Healthcare — A critical sector. Internet of Things — A technology growing exponentially. Internet of Things in Healthcare — A winning combination?

Imagine you have an appointment with your doctor, let’s say, for a routine check-up or follow-up. However, there are certain circumstances which may not allow you to travel on that particular day. The doctor tells you, “Well, Sir, I am sorry but I won’t be available for a month from now on, so your follow up might be too late.” Well, unlucky you that you will miss the appointment. If only there was a way that the doctor could have remotely monitored you….

Oh wait, there is a way! That comes in the form of the all-too familiar term of IoT (Internet of Things), that technology buzzword that has pervaded every possible sector around the globe, to varying degrees of success. Healthcare remains one of THE most critical sectors, and it’s only natural that Internet of Things in healthcare will be having a huge impact. Another example: Some people (correct that to most!) forget to take their medicines on time and rarely remember their doctor’s appointment. This often slows down their recovery. How to tackle this issue? Again, IoT! The functioning of medical institutions has gotten simpler and more streamlined, with the Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare market reaping rewards from its extensive usage in the field.

Internet of Things in healthcare

Use of IoT in Healthcare & Accurate Prognoses

Records are made every time patients visit healthcare facilities, hospitals, or doctors. Limited access to these records can cause loss of some integral data. Internet of Things in healthcare alerts primary providers about the treatments & medications prescribed to patients. The internet is witnessing innovations and has abundant information. It connects patients and medical professionals with others worldwide. IoT can access ‘patient data’ and provide accurate real-time diagnosis & treatment.

Consumer healthcare involves vitals monitoring health devices, personal fitness devices, as well as platforms to reduce the frequency of doctor visits through personal monitoring. A recent Pew Research survey found that 1 in 5 Americans use a smart watch or fitness tracker to monitor their health, and this number rises to 1 in 4 when considering the working population in the age group of 18–49 years. This, along with the growing usage of mHealth, has made it easier for doctors and physicians to understand the current health conditions of their patient.

Remote Monitoring

Apart from giving out diagnosis and treatment on time, Internet of Things in healthcare also tracks hospital assets and patients in real time. Wearable medical devices are used to identify & monitor patients’ medical data. They also remind & alert patients & those around, of their medications or unnatural health emergencies.

Moreover, the use of IoT in healthcare alerts doctors if their patients have or haven’t taken their medications. It can record & track patients’ glucose levels. Transparency between doctors and patients helps avoid health risks. It notifies patients about medicine-intake, follow-up visits to their doctors, etc.

Remote monitoring also provides better safety and security to the patient, in terms of the digital data. This is made possible through sophisticated network protection tools and techniques. Additionally, with the rising usage of FitBit and mHealth technology, patients demand that they be given this mobility option, which can help in better customer satisfaction.

Gizmos

‘Internet of Things’ entails the use of electronic gizmos to track patients’ health. Adoption of gadgets, like smartphones & other smart devices assists in maintaining, tracking, & sharing health history, and this is a critical aspect ensuring the success of IoT in healthcare sector.

With the number of diabetic and heart ailment patients on a continued rise, and WHO stating that 2016 saw approximately 1.6 million deaths from diabetes globally, there is an urgent need to make use of gadgets that can monitor health conditions among such patients. Devices such as continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) prove of huge help in this regard.

Telemedicine was the biggest application segment for the IoT in healthcare industry in 2017. Use of technology has seen doctors being able to contact and monitor their patients through high quality video-conferencing tools. The successful implementation of IoT and telemedicine can be achieved through operability testing and updating, gauging site readiness via communications, anticipating downtime and maintenance, proper device selection, security, and device testing and support.

Key companies operating in this market include Koninklijke Philips N.V., Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA, Biotronik, and Boston Scientific

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