The Cutting Edge of Patient Care

Four ways edge computing is transforming the health care industry

The Internet of Things is made up of smart devices connected to a network. If you have a smartwatch or smart thermostat, you’re already plugged into it. Edge computing is a strategy for computing on location where data is used or collected. It allows data to be gathered and processed at the edge, rather than sending data back to a datacenter or cloud. 

In the health care field, edge computing is taking devices like blood pressure cuffs and heart monitors into the future by collecting data in real time and processing that data immediately to help people solve problems right at the point of data collection.

Here’s a closer look at four different ways edge computing is changing the health care industry and improving people’s lives along the way.

1. They help doctors by monitoring patients remotely.

Edge computing devices can help doctors make life-saving decisions by keeping tabs on  patients’ vitals even when they’re far away. Because these monitoring devices employ artificial intelligence to analyze the data they collect, they help providers respond more quickly to patients’ needs. 

Edge computing also can help doctors get help from their peers when they run into problems. Here’s an example from Dr. Anthony Chang of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: “Imagine a cardiologist in Nairobi, Kenya, has a difficult case of a 61-year-old with rheumatic heart disease,” Chang said. “He pings a few cardiologists and heart surgeons from around the world who are in a global cardiac network, and they round on this patient virtually in the cardiac intensive care unit within a few minutes while they look at an echocardiogram simultaneously via an edge network.”

2. They provide better security for patients’ health information.

Edge computing increases safety and security. In the past, connected devices had to send data to more powerful computers or applications in the cloud to be analyzed. That could lead to risks and data breaches. Because edge computing devices process data locally, they can protect sensitive information that should stay between patients and doctors.

3. They improve efficiency and enhance sustainability.

Thanks to edge computing’s local processing power, devices use less bandwidth and power.  Although there’s a need for more machines at the site of data collection, developers are seeking ways to use power more efficiently. This effort has driven innovation in numerous industries toward more sustainable practices.

4. They create safer manufacturing environments.

Edge computing devices enhance worker safety in industrial environments by collecting data in real time. For example, if a worker starts to zone out or is unaware of a hazard, edge computing devices can alert others and avoid danger. Edge computing devices also provide insights to streamline manufacturing processes, reducing and protecting our communities from industrial waste.


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