The suite of technologies driven by data and powered by analytics is disrupting the healthcare industry like never before. This phenomenon, called Internet of Things (IoT) has radically affected the health services by increasing efficiency and reducing costs.The future of healthcare seems promising in the wake of this technological advancement. From managing the chronic ailments to preventing them, IoT can make a lot happen in this industry.
The transition of the healthcare industry to this technology was inevitable for several reasons. The collection of health-related or patient-generated data was complicated. The sporadic interactions between patients and medical practitioners were sparsely helpful in this regard. Moreover, lack of data resulted in many medical complications for the patients. The situation was getting worrisome.
But, the cure was available in the form of IoT. It enabled improvised data collection and analysis. The data amassed through multiple devices and monitoring systems helped the practitioners and patients monitor general health with a highly personalized approach.
How IoT-enabled Health Care Solutions can Improve Patient Care?
The automated data collected through this technology minimizes the risks of human errors. It allows the collection, assimilation, and analysis of patient-critical data over a stipulated period of time. This enables preventive care, early diagnosis, and methodical monitoring.
With sensor-based devices and cloud-based data systems, IoT simplifies the complex tasks like attaining operational efficiency in maintaining the inventories, medical equipment, and human assets. This is further enabled by Big Data analytics utilizing historical and real-time data.
The most specific areas of healthcare management where IoT can make a huge impact are:
Improving Clinical Care:
The advent of IoT-enabled non-invasive technologies have improved the monitoring systems for hospitalized patients. These systems work with sensors for collection of physiological data related to the patients. It uses cloud technologies for storing and analyzing this data. The same is then transferred wirelessly to the patients, caregivers, and doctors for review and implementation.
The entire process is automated and remotely monitored. It mitigates the challenges of short-term care planning by customizing the patient care systems. An augmented intelligence about their vital stats and physical therapy plans helps to improvise their behaviors accordingly.
Enabling Remote Patient Monitoring:
Inability to access health monitoring facilities can lead to severe complication, especially for those inflicted with chronic diseases. In this context, wireless solutions powered by IoT come to the rescue. These solutions remotely capture and analyze the critical clinical data. They share it with the concerned medical professionals. This entire loop of information can enhance the preventive measures for patients.
For instance, the patients suffering from acute cardiovascular problems can use remote sensing devices to prevent acute injury, drug intoxication, and other perilous issues. The data is collected, communicated, and aggregated to improve the healthcare mechanisms.
Disease Prevention and Support for Home Care:
IoT-enabled data monitoring can largely facilitate the aging population. Seniors can utilize an advanced monitoring device for proactively sensing the medical emergencies. Home care through sensors and apps can help in early detection of diseases and promote the patient’s adherence to the usual medication routine. This enables caregivers to detect deviations from the normal routines and reach out to help at the earliest. The home monitoring systems like fall detection sensors can substantially reduce hospitalization and fatalities caused by falls in the adult population.
IoT in Healthcare- The Essential Capabilities
The mobile application of IoT in this industry is driven by robust technologies. Wireless sensors and microcontrollers are used for monitoring and analyzing healthcare indicators in an accurate manner. The development of this technology has enabled an integration of smart sensors for collecting vital signs and for indicating the deviations from regular regimen of medication.
The technological capabilities required for enabling this advanced monitoring include:
The bottlenecks of networking can be eliminated by using wireless systems. It enables M2M or Machine to Machine communication through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies.
Intuitive User Interface:
The usability of monitoring sensors can be enhanced by using an interactive and intuitive interface. It makes it easier for the users to access information displayed on the devices.
Limitation on Power Consumption:
The sensor devices should be enabled by an extended battery life and lower power consumption while processing the data.
Data Collection Gateways:
These are the information centers where all the data collected by sensors is accumulated and analyzed. These centers transfer the data to the cloud and work as a huge connectivity resource for the users.
The Future of IoT in Healthcare Industry
The revolution of the healthcare industry instigated by the Internet of Things is going to have a stronger impact than anticipated. Apart from addressing the emergent needs, it can bring sustainable developments in this field. The features of Machine-to-Machine communication and automation will improvise over the time. Service layers will enhance its architecture by gathering unprecedented patient-generated data. It can result in better health outcomes, reduced costs, and better access to healthcare facilities. With an expected expenditure of over $1 trillion by the end of 2025; the future certainly seems promising for IoT in healthcare.