The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, having unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without human-to-human or the needs of human-to-computer interaction.
IoT holds immense possibilities for the health care sector. Let’s take a look at the various healthcare use cases today and the rapidly emerging use cases in the near future.
IoT in Remote health monitoring(telehealth)
Remote health monitoring is a field that has been worked on since quite a few years now with whatever resources were available. But till now there has not been much success in achieving a reliable system for remote health monitoring.
There has been a shift of care in hospitals or emergency care environments to private environments like a patient’s home, whenever possible.
In such cases, IoT helps in terms of various factors such as the cost involved, getting the patient back to his ‘normal environment’ and it helps to reduce the workload of healthcare workers. In many countries, the lack of funding results in a shortage of healthcare workers, specifically in seasons where more diseases strike. Remote health monitoring, which is now a possibility due to the Internet of Things, also aids in solving the rise of chronic diseases. Remote health monitoring is a saviour when patients live in remote areas.
There is a broad range of medical wearables and biosensors, along with other medical devices, available today that lets doctors monitor the health of the patient remotely. Remote health monitoring also offers healthcare providers the possibility to detect patterns, on the basis of the data coming from these wearables and other devices. This can give new insights and visualizations of patterns as the combination of (big) data, analytics, IoT, and so forth tends to do.
IoT to Ensure the Availability and Accessibility of Critical Hardware
Modern hospitals require state of the art software and hardware to function well and even to save or sustain human life. Just like all electronic devices, this equipment is prone to numerous risks such as power outages and system failures. Such incidents can prove to be fatal.
A new IoT-driven solution, such as e-Alert (from Phillips), aims to solve that problem. The new-gen IoT devices work on a proactive approach as instead of waiting for a device to fail, it virtually monitors medical hardware and alerts hospital staff members if there’s a problem.
Iot to Track Staff, Patients, and Inventory
Safety is a huge concern for any hospital or medical facility. It’s a challenging task to maintain the maximum amount of security without the ability to track assets such as staff members, patients, and hardware throughout the hospital.
Security can be easily achieved in smaller institutions, but in larger facilities, there are multiple structures and campuses as well as thousands of patients and staff members.
Hospitals are turning to IoT and real-time location systems to facilitate asset tracking. IoT for tracking is an inexpensive method of monitoring day-to-day activities in a hospital setting. Also, it’s unobtrusive, effective, and cutting-edge.
IoT to Enhance Drug Management
One of the major breakthroughs in healthcare and IoT comes in new forms of prescription medication. Pills embedded with microscopic sensors and the size of a grain of rice can send a signal to an external device that can be a patch worn on the body, to ensure proper dosage and usage.
Such information is of immense value in ensuring that the patients remember to take their prescriptions and even for prescribing future medications. Patients can also have access to the information, through a smartphone app, to track their personal performance and improve their habits.
This is just the beginning; there are so many possibilities IoT can bring for the Healthcare sector.