The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly transforming the way businesses operate and how consumers interact with the world. From self-checkout kiosks in grocery stores to connected home devices, IoT applications are changing the way we live and work. In fact, a report from Research and Markets suggests that the global market for IoT technologies will grow from $202 billion in 2016 to $485 billion by 2024. The healthcare industry stands to benefit significantly from this trend. In this blog post, we’ll explore how IoT can improve patient outcomes and reduce costs for hospitals and medical practitioners.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of physical devices connected to each other via the internet. When these devices "talk" to each other, they exchange data related to their state or environment. For example, a connected refrigerator can monitor the inventory of food stored inside. If the milk supply is running low, the refrigerator alerts the owner via an app. Web-enabled devices can also protect us from harm. In the case of the refrigerator, sensors can detect if the doors are left open for too long. If the owner forgot to close the door and food spoils, the sensors sound an alarm. These sensors can even detect harmful bacteria inside the food and trigger alarms.
The healthcare sector has been slow to adopt digital transformation and IoT technology. However, recent progress in IoT innovation has brought a renewed sense of enthusiasm and expectation. This excitement comes from the potential that IoT holds in improving patient outcomes, reducing costs, and enhancing the overall patient experience. These benefits are expected to manifest in the following ways: Better patient outcomes through connected tools and devices: Connected medical devices can be programmed to send alerts to health care providers in the event of a malfunction. For example, an insulin pump can be programmed to send an alert if it detects a leak in the tube. Higher patient compliance due to automated reminders: IoT-based systems can remind patients to take their medications at the right time. This reduces the chances of complications or adverse reactions. Better access to remote care for patients living in remote regions or traveling for work: Remote care can be provided to patients through video calls, video consultations, and the use of secure messaging apps.
Remote patient monitoring increases compliance and reduces the risk of complications in patients with chronic diseases. These patients are often required to perform routine tests to determine the state of their health. These include test results that are vital to the diagnosis of their condition. Traditional monitoring systems require the patient to visit a doctor’s office or clinic to have their tests done. The results are then sent to the patient’s physician so they can make informed decisions about the next course of action. Remote monitoring systems, on the other hand, let patients perform their tests at home and send their test results to the physician. This enables the patient to get timely feedback and makes it easier for the physician to take timely decisions.
The adoption of IoT platforms in medical facilities can transform the way patients access medical care. Here are a few examples of what’s in store: Automated check-in and patient scheduling: Patients can check themselves in and complete their intake process via an app or online portal. They can also schedule their appointments through the same interface. This reduces the amount of time spent waiting and lets patients access their information more easily. Remote access to medical records: Patients can access their medical records online and share the information with their medical teams. This can be useful in case of emergency, when a medical team may need to access medical history quickly and easily. Real-time monitoring of patient vitals: IoT sensors can be used to remotely monitor the vitals of patients admitted to the hospital. This includes data like heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygen levels, and more.
Robotic assistants can be used to train medical professionals and reduce the cost of training programs. They can also be deployed as rehabilitation aids to help patients recover from injuries or surgery. Here are some of the ways robotic assistants can be used in the healthcare sector: Simulating emergency situations for training and preparedness: Medical professionals can train for emergency situations using robotic simulators. This allows them to conduct training exercises without real patients being put at risk. Remote observation and diagnosis: Robotic assistants can be programmed to mimic the movements of real patients and allow medical professionals to observe and diagnose them remotely. This can be useful in diagnosing conditions that are challenging to identify without physical contact with the patient. Medical training in remote locations: The use of robotics in medical training enables students to practice in remote locations where real patients are not available.
EHRs play an important role in the management of modern healthcare systems. They collect, store, and share the data related to the health and treatment of patients. EHRs typically rely on paper-based platforms, which are prone to error, manipulation, and damage due to natural disasters and other unplanned events. EHRs are also susceptible to cyberattacks and data breaches, harming the privacy and confidentiality of patients. IoT platforms can be used to create EHRs that are stable, secure, and reliable. They can help reduce error rates and offer a higher level of protection from cyberattacks.
The Internet of Things has tremendous potential in the healthcare sector. These technologies can improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and enhance the overall patient experience. From automated remote patient monitoring to the use of robotic assistants in training and rehabilitation, the application of IoT can help improve the quality of care offered to patients. The adoption of IoT in healthcare can transform the sector and be a catalyst for growth.