Top 7 Benefits of IoT for Healthcare and Wellness
The Internet of Things for healthcare and wellness will provide hospitals with huge benefits. In this post, we examine advantages of IoT for the industry.
Healthcare, more than any other industry, has been underperforming in the last 5 years. To start with, hospitals all over the world are understaffed. Finding enough professionals to cater to patients’ needs for continuous care is difficult, and paying additional doctors would leave treatment centers with no funding left over.
Another challenge not yet tackled is how hospitals can find enough space for the sick or severely injured in emergency and patient rooms. Long hospital stays keep hospitals fully occupied to the point that they can’t take new patients on board.
And when it comes to interpersonal skills, doctor-patient relationships are not riding a progressive wave either. In Britain, for instance, 75% are scared of taking medical care - the state of affairs is similar in other countries.
There is a way out. Technology might be the perfect solution for bringing doctors and patients closer together. According to Allied Market Research, investments into the Internet of Things in healthcare will increase up to $138 billion dollars in 2021. How can those in the health industry stay up to date on trends and develop an IoT-solution for healthcare? Read on to find out!
Benefits of IoT in healthcare
IoT offers dozens of applications capable of changing the face of medicine - smart sensors, remote monitoring devices, etc. IoT innovations can detect diseases, manage pain, or even decode brain signals and communicate them to the body - which could offer a possible cure for paralysis. While most healthcare professionals are challenged with finding ways to manage the data provided by connected devices, it’s clear the IoT will improve the healthcare industry in many important ways.
1. Automating patient care
The staff shortage is one the biggest and most problematic issues the modern healthcare industry faces. There just aren’t enough skilled doctors, nurses, lab assistants, and other professionals to administer healthcare to hundreds of patients every day.
With such a state of things, automation via the Internet of Things and healthcare does sound like good news. While we’re still too far from having a humanoid AI doctors treating patients independently, IoT-connected devices like the TUG robot have already been used to transport lab results and specimens.Why is this advancement among the huge benefits of Internet of Things in healthcare? It’s no secret that most man-made errors in medicine happen at night due to the exhaustion of healthcare professionals. It’s good news then that connected technology will eventually be able to take over patient care and avoid human errors.
2. Medical access in remote areas
Sometimes the cost of just getting to see a doctor can hold a sick person back. Add to this factor in the lack of time due to commuting, and you'll get a fair share of people who are not getting proper healthcare simply because getting to hospitals is complicated.
With the IoT and healthcare, patients no longer have to leave their home and put their jobs on hold or spend a ton of time just to get to the hospital. With Remote Patient Monitoring tools or a smart telehealth tool for smartphones, we’d be literally fighting spacetime. A patient can perform a routine test following a set of instructions and send the real-time data over to a professional.The possibility to monitor patients remotely would solve a ton of problems - like the difficulties in treating chronic diseases in rural areas. Cutting down hospital operating costs is one of the benefits of IoT for healthcare as well as making experience more convenient.
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3. Efficient data storage
Up until now, the system of medical information storage has made quite a bit of progress. We’ve come from storing paper records to digitizing patient information as well as scans - including X-rays, ECGs, MRIs, etc.However, a few inconveniences are still there. For instance, it’s hard for a patient to access their record from a different hospital (say, after moving to a new city or country). The Internet of Things for healthcare makes wirelessly transferring data in real time easier. This makes it so the efficiency of healthcare is enhanced for both the patients and the healthcare provider.
4. Developing preventive medicine
With the aging population, the governments of most countries have to be concerned with having to treat a lot of elderly patients. However, to make this an easier task for the healthcare industry, it makes sense to use the benefits of using Internet of Things in healthcare.In Singapore, for instance, there’s a government-incentivized initiative that implements ways to measure the health data of elderly citizens via wearable devices in order to provide them with timely treatment. If any critical problems arise, a connected system will alert one’s doctor. All the data is stored in the cloud and is thus extremely manageable.
5. Smart drug management
Producing and distribution of drugs is a major expense when it comes to the healthcare industry. A prescription can be written by a physician and sent over to the pharmacy via a connected IoT-device.
The Internet of Things allows automating all steps of administering drugs, which include creating, filling, and delivering prescriptions. It will also cut the level of unprescribed drug management and decrease the fatality rate connected to the case.
6. Decreased cost of healthcare
It’s considered a fact by many that the maintenance of IoT in healthcare industry procedures would ultimately cost more than simply staffing the hospital. While that might be the case for providers hiring an in-house team to create new technology, with new delivery methods (outsourcing the development of the Internet of Things and healthcare advances to third-party developers) it will actually cut development costs.In fact, according to a new Accenture survey, IoT for wellness has already reduced hospital maintenance costs. The cost decrease is a result of freeing medical staff from frequent out-of-hospital patient consultations. The hospital stays will also be reduced.
7. Tracking medical staff and improving their productivity
Every hospital on the face of the planet is looking forward to lowering its operating costs. For local treatment centers, evaluating medical staff might not be a huge issue. For a big institution divided into several departments and providing thousands of patients with healthcare, analyzing the staff’s performance is way more challenging. The Internet of Things makes all of the pieces of this puzzle fit better together. For instance, a smart IoT roadmap is helpful in automating day-to-day operations and avoid bottlenecks.Thanks to IoT devices, doctors and nurses from different departments can have a synchronized workflow. This will systemize a lot of daily operations (taking tests, transporting patients to procedure rooms, and conducting surgeries). A doctor on the shift will know which tests have or have not been taken by the patient. Altogether, this connectivity will cut the rate of misdiagnoses that can result from misunderstandings or lack of communication between doctors.
There are hospitals that are actively using wireless cameras and connected wrist bands to make sure there would be no unauthorized access into the hospital. These IoT in healthcare advantages can prove useful as well when evaluating doctor performance. BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacons can check whether the staff is in a fit working condition as well as control inventory.
IoT solutions in healthcareWhile a lot of IoT solutions for healthcare institutions are not yet widely used, there are already a few notable examples that can inspire healthcare professionals and motivate them to implement new technologies right here right now.
1. Open APS-closed-loop insulin delivery
Living with type 1 diabetes is challenging when it comes to handling day-to-day situations. Open APS (Artificial Pancreas System) uses CGM sensors to measure and adjust insulin levels. As soon as the levels of Blood Glucose skyrocket, it administers the insulin to the patient and the blood sugar levels are normalized.
The device manufacturer acknowledges, however, that APS is not a “set and forget” type of device. While a patient would still need to actively manage their diabetes, the monitoring will be way easier.
2. ECG analysis via mobile application
Cardiac diseases are among the leading causes of death all over the world. The majority of these deaths occur due to the lack of check-ups - people only go to the doctor when it’s too late. However, the use of IoT in healthcare industry procedures allows patients to keep their cardiac check-ups under control.
Based on this idea, our team developed a portable ECG measurement device for the improved quality of preventive cardio medicine.
When one records an ECG with a portable recorder, the data transmits wirelessly to a smartphone and, from there, to a server where medical professionals can access it.
Cardiolyse technology will allow patients to understand the influence of daily activities on their heart rate and blood pressure. Finally, instead of treating heart disease based on average data analytics, healthcare professionals will provide patients with personalized treatment.
3. Cancer activity trackers
Cancer treatment is another area that’s actively benefiting the Internet of Things. In fact, the tech team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is already working on a wearable device to collect and analyze the cancer patient data. As patients would be logging their daily actions, doctors will analyze them to understand what triggers health changes.
The implications of this technology are huge and will push cancer treatment and diagnosis way forward.
It’s no secret that technology can influence and improve our mood. While some of these applications are temporary (cyber drugs, for instance), others can be implemented permanently and are extremely helpful in fighting depression.
Moodables are headsets used to improve one’s mood by sending low currents to the brain. Such currents would augment the feeling of positivity and help mentally unstable patients get over depression.
5. Apple Watch App for fighting depression
With depression being a global issue in all developed countries, international tech giants like Apple have chosen to step up and join the fight.
Takeda, a Japanese tech company, has teamed up with Apple to develop an Apple Watch app that will help to understand depression. The scope of the app is for sharing and analyzing the medical data from patients’ daily lives to help medical professionals make informed clinical decisions.
The app has already been tested in a clinical trial and proved to be a positive addition to understanding depression.
Modern-day healthcare systems have many issues to tackle - high operating costs, difficult access to remote areas, low treatment efficiency, etc. Luckily, the Internet of Things for wellness would be a major improvement in all the areas listed above.
If you’re looking for a team of professionals to develop a solution using the Internet of Things for healthcare, Ardas IT is the help you need. Our team has years of experience building smart apps for client all over the world in healthcare and other industries. At Ardas-IT, we combine creativity with an impeccable engineering quality.
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