The Internet of Things (IoT) is swiftly gaining traction in many aspects of society, particularly healthcare systems. In short, the technology enables several linked devices to gather and exchange data with one another.
There are several technologies – artificial intelligence, machine learning, you name it. But what specific technological idea or combination of concepts can offer the necessary monitoring and management capabilities for such a rapidly expanding worldwide niche? The solution might be found in the Internet of Things, sometimes known as IoT. You need to hire IoT developers which are dedicated and can help you create a secure application.
IoT in the healthcare industry is sometimes referred to as IoMT. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a collection of medical equipment and applications that communicate with healthcare information technology systems through online computer networks. Medical devices with Wi-Fi enable the machine-to-machine connectivity that is the foundation of IoMT. IoMT devices communicate with cloud systems such as Amazon Web Services, where recorded data is stored and analysed.
The Pros of Implementing IoT in the Healthcare Industry
- Convenience: Access to wearable technology enables real-time data on everyday health. This includes everything from how active you are to how quickly your heart beats. We can have a better grasp of our entire health thanks to technological advancements.
- Cost savings: People suffering from chronic diseases such as lung disease or cancer sometimes face expensive medical bills. The expenditures stem from rehospitalization, transportation, time away from work, and general illness support, as well as physical tolls on the body. Connected technology has the ability to save these people money and time. The patient is cared for by IoMT. They can check in with physicians remotely, ask questions, and do basic tests on a linked gadget that provides data in real-time.
- Transparency: Connected electronic health records (EHR) may prevent patients from having to repeat information at each new doctor’s office, making appointments more efficient. Those who see different doctors would be able to simply exchange their medical records. Connected devices may interface with numerous EHRs stored in the cloud, which patients can share.
- Compliance: IoMT innovation has the potential to increase compliance. With linked caps on pill bottles, a caregiver or family member would be able to know when their loved one takes a drug, misses a dosage, or needs a refill. The linked cap would also be able to transmit alarms that would inform them, so enhancing the patient’s treatment.
The Drawbacks Of Using IoT In The Healthcare Industry
- Safety and privacy: Breach of security in IoT in healthcare remains the largest concern, as it may lead to identity theft, the release of sensitive information regarding health conditions, and even murder. The latter might occur if thieves intercept sensor data requesting an emergency reaction, erase contraindications from computerised personal records, or get access to linked healthcare equipment and cause it to fail.
- Technology dependence: As hospitals become increasingly dependent on technology, hardware failures or software problems may jeopardise healthcare operations and potentially stop the whole department’s work. Furthermore, the expense of digitization and technological upkeep is relatively considerable.
- No unified IoT protocols: Another issue is the dependence on separate IoT device makers, as well as the lack of agreement on IoT protocols. As a consequence, gadgets may not operate well together, or the functionality of devices manufactured by various manufacturers may differ. As a result of freeing physicians from certain activities, they may be burdened with others, such as researching the idiosyncrasies of IoT healthcare solutions.
Exciting IoT Healthcare Use Cases
Let’s have a look at a few of them to get a better picture:
- Patient care from a distance: Residents in many regions of the globe live kilometres away from the closest hospital. As a result, it takes time for them to reach the healthcare facilities in the event of an emergency. Similarly, it becomes difficult for healthcare practitioners to see patients with chronic diseases on a regular basis. Remote patient care enabled by IoT may tackle the problem of time-consuming commutes.
- Provision for sensors: Healthcare providers may use sensors and remote equipment to aid patients with prescriptions and medicines, as well as assess their biometrics. Patients, for example, may link any wearable or portable device to the cloud and get real-time data updates.
- Face-to-face communication: Some IoT gadgets may also permit face-to-face communication via the internet. This may offer healthcare personnel the information they need to establish care plans for patients on their route to the hospital. Or even without the need for them to go to the hospital in the first place! This aids in the creation of a roster of the patients’ day-to-day health updates for chronic patients.
- Emergency care: The outputs of emergency care are determined by the timing, accuracy, and availability of contextual information. Furthermore, it is dependent on the quality of the data acquired during the emergency call. Also, the whole process of gathering, storing, analysing, and retrieving data throughout that period is time-consuming and difficult. IoT may aid in the correct collection of data, which can then be accessible by emergency care personnel such as paramedics or ER personnel for rapid and better medical support. This data may also be provided in real-time to ER personnel while the patient is on her way to the hospital, enabling hospitals to be better prepared for the treatment.
- Proper tracking system: Inventory, personnel, and patients are all tracked. Healthcare firms are all about enhancing staff efficiency and lowering operational expenses. This is true for both small and big institutions with a high number of employees, patients, and inventory. Hospitals may control admissions, boost security, and monitor overall staff performance by using IoT devices in the form of wireless ID cards. BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacons and RFID tags may be used to monitor the position of merchandise as well as staff personnel in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, IoT and RTLS (Real-Time Location Systems) may work together to improve asset tracking. This is one of the most cost-effective methods of keeping track of equipment, medications, and free resources, allowing staff to devote more time to patient care.
- Surgical augmentation: IoT has also made its way into operating rooms in healthcare. Consider networked robotic devices that are driven by artificial intelligence and utilised to execute a variety of procedures. These procedures are all about the enhanced accuracy provided by robot-assisted surgeons. Furthermore, linked devices and IoT apps can fully simplify the actions of medical personnel both before and after surgery. IoT sensors may be used to gather, transmit, and analyse data in both scenarios. This aids in the recording of the smallest details and, as a result, aids in the prevention of surgical problems.
- Critical hardware virtual monitoring: It goes without saying that all contemporary healthcare facilities need cutting-edge gear and software to operate. There might rise some concerns where one needs to consider power outages, system breakdowns, or cyber-attacks. Because no healthcare institution wants these errors to happen, they choose the finest IoT-driven solutions. One example is Philips’ e-Alert, which can virtually monitor essential medical devices. If an abnormality is detected in any piece of equipment, the solution notifies hospital personnel so that a failure may be averted by preventative maintenance.
- Pharmacy administration: The pharmaceutical industry is worth millions of dollars and is quite complex. Because there are multiple processes in moving and controlling the pharmaceuticals from the factory to storage facilities in a hospital, there may be various preservation difficulties. IoT can help bring together the greatest safety practices and cutting-edge technology to provide quicker medicine delivery, safer operations, and better patient care. Consider smart fridges, which may be used to store vaccines and prevent them from being harmed during handling, storage, or transit. IoT-enabled pharmacies can provide increased operational efficiency and effectiveness, error-free medicine dispensing, security, and overall improved patient happiness.
- Wearables: Wearable IoT devices enable care providers to acquire a plethora of data points on the patient’s sleep habits, activity, heart rate, temperature, and so on. These wearables may provide caregivers and patients with real-time information. Consider the following scenario: a heart patient has a high heart rate. The wearable will quickly convey the signal to the nursing staff, allowing them to offer the patient prompt and timely help. This may also assist with remote health monitoring of elderly people who are not in the hospital but need continual monitoring.
The Internet of Things has a lot of potential for healthcare. It claims to minimise mistakes, save money, free up healthcare personnel to undertake complex jobs while still providing the crucial personal touch, and let consumers see the doctor less often.
IoT in healthcare has enormous potential and may be very valuable to both healthcare practitioners and patients. It is expected to improve both patient care and organisational efficiency. Several hospitals across the globe have already tapped into the capabilities of IoT as part of their smart hospital projects.