Healthcare is a high-stakes industry—it is quite often literally life-or-death—and it has been a fertile ground for many technological advances, such as real-time computing, the IoMT, robotics and advanced analytics. Edge computing can accelerate their growth and expand their applications in patient safety, chronic disease management, drug supply chain safety and other areas. And because edge computing shifts a significant part of the processing load closer to the source of data, providers and IT leaders can consider even more advanced uses of the enormous amount of data generated in the industry.
On the patient safety and monitoring front, cameras and sensors can inform risk management strategies by tracking compliance with hospital sanitation policies and generating data that is easy to process and analyze. The sensors and devices that facilitate continuous patient monitoring could alert providers of clinically meaningful changes and opportunities for early interventions. Those same sensors could be used to reduce risks in the drug supply chain, alerting managers to issues such as temperature changes in vaccines during transport.
Another promising frontier is where AI and edge computing intersect. Edge AI shifts AI-enabled decision-making closer to where data lives, enabling devices to process data faster than centralized IoT/IoMT models can, facilitating a more automated, near real time, and secure user experience and expanding what is possible for patients and healthcare providers.
With 5G, edge computing can allow for great improvement in potential accessibility for smaller, more remote healthcare facilities. The capital expenditure required to power computing in operating or exam rooms can instead be turned into an accessible decentralized service.