The healthcare industry is in a state of great despair. Healthcare services are costlier than ever, the global population is ageing and the number of chronic diseases is on a rise.
What we are approaching is a world where basic healthcare would become out of reach to most people, a large section of society would go unproductive owing to old age and people would be more prone to chronic disease.
Isn’t it the end of the world we suspected? Whatever, IoT app development is at your rescue.
While technology can’t stop the population from ageing or eradicate chronic diseases at once, it can at least make healthcare easier by equipping the users with pocket friendly medical facilities.
Medical diagnostic consumes a large part of hospital bills. Technology can move the routines of medical checks from a hospital (hospital-centric) to the patient’s home (home-centric).
The right patient outcomes will result into the reduced cost of hospitalization.
A new paradigm, known as the Internet of Things (IoT), has an extensive applicability in numerous areas, including healthcare.
The full application of this paradigm in the healthcare service is a mutual hope because it allows medical service providers to function more competently and patients to obtain better treatment.
With the use of this technology-based healthcare method, there are unparalleled benefits which could improve the quality and efficiency of treatments and accordingly improve the health of the elderly patients.
Simultaneous reporting and monitoring
Remote health monitoring monitoring via connected devices can save lives in event of a medical emergency like heart failure, diabetes, asthma attacks, etc.
With real-time monitoring of the health condition in place by means of a smart medical device connected to a smartphone app, connected medical devices can collect medical and other required health data and use the data connection of the smartphone to transfer collected information to a physician or to a cloud platform.
Center of Connected Health Policy conducted a study that indicates that there was a 50% reduction in 30-day readmission rate because of remote patient monitoring on heart failure patients.
The IoT device collects and transfers health data: blood pressure, oxygen and blood sugar levels, weight, and ECGs.
These data are stored in the cloud and can be shared with an authorized person, who could be a physician, your insurance company, a participating health firm or an external consultant, to allow them to look at the collected data regardless of their place, time, or device.
End-to-end connectivity and affordability
IoT can automate patient care workflow with the help healthcare mobility solution and other new IoT technologies, and next-gen healthcare facilities.
IoT in healthcare enables interoperability, artificial intelligence machine-to-machine communication, information exchange, and data movement that makes healthcare service delivery effective.
Connectivity protocols: Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, Z-wave, ZigBee, and other modern protocols, healthcare personnel can change the way they spot illness and ailments in patients and can also innovate revolutionary ways of treating across different healthcare fields.
Consequently, technology-driven setup brings down the healthcare cost, by cutting down unnecessary visits, utilizing better quality resources, and improving the allocation and planning.
Data assortment and analysis
Vast amount of data that a healthcare device sends in a very short time owing to their real-time application is hard to store and manage if the access to cloud is unavailable.
Even for healthcare professionals to acquire data originating from multiple devices and sources and analyze it manually is a tough bet.
IoT devices can collect, report and analyses the real time information and cut the need to store the raw data.
This all can happen overcloud with the providers only getting access to final reports with graphs.
Moreover, healthcare operations allow organizations to get vital healthcare analytics and data-driven insights which speed up decision-making and is less prone to errors.
Tracking and alerts
On-time alert is critical in chronic condition. Medical IoT devices gather vital signs of any disease and transfer that data to doctors for real-time tracking, while dropping notifications to people about critical parts via mobile apps and smart sensors.
Reports and alerts give a firm opinion about a patient’s condition, irrespective of place and time.
It also helps healthcare providers to make well-versed decisions and provide on-time treatment.
Thus, IoT enables real-time alerting, tracking, and monitoring, which permits hands-on treatments, better accuracy, apt intervention by doctors and improve complete patient care delivery results.
Remote medical assistance
In event of an emergency, patients can contact a doctor who is many kilometers away with a smart mobile apps.
With mobility solutions in healthcare, the medics can instantly check the patients and identify the ailments on-the-go.
Also, numerous IoT-based healthcare delivery chains that are forecasting to build machines that can distribute drugs on the basis of patient’s prescription and ailment-related data available via linked devices.
IoT will Improve the patient’s care In hospital. This in turn, will cut on people’s expense on healthcare
IoT healthcare applications can also be used for research purposes. It’s because IoT enables us to collect a huge amount of data about the patient’s illness which would have taken many years if we collected it manually.
This data thus collected can be used for statistical study that would support the medical research.
Thus, IoT don’t only saves time but also our money which would go in the research.
Thus, IoT has a great impact in the field of medical research. It enables the introduction of bigger and better medical treatments.
IoT is used in a variety of devices that enhance the quality of the healthcare services received by the patients.
Even the existing devices are now being updated by IoT by simply using embedding chips of smart hospital devices. This chip enhances the assistance and care that a patient requires.
Data security & privacy
One of the most significant challenges in healthcare that IoT poses is of data security & privacy. IoT security devices capture and transmit data in real-time.
However, most IoT devices lack data protocols and security requirements.
In addition to that, there is significant ambiguity regarding data ownership regulation with electronic devices.
All these factors make the data highly susceptible to cybercriminals who can hack into the system and compromise Personal Health Information (PHI) of both patients as well as doctors.
Cybercriminals can misuse patient’s electronic health record to create fake IDs to buy drugs and medical equipment which they can sell later.
Hackers can also file a fraudulent Insurance claim in patient’s name.
Integration: multiple devices & protocols
Integration of multiple devices also causes hindrance in the implementation of IoT in the healthcare sector.
The reason for this hindrance is that device manufacturers haven’t reached a consensus regarding communication protocols and standard.
So, even if the variety of devices are connected; the difference in their communication protocol complicates and hinders the process of data aggregation.
This non-uniformity of the connected device’s protocols slows down the whole process and reduces the scope of scalability of IoT in healthcare.
Data overload & accuracy
As discussed earlier, data aggregation is difficult due to the use of different communication protocols & standards.
However, IoT devices still record a ton of data. The data collected by IoT devices are utilized to gain vital insights.
However, the amount of data is so tremendous that deriving insights from it are becoming extremely difficult for doctors which, ultimately affects the quality of decision-making. This will eventually lead to patient safety issues.
Moreover, this concern is rising as more devices are connected which record more and more data.
Surprised to see cost considerations in the challenge sections? I know most of you would be; but the bottom line is: IoT has not made the healthcare facilitates affordable to the common man yet.
The boom in the Healthcare costs is a worrying sign for everybody especially the developed countries.
The situation is such that it gave rise to “Medical Tourism” in which patients with critical conditions access healthcare facilities of the developing nations which costs them as less as one-tenth. IoT in healthcare as a concept is a fascinating and promising idea.
However, it hasn’t solved the cost considerations as of now. To successfully implement IoT app development and to gain its total optimization the stakeholders must make it cost effective otherwise it will always remain out of everyone’s reach except the people from the high class.
Why it is important in healthcare?
We can consider an IoT healthcare facility as a collection of ubiquitous computing that mainly deals with external activities. In healthcare, IoT-based healthcare systems collect a variety of patient data and get inputs from doctors medical professionals. Continuous glucose monitoring for insulin pens is the best example of this.
All these devices can communicate with each other and take important actions that would provide timely help to save someone’s life. After collecting the data, an IoT healthcare device would send this critical information to the cloud so that doctors can act upon it.
From this, we can say that the potential application of IoT in healthcare can improve not only a patient’s health but also the health care employee productivity and hospital workflows.
How IoT helps in healthcare — Process
Here is the detailed workflow of IoT healthcare:
- A sensor collects data from a patient, doctor or nurse inputs data.
- AI-driven algorithms like Machine Learning (ML) is used to analyze the collected data.
- The device decides whether to act or send the information to the cloud.
- Doctors or health practitioners can make actionable and informed decisions based on the data provided by IoT healthcare solutions.
Future of IoT in healthcare
We can consider an IoT unit as a device with a sensor that can interact with the physical world and send information to the Internet. All these Iot based healthcare devices can communicate with each other to take important actions that would provide timely help or even save a life.
After collecting passive data, IoT healthcare devices would send this critical information to the cloud so that doctors can act upon it. Thus, IoT-based healthcare services not only improve a patient’s health and help in critical situations but also the productivity of health employees and healthcare organizations’ workflows.
Applications of IoT in healthcare
The rise of IoT is exciting for everybody due to its different scope of use in various sectors. In Healthcare it has several applications. Here are some remarkable IoT applications in healthcare:
- Reducing emergency room wait time
- Tracking patients, hospital staff, and inventory
- Enhancing drug management
- Ensuring availability of critical hardware
IoT has also introduced several wearables & devices which has made lives of patients comfortable. These devices are as follows.
Hearables are new-age hearing aids which have completely transformed the way people who suffered hearing loss interact with the world.
Nowadays, hearables are compatible with Bluetooth which syncs your smartphone with it.
It allows you to filter, equalize and add layered features to real-world sounds. Doppler Labs is the most suitable example of it.
Ingestible sensors are genuinely a modern-science marvel. These are pill-sized sensors which monitor the medication in our body and warns us if it detects any irregularities in our bodies.
These sensors can be a boon for a diabetic patient as would help in curbing symptoms and provide an early warning for critical health issues. Proteus Digital Health is one such example.
Moodables are mood enhancing devices which help in improving our mood throughout the day. It may sound like science fiction, but it’s not far from reality.
Thync and Halo Neurosciences are already working on it and has made tremendous progress.
Moodables are head-mounted wearables that send low-intensity current to the brain which elevates our mood.
Computer vision technology
Computer vision technology along with AI has given rise to drone technology which aims to mimic visual perception and hence decision making based on it.
Drones like Skydio use computer vision technology to detect obstacles and to navigate around them.
This technology can also be used for visually impaired people to navigate efficiently.
IoT devices such as Audemix reduce much manual work which a doctor has to do during patient charting.
It is powered by voice commands and captures the patient’s data.
It makes the patient’s data readily accessible for review. It saves around doctors’ work by 15 hours per week.
Insulin Pens and Smart CGM
These devices are used for the real time monitoring of blood glucose levels and data sharing over a dedicated mobile app. Patients with diabetes can use these devices to track their glucose levels and even send this data to their doctor and the relevant medical staff.
Medical sensors help the patients to swallow the prescribed medication via a tiny digestible medical sensor that sends a small signal to a wearable receiver on the patient, which sends data to a dedicated smartphone app.
Smart video pills
A smart pill travels through a patient’s intestinal tract to take its clear cut picture. It can then send that pictures to a wearable devices that is connected with dedicated medical applications. Smart pills are also helpful to visualize the gastrointestinal tract and colon remotely.
IoT changes the way the facilities are delivered to the healthcare industry.
These technologies improve the product, causing a larger effect by bringing together minor changes.