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, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 837–869 | Cite as

The application of internet of things in healthcare: a systematic literature review and classification

  • Hossein Ahmadi
  • Goli ArjiEmail author
  • Leila Shahmoradi
  • Reza Safdari
  • Mehrbakhsh NilashiEmail author
  • Mojtaba Alizadeh
Review Paper


The Internet of Things (IoT) is an ecosystem that integrates physical objects, software and hardware to interact with each other. Aging of population, shortage of healthcare resources, and rising medical costs make IoT-based technologies necessary to be tailored to address these challenges in healthcare. This systematic literature review has been conducted to determine the main application area of IoT in healthcare, components of IoT architecture in healthcare, most important technologies in IoT, characteristics of cloud-based architecture, security and interoperability issues in IoT architecture and effects, and challenges of IoT in healthcare. Sixty relevant papers, published between 2000 and 2016, were reviewed and analyzed. This analysis revealed that home healthcare service was one of the main application areas of IoT in healthcare. Cloud-based architecture, by providing great flexibility and scalability, has been deployed in most of the reviewed studies. Communication technologies including wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi), Bluetooth, radio-frequency identification (RFID), ZigBee, and Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (LoWPAN) were frequently used in different IoT models. The studies regarding the security and interoperability issues in IoT architecture in health are still low in number. With respect to the most important effects of IoT in healthcare, these included ability of information exchange, decreasing stay of hospitalization and healthcare costs. The main challenges of IoT in healthcare were security and privacy issues.


Internet of Things (IoT) System architecture Health Home healthcare Smart Hospitals 



The first author would like to thank to international affair of National Elites Foundation of Iran (BMN) and Tehran University of Medical Sciences-International Campus (TUMS-IC) for financial supporting of this study which was carried during his stay as post-doctorate research scholar in TUMS-IC, Iran.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hossein Ahmadi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Goli Arji
    • 3
    Email author
  • Leila Shahmoradi
    • 3
  • Reza Safdari
    • 3
  • Mehrbakhsh Nilashi
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Mojtaba Alizadeh
    • 6
  1. 1.Health Information Management Department, School of Health Management and Information SciencesIran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Health Information Management Department, 5th Floor, School of Allied Medical SciencesTehran University of Medical Sciences-International Campus (TUMS-IC)TehranIran
  3. 3.Health Information Management Department, 5th Floor, School of Allied Medical SciencesTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Faculty of ComputingUniversiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)SkudaiMalaysia
  5. 5.Young Researchers and Elite Club, Yasooj BranchIslamic Azad UniversityYasoojIran
  6. 6.APA Research Center of Lorestan University (LU-CERT)Lorestan UniversityKhorramabadIran

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