Before the introduction of IoT in healthcare industry, communication ways with doctors or health experts were limited to only physical visits, tele, and text communications. It was arduous for doctors to keep regular track of a patient’s health and make recommendations accordingly.
Now, healthcare is expanding rapidly in the collection and analysis of high-quality data with the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
With IoT healthcare, the industry has a tremendous potential to improve the overall results, cost, and efficiency. In the time of COVID-19, healthcare providers are constantly adapting telehealth solutions for patient safety as a new normal and overcoming the technical challenges inhibited earlier.
Undoubtedly, the new internet of things in healthcare is smarter than we might think of and more importantly tailored to the needs and expectations of medical organizations.
With the IoT enabling devices for monitoring the medical conditions in the healthcare sector, the main focus unleashes the potential of patient safety and risk minimization that empowers providers to provide superlative care.
This leads to an increase in patient engagement as well as their satisfaction due to easy interactions. Furthermore, remote monitoring of patients prevents the longer stay patients at the hospitals and reduces readmissions ultimately reducing the treatment costs and improving treatment outcomes.
There are low-touch and no-touch health applications to support health management. Here are a few examples of internet of things (IoT):
- Contact tracing
- Medication dispensing
- Air quality sensors
- Hygiene monitoring
- Thermal detection
- Biometric scanners
- Remote patient communications
And many more.
IoT in healthcare has transformed the healthcare industry with IoT emerging technologies in 2021 and redefined devices in delivering medical solutions that benefit patients & their families, physicians, and hospitals.
Impact of IoT in the healthcare sector:
1. On Patients:
Patients get instant access to personalized attention & regular health check with the help of smart devices like fitness bands, wireless devices for Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, Sugar Check, etc. Such devices are in the form of wearables and can count on calories, medicine reminders, exercise checks, BP variations, doctor’s appointments, and whatnot.
IoT in healthcare has fully transformed people’s lives especially old-age patients, people living alone along with their families. With any disturbance or occurrence of any change in routine, the ‘alert feature’ of such devices started sharing the signals to the near ones or family members and the concerned health expert.
We cannot overlook the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in ruling out the availability of point-of-care details such as Chatbots or simply called AI Doctors where patients can put up their symptoms and advice is generated automatically by the chatbot.
2. On Physicians:
With the effective use of IoT-driven devices and other home monitoring equipment, physicians can keep the track of patients’ health effectively. They can track the treatment plans, medications, heart rate, and the need for immediate assistance. This keeps the overall healthcare providers pretty much watchful & proactive with patient’s health, especially in the current COVID-19 crisis. Data collected from such healthcare IoT devices helps physicians in facilitating the best recovery of patients and reach the expected efficiency.
3. On Hospitals:
There are many areas where monitoring IoT devices are helpful in hospitals apart from monitoring health checks. These IoT devices include sensors to track the real-time location of health equipment like
- Infusion pumps
- Hospital beds
- Medical Ventilators
- Dialysis machine
And many more!
Moreover, the placement of medical staff at different locations is also analyzed in real-time. In the pandemic, the spread of viruses and infections is a major concern due to which the devices also monitor if there is any infection around to prevent patients and ensure safe health. Alongside, IoT devices help in asset management like pharmacy inventory control, refrigerator and humidity control, etc.
So, this is how internet of things work and gained more popularity this year.
More for you: Get to know how IoT is revolutionizing the way we live and work here.
What is changing now?
IoT in healthcare has successfully made people familiar with digital tools and fast-track the development of health processes. In addition, the insurance companies are compelling healthcare firms to consider data management via immense information sharing demands. Payers are spending big-time in data analytics and new measures to pay for reimbursement models. And this needs accuracy and timely details of data from healthcare providers.
Also, many device developers are digitizing their products and services for software companies in the US to understand how to generate data insights & user-friendly interfaces. These developers understand the need for data privacy and security and have the ability to guide the development partners and health partners in the right direction.
Benefits of IoT in Healthcare Industry:
There are unparalleled benefits of IoT that help patients obtain better treatment. Major advantages of IoT in healthcare are as follow:
Since there is no more need for physical visits to doctors, long hospital stays, and re-admissions, IoT enables the patient’s health monitoring in real-time leading to lesser costs.
Improved Treatment Outcome:
IoT in healthcare ensures full transparency to make evidence-based decisions and leads to improved treatment outcomes for patients.
Regular health monitoring of patients helps in diagnosing diseases at the first stage before it aggravates based on the shown symptoms.
Continuous health monitoring of patients keeps the health providers proactively engaged to provide personalized attention to patients and reach the expected outcomes.
Drugs and Equipment Management:
Pharmacy and drug inventory control is a big-time challenge for healthcare organizations. With the help of connected IoT devices, these are managed efficiently with lower costs.
No Error Possibility:
Data generated through these devices help in effective decision-making for the treatment of patients to ensure smooth operations with reduced errors and system costs.
Configure emergency alerts:
IoT devices collect million data points like activity, temperature, sleep, sugar level, heart rate, etc. the information obtained from sensors tagged to the devices send real-time alerts to caretakers and doctors for elevated heart rate and so on.
Let’s understand with the few established examples by top firms like:
Microsoft: It developed its Microsoft Azure cloud platform to ease the cloud-based delivery of various healthcare services.
Additionally, Apple turned its consumer products into wearable smart health devices with its advance ‘health features’ in Apple Watch. It followed the internet of things example with its FDA-Approved EKG (electrocardiogram) embedded in Series 4 and later added a Menstrual Health Tracker along with a dedicated Research App to Series 5.
All thanks to IoT in healthcare for these little treasures which are historically not so little!
Challenges of IoT in Healthcare Industry:
As we see that the internet of things has been revolutionizing the healthcare sector incredibly, there are some pitfalls that we cannot overlook.
One of the biggest challenges of IoT in healthcare is weak security. Data privacy is crucial for the healthcare industry since medical information is confidential and cannot be readily shared with anyone. So as to prevent such kinds of sensitive data from exposure, it may incur extra costs on data security.
Integration of Protocols:
IoT connects various devices and there is no single solution for communication protocols. To create a flexible ecosystem, the functionality of devices with various protocols is required. Unfortunately, the integration of protocols is quite restricted. For medical software, one must be assured that the app is HIPAA & HITECH compliant.
IoT devices carry a lot of information and as a result, it lacks accuracy due to data overload. A major amount of information is extremely challenging in decision-making during the process of treatment.
Given these constraints, do medical companies still host this large infrastructure on their premises? Or would it serve as a better platform for medical partners to manage the platform? This can turn out to be a billion-dollar question.
IoT explores new dimensions of real-time health monitoring and patients’ health data which is a goldmine for healthcare providers to improve the treatment process while making revenue opportunities and improving the overall health. The market today will never prove to be a differentiator unless we are prepared to harness this digital power in this increasingly connected world, give it a thought!
While the expected growth of IoT in healthcare has been elevated, its potential has not. The healthcare IoT adoption has been factually slow, the usage of E-Health Solutions resulting from COVID-19 are now enabling the right kind of solution in the right direction. But for a successful implementation, it is more than just adoption.
Are you looking for Future-Ready IoT Apps for your healthcare organization?
Mobcoder is beyond an App Development Company that can help with the upfront planning of IoT devices as per the specific needs of healthcare organizations. We have experience with IoT and technology to develop IoT impactful roadmaps for smooth hospital processes.
Healthcare providers cannot lag on digital transformation in today’s time. So, if you are looking for IoT Application Development for your business, Mobcoder can leverage the power of smart IoT mobile apps to digitize your business, streamline operations and improve patient service with cutting-edge technologies.
Kickstart your digital transformation today with us!