Digital Transformation and the Internet of Things have brought many opportunities business and consumers alike.
The IoT means connecting devices and extracting, storing, processing and analyzing data from them in big data platforms that can then be leveraged for better decision making. It helps in predicting certain outcomes thereby helping with taking preventive actions
The popularity of wearables such as fitness trackers, blood glucose monitors, and other connected medical devices, has taken healthcare by storm. Connected devices have become a prevalent phenomenon in the consumer space and have made their way into healthcare
Healthcare is fast adopting IoT and changing rapidly as a result - reducing costs, boosting productivity, and improving quality. IoT can also boost patient engagement and satisfaction by allowing patients to spend more time interacting with their doctors.
There are a number of opportunities for the IoT to make a difference in patients' lives. IoT-enabled devices capture and monitor relevant patient data and allow providers to gain insights without having to bring patients in for visits. Adding sensors to medicines or delivery mechanisms allows doctors to keep accurate track of whether patients are sticking to their treatment plan and avoid a patient's readmission.
Patients are using these connected medical products to capture ECG readings, record medication levels, sense fall detection and act as telehealth units.
Diabetes self-management includes all sorts of gadgets and devices, which control glucose levels and remind patients to take their insulin dose. The newest wearables are even capable of delivering insulin on their own, according to health condition indicators.
Remote patient monitoring is one of the most significant cost-reduction features of IoT in healthcare. Hospitals don’t have to worry about bed availability, and doctors or nurses can keep an eye on their patients remotely. At the same time, patients usually feel more relaxed at home and recover faster.
Smart beds are a convenient solution for patients who have trouble adjusting bed positions on their own. This kind of IoT tool can sense when the patient is trying to move on their own and it reacts by correcting the bed angle or adjusting pressure to make the person more comfortable. Additionally, this frees up nurses, who don’t have to be available all the time and can dedicate extra time to other duties. Many hospitals have already introduced smart beds in their rooms.
At Boston Medical Center, IoT is everyday life. Newborn babies are given wristbands, allowing a wireless network to locate them at any time. They have installed wireless sensors in refrigerators, freezers and laboratories to ensure that blood samples, medications and other materials are kept at the proper temperatures. The hospital also has more than 600 infusion pumps which are IoT-enabled. BMC staff members can now dispense and change medications automatically through the wireless network, rather than having to physically touch each pump to load it up or make changes.
At Florida Hospital, when patients go in for surgery, they're tagged with real-time location system (RTLS) badges that track their progress through from the pre-op room to the surgical suite to the recovery unit so relatives can track the patients from outside.
There are few challenges around implementing IoT. These include data security and lack of standard security policy, hospital’s internal system integration with IoT data, and further changes and improvements in IoT hardware. However, the Internet of these Medical Things is a game-changer and the future will be connected, integrated & secure healthcare industry