Could the technology of the Internet of Things (IoT) make health care more efficient, particularly when healthcare providers around the world are in pressure of fulfilling the rapidly increasing demand of services and their chronic understanding?
Yes this is possible! IoT healthcare solutions can certainly make it happen. IoT is the technology of sensors and software. When sensors are equipped with objects to monitor their environment via the internet, they together form the technology called IoT that provides healthcare organization greater ability of collect data, report back in real time and even make instant decisions helping in saving a patient’s life.
IoT has now completely matured to provide its benefits for health-care by facilitating hospitals to track and monitor patients right from the movement they arrive at a hospital and, it all will happen in real time.
Many hospitals and doctors are now recommending adding sensors to patients to record the data in real-time, without the need of nurses taking readings or updating charts. In general, hospitals can adopt IoT healthcare solutions to effectively track their expensive and vital equipment and resources.
Market trends show that the appetite for IoT devices in the healthcare industry is increasing day after day with global spending expected to reach from $41.22bn in 2017 to $263.6bn by 2023.
- With IoT technology being used for integrated health management, it can help people with dementia staying at home longer. With sensors and other devices, patients can be monitored even from their homes for their health and welling to check if they are still doing well and keep alerting professionals whether they need to take any step or not.
- IoT can also make life of diabetics easier. An example was set by Diabetes Digital Coach. It was a learning system for helping help diabetics easily handle medical conditions with the minimum use of IoT components.
- Located in Wick, Caithness, Scotland, Caithness General Hospital has begun an IoT pilot project using IoT-enabled hospital beds. These beds have been equipped with Bluetooth sensors that provide information related to their location and maintenance record.
- Many hospitals are adopting Healthcare IoT solutions for two main aims: first to track expensive and sought-after resources; both equipment and clinicians, and second to forward patients more towards the self-care.
- For Aged patients with increasing number of prolonging medical conditions and limited finances to spend over health care, IoT is becoming governments’ key guiding principle to rollout more IoT healthcare solutions in the future. These solutions will help hospitals keep collecting data related to health-conditions of patients without them need to spend.
- On the other hand, even simple IoT deployment isn’t cheaper. Building anything more complex would, of course, require bigger budgets. Many hospitals aren’t in the condition to pay the cost right now. More complex automation of medical activities using IoT still requires a lot of efforts, time, and the investment of money. Also, many things are completely fresh to IoT which means developers have no previous document available to use as a reference.
- Data gathered from sensors will not only be helpful for hospitals and patients, but also for governments making healthcare policies.
- The trend that a growing number of medical devices coming as internet-connected may also force hospitals towards the greater use of IoT. Medical devices, like blood pressure monitors, pacemakers, pill bottles, and inhalers are gaining internet connectivity. It allows doctors to monitor and correct a treatment in real-time.
But there are challenges…
- Certain IoT-Health tech questions related security and standard have not been answered so far. This too will need to be resolved before governments standardize IoT-health for hospitals and adopt IoT healthcare solutions on a wider scale.
- Remember how pacemakers have shows security flaws which could even put the life of a patient at risk.
- Standardization of IoT healthcare technology is also necessary to ensure that devices and software and methods are appropriate for their intended use.
- Disclosure of health-data can damage a person social life in multiple ways. Authorities have to decide that who will own the data. There can be only single-handed control over it.
- Healthcare providers have to provide access to their EHRs (electronic health record) to med-tech companies so that they can keep improving their products. The data access should be given to med-tech companies including, where relevant, patient consent on how it will be used.
However, despite these challenges, it’s not difficult to guess how IoT can help healthcare providers cut costs without losing the quality of services. The technology can provide great patient safety, monitoring to equipment and even the remote control over them. With more reliable data in hands, doctors are able to take better care of patients. The new era of healthcare has now begun!
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