5 Ways IoT is Transforming Healthcare
Did you know? The global IoT healthcare market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 29.9% to reach $322.2 billion by 2025.
This can be attributed to the fact that this technology has tremendous potential to transform healthcare operations and efficiencies, including patient care and operational workflows. While it is still at a developing stage, and may have its fair share of obstacles, it is revolutionizing the entire healthcare industry in many ways.
Here are some of the areas where it plays a vital role:
Virtual assistants are commonplace in our everyday life with Siri, Alexa, Google Home being the forerunners. The same technology i.e., conversation-based assistance using AI is also used in the healthcare sector for increasing patient engagement.
A case in point is that of Orbita, which is a healthcare-focused platform, that designs and builds HIPAA-compliant virtual assistants. These are used to specifically engage chronic care patients. It can be integrated with various wearables and smart home technologies for providing patients the necessary resources and support as and when they require. This enables care providers to monitor the patients remotely and therefore, facilitate better communication for early intervention.
Real-Time Data Access and Analytics
Healthcare organizations are using scores of connected devices to receive a steady influx of data from various devices and other sources. By processing and analyzing this otherwise siloed data in real-time, healthcare professionals can take instant decisions based on the patients’ medical histories. This brings a twist to patient care as it leads to early diagnosis of many health conditions and is a savior.
In November 2017, the first FDA-approved smart pill called Abilify MyCite was introduced to the world.These pills can be taken just like any other prescription drugs. The catch here is that the medications are equipped with a monitoring technology that can be used to provide information to sensors that are worn on the body. These sensors are used to keep a track on the levels of various contents in the body depending upon the patient’s condition. This data is then displayed on an app, giving patients and healthcare professionals all the details regarding the patient condition. This technology can be used to check whether the drug is causing side-effects or is working fine for them. This can also be used to make sure that the medication is being taken in proper dosage and on time.
Ever since IoT is in the picture, several healthcare organizations are able to virtually monitor in-patients. For instance, in December 2018, Hill-Rom equipped its new hospital beds with heart and respiratory rate sensors.This is possible using EarlySense’ A.I. technology. The patients’ vital signs are closely monitored by these sensors, and nurses are immediately alerted whenever there is a change.
That apart, IoT has also made remote patient monitoring possible. Especially with old patients or patients who discharged from the hospital post-surgery, there are instances when they need to be regularly monitored. Remote monitoring through sensors and devices makes it possible for the healthcare providers to regularly keep track of patient health and provide them the required assistance when needed.
Healthcare institutions use a host of medical devices and other assets. In large healthcare facilities, for instance, keeping track of the inventory and devices is an uphill task. IoT makes this feat possible with RFID technology and RTLS (Real-Time Location Systems). Both these technologies can help mark the inventory and manage medical equipment easily using location sensors. Some of the more advanced systems can also help alert the staff about stock expiry dates, contamination, or the use of a wrong device. This can effectively reduce the risks and enhance the quality of patient care. This also increases hospital efficiency as the hospital staff spends less time in locating the required devices and instruments.
The Many Benefits of IoT in Healthcare
The use of IoT in medical facilities can help healthcare organizations derive several benefits such as –
- Increased operational efficiencies
- Reduced costs
- Higher staff productivity
- Improved patient safety and security
- Enhanced patient satisfaction
IoT – The Future of Healthcare
The pointers mentioned above are clear indications of IoT being the torchbearer of healthcare in the future. Keeping these benefits in mind, and the risks notwithstanding, many firms are already focusing on IoT-based smart healthcare solutions. Together with such initiatives and the latest advancements in technology, the healthcare industry is sure to witness an all-round transformation.