuses on collecting both primary and secondary data. Therefore, it can be considered mixed method research. The main research population are the users of IoT for medical equipment handling between the age group of 25-45. For case studies, only recent case studies are selected. The predictive analysis method is selected for analysing the collected data for developing a new theory on the role of IoT in adequate equipment management in the medical industry. The research focuses on finding the main issues faced by users and the main methods to overcome those issues.
The purpose of the paper is identifying and evaluating the role of the internet of things in the management of equipment in the medical industry appropriately. Therefore, the study involves an analysis of the needs of the healthcare industry in terms of managing medical equipment and the way IoT technology can help in this. Healthcare sector requires an effective process for dealing with medical equipment. However, due to several reasons such as the high price of the medical devices and a continuous rise in demand for the implementation of innovative strategies to manage medical devices efficiently are creating challenges for the medical industry. Therefore, such strategies need to be implemented that can improve the management of medical equipment besides reducing overall cost and improving performance. The importance of IoT lies application of which can help the healthcare organisations monitoring and optimising the performance of medical devices by acquiring real-time data. Using this technology,healthcare organisations can better plan for managing the equipment based on their maintenance needs.
1.1 Outlining the thesis-
IoT contributes to the efficient management of medical equipment within the healthcare industry.
1.2 Problem statement-
Medical equipment has a significant impact on the healthcare sector, as they flounce performance and expenditure of the industry significantly. Medical technologies provide several benefits, and the technologies have improved the ability of medical professional to diagnose, prevent and treat diseases more effectively. They are major components of an efficiently performing healthcare structure, as they are highly abundant as well as widely used healthcare items in practice. The quality of service delivered in the healthcare sector can be measured using the STEEEP criteria means safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centred. However, in general, several emerging economies experience problems in meeting the criteria beaches of limited or unavailability of medical technologies. Medical technologies encompass various types of equipment and device used in medical facilities that include medical devices for walking aids, workshop equipment, clinical use and others. Managing healthcare equipment or technology is dangerous in developing nations because of contextual issues. As 95% of the clinical technologies used in these nations is imported, incongruities occur frequently. This is because the equipment is designed in developed nations without considering the particular demands of the healthcare sector if the developing countries. Hence, it increases the cost and difficulty of maintaining the equipment properly (Houngboet al. 2017). In this context, the problems take place in developed nations like the UK can also be demonstrated here. The National Health Service Litigation Authority or NHSLA revelled that it had liabilities of £18.6 billion pertain to medical negligence in 2012. It happened due to many high-risk clinical devices were being used devoid of sign of sufficient maintenance or training resulted in deaths and injuries. The two major problems affecting the policy related to the management of medical devices are inadequate training on using medical equipment safely, managing, and standardising the equipment (Davies, 2019). The application of IoT can facilitate the monitoring and management of clinical equipment effectively.
1.3 Research question
As per the aim of the research, the research questions are:
How canIoT help in equipment management in the medical sector?
1.4 Theories using the relationship between variables
The IoT refers to the most promising area that infiltrates the benefits of WSAN or Wireless Sensor as well as Actuator Networks along with domains of Pervasive Computing. Several IoT applications have been formulated, as well as researchers have identified the potential as well as problems and theology standard used in different IoTs like sensors, mobile phones, actuators and RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags (Porkodi&Bhuvaneswari, 2014). The use of IoT in the medical industry is increased notably around different particular IoT use cases. Maximum IoT initiatives in medical industry revolve across the enhancement of care as such with telemonitoring, remote monitoring, and so on. Apart from that, IoT has been using increasingly for managing healthcare data using applications such as smart home are, smart pills, RTHS (Real-Time Health System) and robotics. With the inclusively linked eHealth picture and healthcare, more combined strategies and advantages are required with a part of the Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT) or IoMT (Internet of Medical things). Therefore, the time between 2017 and 2020 is regarded as an important phase of the transition with many variations before 2020. The development in the IoT healthcare apps is composed to speed up, as IoT is the main element in the digital revolution of the medical industry and different stakeholders are accelerating their effort (Scoop, 2019).
According to Zhang (2019), with the application of RFIDs, IoT has started finding more extensive applications in medicine in terms of material management. IoT, together with RFIDs, can facilitate avoiding problems of public health by aiding in the manufacturing, distribution and monitoring of medical equipment and medicines. It helps in improving the quality and effectiveness of clinical treatment and cutting down management cost. As per the report of the WHO (World Health Organisation), the amount of forged medicines is over 10% of medicine sales worldwide. The Chinese Pharmaceutical Association reveals that minimum 200,000 Chinese dies every year due to inappropriate or wrong medication. Thus, RFID technology can contribute to the tracking of medical equipment and drugs and the laws of the market for healthcare products. Farhat, Shamayleh & Al-Nashash (2018)opined that the IoT technology could be applied for anti-counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals and medical device, conducting real-time monitoring, information management of medical waste and patient information, clinical emergency management, tracking of drugs and clinical tools and so forth.
1.5 Preview of the structure of the paper
The entire paper is structured with four sections. The introduction is the first section that clarifies the thesis statement, research question, background and problems statement of the research. It explains the rationale for researching this particular topic. The second part encompasses a comprehensive literature review on the secondary data available on the subject. It includes a critical examination of the previous research paper, journals, websites and books on IoT and its relation to the medical industry. The third section specifies the research methods used for collecting and analysing data. The fourth or the last section discusses the findings and implications of the study.
2.0 Literature review
In this section, the study of existing literature on the research topic is going to be conducted. The different areas of the IoT and it relates to the medical industry would be discussed here considering various perspectives of different scholars.
2.1 Theoretical framework-
2.2 Concept of IoT
IoT is a modern insurgency of the internet. It makes objects identifiable themselves, acquiring intelligence, sharing and accessing information. It enables people and matters to be linked anytime, anyone, anything, anywhere using any network and service. It implies addressing components such as convergence, content, collection, communication, connectivity and computing. The IoT offers interaction among the real and virtual world. The actual entities have ordinal counterparts and virtual depiction. Things become situation conscious, and they can feel, interact, communicate and exchange information, knowledge and data (Porkodi & Bhuvaneswari, 2014).In the words of Patel& Patel (2016), the concept of IoT was devised by an RFID member, and it is relevant to the practical world extensively due to development of mobile devices, entrenched and global communication, data analytics and cloud computing. It is a network of physical objects. These interlinked objects have collected, evaluated and used data regularly for introducing action, offering a means of intelligence for planning, administration and decision-making.
Figure 2: IoT
(Source: Patel & Patel, 2016)
2.3 Importance of equipment management in the medical industry
The use of medical equipment is a vital role in ensuring better clinical service in the nation, and hence, the need for appropriate management of thisequipment is essential. Without clinical devices, the effective operation would not be possible in any healthcare centres, clinics hospitals, and as an outcome of paramedics, doctors, nurses cannot do their work appropriately in saving patients’ lives. In hospitals, where the management of equipment is absence, the quality of service is poor, that results in a high rate of mortality of the populace. In developing nations, almost every medical equipment is being introduced, creating a ground of several challenges experienced by the healthcare sector. Lack of training and education of the people using that clinical equipment lead to ineffective care of the patients that make their health condition worse, leading to severe injury and death. Therefore, management of equipment is critical for avoiding this incident and improving patient safety (Scott, 2017). Moses & Korah (2015) supported that for enhancing the performance and quality of service delivery to the service users in the healthcare industry, proper management of medical devices is critical.
2.4 Challenges faced by the pharmaceutical sector in terms of improper equipment management
Improper procurement strategy, inappropriate calibration, absence of adequate maintenance, weak authentication of equipment is the significant issues of management medical equipment. Despite putting the last effort the World Health Organisation, its guidance and health policies and the hard work of the ministry of health in each nation, there are several challenges in managing hospital equipment correctly, especially in rural areas and developing countries. The challenges faced by the industry in equipment management are more extended stoppage of the machine, insufficient knowledge of hospitals' administrator on the value of equipment maintenance regularly, little budgetary and so forth (Scott, 2017). As stated by De Oliveira, Guimaraes& Jeunon (2017), the scientific investigation is accountable for the medical equipment management for preventing medical incidents risky to the service users because of incorrect use of clinical devices. Thus, improper handling of medical equipment creates poor service quality and patient dissatisfaction.
2.5 The relationship between IoT and appropriate equipment management in the pharmaceutical industry
In the rising market of innovation and technology. The use of latest technologies and implementation of quality standard enable accurate diagnoses and fewer errors in medical treatment with the faster recovery as well as a result cost-effective in the care system (De Oliveira, Guimaraes & Jeunon (2017). In the words of Zhang (2019), the application of IoT in the healthcare industry is considered as a boon, as it makes the management of different medical equipment easier and stress-free. IoT contributes to the management of medical equipment in several ways. It plays a vital role in anti-counterfeiting and information verification, offering an efficient counter-assessment against clinical fraud. For instance, it is possible to convey drug information to a public record from which a hospital or a patient can check the tag against the registers for identifying possible forgeries quickly. The RFID tags can be used in the whole production process for achieving comprehensive product monitoring. It is mainly important when the products are shipped.
As stated by Lakkis & Elshakankiri (2017), a reader can identify the drug information automatically and convey it to the database after the packaging of the product. At the time of destitution, any middle information can be recorded as per convenience. Thus, the IoT enables mentoring every step of database management for avoiding inaccuracies. Some unusual situations occur, when the inability of reaching to a family member, critical illness and several casualties. In such circumstances, efficient and reliable storage of RFID and testing processes help with the quick identification of necessary details including name, age, emergency contact, medical history and blood types of patients. It makes the admission process faster for patients with emergency conditions and provides more time for better treatment. Thus, it helps reducing life risk of patients or death rate. Using the IoT, 3G video device inside the ambulances can be managed well. I the way of the hospital, the emergency room already have the information about the patients' condition and requirement. Thus, they can better prepare for dealing with the patient. If the location is far away from the hospital, the remote medical imaging system can be used as a part of emergency resource method. Dongxin Lu & Tao Liu (2011) commented that IoT helps to track and to monitor the medical equipment and patients that enables automatic call during patient distress. It also helps in to protect laboratory samples and drugs sensitive to temperature adequately. Thus, it improves performance by reducing losses.
The research methodology is an essential element of any research. Research methodological tools like approach, design and philosophy are necessary to follow for researching correctly.
3.1 Research philosophy:
There are mainly three types of research philosophy present-positivism, interpretivism and realism. For this research, positivism, philosophy will be taken into consideration. The main reason for selecting positivism philosophy is that it allows meaningful analysis of the given situation with the help of scientific observation and logic (Hughes & Sharrock, 2016). The current research, which is about the role of IoT in efficient equipment management in the medical industry requires scientific observation of the application of IoT in the pharmaceutical industry, which involves the use of positivist philosophy.
3.2 Research approach:
Deductive and inductive approaches are the two types of research approaches considered by researchers in different disciplines. While deductive approach focuses on answering the research questions by making use of quantifiable data, inductive tries to develop new theories based on existing knowledge. It means inductive revolves from objective to method (Gandomani & Nafchi, 2015). For the current research, a thorough investigation is required to understand the role of IoT inefficient equipment handling in medical sector which requires not only first-hand data to find out the issues faced by users, but also past experiences. In this context, the inductive approach fits perfectly. However, the researcher would follow a variant of the inductive approach, namely grounded theory, which seeks to develop a new method based on qualitative data collection. Here, data will be collected repeatedly and categories into codes for making the basis for a new theory.
3.3 Research design:
Mainly three types of research designs used by researchers-descriptive, exploratory and explanatory. The researcher will make use of descriptive research design that allows explaining as well as exploring the research topic in depth by making use of methods like case studies, interview, focus groups and survey (Colorafi & Evans, 2016). To study the role of IoT in the medical industry, especially in equipment handling, it can be stated the use of descriptive design would help draw an appropriate conclusion by exploring and explaining the topic in detail.
3.4 Data collection:
There are mainly two types of data collection procedures present-primary data collection and secondary data collection. While secondary data collection is about collecting data from already existing sources like books, journals, government and marketing research reports, primary data is solely about raw data obtained from human respondents (Creswell, 2015).
Primary data collection is again divided into two methods-quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative is numeric data obtained by making use of a close-ended questionnaire instrument, whereas qualitative is general data collected through an interview or focus group interview by making use of open-ended questionnaire instrument (Creswell, 2015).
The current research would follow a mixed method approach applying qualitative data collection through a telephonic interview with users experienced in using IoT for medical equipment handling whereas case studies on the same subject will be studied as a part of grounded theory approach to identify biases between findings. This will allow the researcher to develop new codes based on the results from different sources.
3.5 Sampling and population:
The population of a study can be consumers, employees or even managers of a company (Flick, 2018). For a task which focuses on the medical industry and the use of IoT in medical equipment handling, the main population would be those experienced or are using IoT for medical equipment handling. As such users need to be between the age of 25-45, which will allow studying the issue facing by the new and experienced users. The researcher will try to interview at least 20-30 users differently to collect the data. On the other hand, as a part of case study analysis, the researcher would take recent 10 cases showing the issues faced or issues solved by users of IoT for medical equipment.
3.6 Data analysis:
The primary data analysis method proposed for the research is a predictive analysis method. The researcher has already submitted a collection of qualitative data through an interview, whereas case study is recommended. Predictive analysis method makes use of historical data, namely those found in case studies and current data, namely from raw sources like survey or interview to predict for future events or unknown events (Flick, 2018). This is the main reason for selecting interview and case study as data collection method so that it can support predictive analysis method. As a part of predictive data analysis, the researcher will make use of a set of data analysis techniques, namely t-test, ANNOVA and SPSS analysis technique.
4.0 Discussion and implication of research:
The research will require ethics clearance to complete. As opined by Colorafi & Evans (2016), including human participants in any form of research requires full consent from the respondents and the governing body. For the current study, the researcher will need to take ethics approval from the Federation University, ensuring that none of the respondents will be harmed either physically or mentally during the data collection process. Most importantly, no personal information of the participants will be shared. Considerable attention will be given for keeping the personal data and the responses anonymous.
The researcher has focused on using a full unique type of research methodology to complete the research, especially the data collection and data analysis. The predictive analysis method would allow the researcher to find out some interesting facts, especially the technical issues that the users might face while handling IoT for medical equipment. Further, the relation between experience, age and education can also be identified. Most importantly, the research can help in identifying relevant recommendations on the appropriate method for using IoT for medical equipment handling. These findings would become highly crucial for the field of the medical industry as the internet of things are being used in a meaningful manner in the pharmaceutical sector including but not limited to small scale operations to large scale operations. Therefore, any findings on issues, methods of mitigating the problems could be of high value for the medical industry.