The Internet of Things (IoT) is a vast network that connects internet-using devices together. It provides them with faster and more efficient functions than ever before. Now, the healthcare industry is seeing the benefits. With IoT in healthcare projects, patients, doctors and hospitals can connect better, with improved care and treatment. The following applications and areas of IoT in healthcare show that the industry needs these tech updates now more than ever.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Accessibility is a common necessity among patients. When physicians are available for care remotely, it saves patients a trip and potential costs as well. If an individual has disabilities or other factors that limit them from visiting a hospital or practice, remote patient monitoring will be essential.
IoT has now made it possible for physicians to use apps and mobile devices to track patients’ vitals and health. Further, these updates happen in real-time. This speed is important because if a patient needs immediate help, the monitoring apps can instantly alert physicians. Remote patient monitoring may be necessary for elderly individuals or those who live alone.
Apart from immediate attention, IoT remote devices can deliver daily notifications and summaries regarding patients. That way, doctors can monitor their patients over longer periods of time.
Some remote patient monitoring tech will be in the form of a wearable device. One of the most common wearables is a smartwatch. These watches can monitor your health, exercise and vitals in a clear way. For healthcare, a smartwatch can use IoT to connect with physicians as well as inform you of your health status.
For instance, the Apple Watch has been the center of studies that investigate whether it can be helpful in treating depression and other mental health issues. It can keep track of activity and health to see how active a user is as signs of any issues. If it were to pair with sleep cycles or fitness apps, it could gather more information on the matter, too.
For wearables, these assessments could just be the beginning of what they’re capable of. The future of IoT will be compact and fit inside accessories for everyone to monitor their health.
Apps and mobile devices are inherent for IoT in healthcare. However, Bluetooth chips can connect treatments to these devices to create smart treatments. An inhaler, for instance can uses Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone. If you have asthma, this technological way of using your inhaler could be game-changing.
Companies like Propeller Health are working on this connection so that people can control their asthma better. First, they’d be able to monitor and track their asthma attacks and inhaler usage. This data could show them what causes their attacks or what environments they were in that made it worse. Then, it can keep track of which medicine they use for their inhalers. If one inhaler works better than another, they can switch. If they need to share their information with a doctor, they can do that, too — all from their smartphone.
As IoT expands, tech like smart treatments for asthma will reach other medicine and treatments as well.
For hospital staff, IoT can bring about important changes from supplies to connections. First, keeping track of equipment in real-time is now an option with IoT. Physicians can see where their equipment is and if they need to replace it or reorder more.
IoT also encompasses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) systems to form better predictions around diagnoses. As researchers, scientists and doctors attempt to predict chronic diseases in patients, IoT can use AI and ML to help. That way, physicians can better prepare for their patients’ futures.
Last, IoT tech can help with hygiene and cleanliness. Now more than ever, the spread of diseases is a central focus. As new tech helps measure levels of sanitation, illnesses are less likely to spread — a necessary precaution to take in hospitals.
The Speed of IoT Integration
As these innovations become more popular, they will be the norm for many hospitals and practices across the world. However, with the effects of COVID-19, all things digital have increased in integration speed. Now, IoT is not a feature, but rather a necessity.