The Internet of Things and Next-generation Public Health Information Systems


The Internet of things has particularly novel implications in the area of public health. This is due to (1) The rapid and widespread adoption of powerful contemporary Smartphone’s; (2) The increasing availability and use of health and fitness sensors, wearable sensor patches, smart watches, wireless-enabled digital tattoos and ambient sensors; and (3) The nature of public health to implicitly involve connectivity with and the acquisition of data in relation to large numbers of individuals up to population scale. Of particular relevance in relation to the Internet of Things (IoT) and public health is the need for privacy and anonymity of users. It should be noted that IoT capabilities are not inconsistent with maintaining privacy, due to the focus of public health on aggregate data not individual data and broad public health interventions. In addition, public health information systems utilizing IoT capabilities can be constructed to specifically ensure privacy, security and anonymity, as has been developed and evaluated in this work. In this paper we describe the particular characteristics of the IoT that can play a role in enabling emerging public health capabilities; we describe a privacy-preserving IoT-based public health information system architecture; and provide a privacy evaluation.

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R. Steele and A. Clarke, "The Internet of Things and Next-generation Public Health Information Systems," Communications and Network, Vol. 5 No. 3B, 2013, pp. 4-9. doi: 10.4236/cn.2013.53B1002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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