The power of IoT in the Healthcare Sector
Healthcare is among those sectors that quickly adopt new technology, and continue to innovate using the vast universe known as the Internet of Things. Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare has enormous potential to transform medical treatment and boost global health indicators.
With the growth of the smart building market, IoT applications and devices are evolving to meet the growing demands of a digital world. Wherever there are opportunities for innovation, forward-thinking IoT vendors are producing creative solutions to enhance comfort, convenience, security, and more.
An estimated 3.5 billion people — around 44% of the global population — own smartphones. Most people rely on the Internet of things every day, and application opportunities are growing across industries, including education, data centers, hospitality, and healthcare.
Applications of IoT in medical care range from environmental controls and security solutions to wearable sensors and cloud-connected medical equipment. The positive impact of IoT in healthcare transforms the healthcare experience, improving patient outcomes and enhancing the quality of care.
Both doctors and patients can benefit from automated, asynchronous medical data flow, especially when it comes to treating individuals with chronic diseases and critical health conditions.
Impact on the Healthcare sector
Currently, patients communicate with doctors during in-person visits, where they are diagnosed and treated (usually having been tested beforehand) or instructed on further procedures. This is effective in cases of common illnesses such as flu or cold, but does it work as well for patients with chronic conditions? Not necessarily, as not only do patients with chronic conditions require regular attention and monitoring, but they also find it more difficult to arrange ad-hoc doctor visits when needed.
Applying IoT in healthcare could help alleviate such challenges and ensure better patient care, for example, for individuals who suffer from chronic illnesses and need constant monitoring and for individuals who live in rural areas where access to medical care is limited. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the potential of IoT in the healthcare industry.
Some of the applications of IoT in the healthcare industry are:
- Tracking the devices used for treatment
- Tracking the activities of patients
- Monitoring blood glucose levels
- Use of digital medicines
- Addition of sensors to medication
Use cases of IoT in the healthcare sector
There are a variety of ways IoT is currently being used in healthcare settings, and there are also ideas and aspirations for future uses. IoT applications are constantly evolving as technology becomes more powerful and sophisticated.
- Remotely connect with the patient- For healthcare providers, it becomes difficult to visit patients with chronic conditions frequently. The issue of time-consuming commutes can be solved with remote patient care powered by the IoT. The connectivity can allow healthcare professionals to assist patients with prescriptions, and medication, and also measure their biometrics using sensors and remote equipment. For instance, patients can connect any wearable or portable device to the cloud and update the data in real-time.
- Tracking of Inventory, Staff, and Patients- Healthcare organizations are all about increasing the efficiencies of their workforce and reducing operational costs. This is true for both small and large institutions that include several staff members, patients, and inventory. Using IoT devices in the form of wireless ID cards, hospitals can manage admissions, increase security, and measure the overall performance of the staff.
- Augmenting Surgeries- When it comes to healthcare, IoT has penetrated operating rooms as well. Think of connected robotic devices, which are powered by Artificial Intelligence and are used to perform various surgeries. These operations are all about increased precision brought forth by robot-assisted surgeons.
- Virtual Monitoring of Critical Hardware- It is a given that all modern healthcare facilities require state-of-the-art hardware and software to function. When these are not taken care of in the best possible manner, the hardware can pose various risks and threats. Think of power outages, system failures, or even cyber-attacks. Since no healthcare organization would want these mishaps to occur, they opt for the best IoT-driven solutions.
Benefits of IoT in healthcare
The benefits and positive impact of IoT in healthcare are numerous and varied:
- Increased patient comfort and convenience enable better patient satisfaction and faster recovery times.
- IoT healthcare devices, wearable technology, and data access allow physicians to monitor patients with greater precision and provide better-informed treatment.
- IoT security systems increase safety for patients, physicians, and staff.
- UV light sanitation systems keep spaces clean and prevent illness.
Another benefit of IoT smart hospital solutions: is future-proofing. Although there is an initial investment associated with implementing an IoT infrastructure, installing devices, and training staff members on software systems, the value only increases over time. Once an IoT ecosystem is in place, it’s easy to integrate new IoT devices as they are developed. An IoT-enabled smart hospital will quickly be years ahead of similar facilities that choose not to implement IoT devices and solutions.
In a nutshell, the IoT has the potential to reach every human being on the planet at one time or another in their lifetimes. It’s gone from the modern factory floor to tech-driven hospitals and medical facilities in a very short amount of time, and it’s a development that is already transforming the industry of healthcare IT.
There’s no doubt that it will continue to do so as the technology continues to advance — but how far it will take us is anybody’s guess at this point.