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iot in healthcare (2)

We are well aware that IoT offers a range of possibilities across various industries including consumer electronics and cars, healthcare, utilities, transportation, manufacturing, and so on. Also, Industrial IoT offers means to obtain insights into the business operations.

IoT offers a greater promise in the healthcare sector than in other sectors. This is because the IoT principles are already being applied to enhance the quality of care, reduce the cost of care, and improve the overall access to care. 

The integration of IoT features into medical devices greatly enhances the effectiveness and quality of service, especially bringing greater value to those requiring constant supervision and elderly patients suffering from chronic illnesses. The IoT has the potential to not only keep the patients healthy and safe but also to improve how the doctors provide care as well.

A few estimates have revealed that by 2025 spending on Healthcare IoT solutions will reach around $1 trillion, and hopefully, will make the conditions favourable for highly accessible, on-time, and personalized health services for everyone.

The IoT can also enhance patient satisfaction and engagement by allowing patients to spend more time interacting with their doctors. This article will explore some of the major applications of healthcare IoT and the challenges it poses for healthcare today.

Applications of Healthcare IoT

Starting with managing chronic diseases to preventing a disease, there are a broad range of applications for IoT in the healthcare sector. Now, let’s dig deeper into each of the major applications.

Providing Constant Attention

The patients who are hospitalized and whose health status requires close attention can be monitored constantly using noninvasive, IoT driven monitoring. This kind of solution uses sensors to gather comprehensive physiological data and the cloud and gateways to examine and preserve the data and then send the examined information wirelessly to physicians for further analysis and review.

This eliminates the need for the doctor having to visit at regular intervals to check the vital signs of a patient, instead offering a continuous and automated flow of data. In this way, it enhances the quality of care via constant attention and lowers the cost involved by eliminating the need for a physician to engage actively in data gathering and analysis.

Building Trust

The connectivity of a healthcare system with the IoT places emphasis on the patient needs. This means timely intervention by doctors, enhanced accuracy in case of diagnosis, proactive treatments, and improved treatment outcomes result in a care that is highly accountable and gains trust among the patients.

Remote Patient Monitoring

All over the world, there are many people who face health issues due to lack of access to effective health monitoring. But, with the help of powerful, interrelated IoT solutions, monitoring the patients has become easier than ever.

These solutions can be utilized to capture the health data of a patient in a secure way from different sensors, make use of complex algorithms to examine the data and then share it via wireless connectivity with the physicians who can make proper health recommendations.

Reduced Costs

With the availability of real-time data from the connected healthcare solutions, the doctors can not only take better care of their patients but also lessen their number of visits to the patient as they can monitor their patients remotely. This decreases the overall health care costs as the costs involved in hospital stays and readmissions are cut down to a greater extent.

Configuring Emergency Alerts

Healthcare IoT allows care teams to gather and connect millions of data points regarding the personal fitness of a patient from wearables like activity, temperature, perspiration, sleep, and heart-rate. As a result, the information obtained from sensors can send out real-time alerts to caregivers and patients so they obtain event-triggered messaging such as triggers and alerts for elevated heart-rate and so on. This will hugely enhance workflow optimization and ensure all the care is handled from home.  

Challenges of IoT in Healthcare

The IoT continues to face challenges in spite of the promise of what it can achieve in healthcare. If these challenges are not addressed soon, they could put the IoT at risk of failure.

By intent and design, the IoT devices collect and transmit real-time data. The infrastructure required to receive and process this information should be designed and developed for scale. This means obtaining, processing, and storing data in real-time from millions of IoT devices and applying analytics to gain insights from this data. Unfortunately, most of the providers lack the know-how and infrastructure to access the data.

Also, most of the devices reporting healthcare data suffer from a lack of common security practices or standards. Due to this, many healthcare IT professionals have raised concerns about the risks associated with data breaches and IoT device tampering.

Other major challenges include lack of EHR system integration and lack of adoption of interoperability. Addressing these problems will further revolutionize the health industry as more organizations will start implementing IoT for their healthcare services.

Conclusion

Healthcare IoT is transforming the way the facilities are delivered to patients. In order to derive the true value of healthcare IoT, the interrelated healthcare devices and the processes that are supporting them must work as a joint system that is comprehensive, integrated, and secure. With healthcare IoT facing few challenges, the healthcare providers are hopeful that the IoT will have a positive impact on delivering valuable data and supporting patient care.  

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Healthcare is undeniably one of the most important industries. The quality of medical treatment and patient care directly impact the quality of life. The integration of innovative technological solutions in the domain brings workflow automation, patient treatment, operation, and service improvement.

IoT plays a huge role in the healthcare. By 2020 the global IoT healthcare market is predicted to reach $163.24 billion. At the moment, 60% of healthcare providers have already adopted IoT applications and successfully use them in their work.

According to Aruba Networks research, healthcare organizations implement IoT applications mainly for patient monitoring and maintenance (73%) and remote operation and control (50%).

There is a wide range of IoT medical solutions effectively used by healthcare providers: wearables, smart pills, smart beds, biosensors, robots, glucose measurement devices, equipment monitoring devices, remote monitoring systems, RTHS (Real-time Health Systems), and more.

The connected hospital

There is a variety of IoT use cases for hospitals to integrate and make the environment totally connected. RFID and IoT-enabled devices, IoT-enabled assets and traditional IoT cross-industry applications including predictive maintenance of hospital assets, connected equipment, gathering real-time data, and tracking of healthcare devices. Going deeper there is robotics for routine tasks and complex operations.

Concerning examples, monitoring of medical equipment allows to track its “health”, predict, when some part will need replacement, alert about breaks, and automatically order repairs when required.

Beacons and motion sensors enable healthcare providers to track medical equipment, employees, and even patients in real-time, resulting in the improvement of patient care, right estimations of staff work efficiency and patient health status, and a lot more.

Speaking of connected patients, IoT technology can be successfully used for sending them automatic reminders about taking medication, health check-ups, and appointments with mobile applications. Thus, connected IoT hospitals result in more advanced data, enhanced patient treatment, cost savings, and workflow automation.

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