The Internet of things is simply the exchange of data between devices connected through the internet or other communication networks. These devices can be as simple as household items to as complicated as sophisticated industrial equipment.
In addition, IoT is one of the best technologies of the 21st century and has been implemented in all fields. Especially in Healthcare. IoT is popularly known as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
IoMT has completely changed the healthcare ecosystem by making it more accessible, cheaper, reliable, and faster. In today’s healthcare, It is the major support system in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases and has become an indispensable tool. For instance, it helps to connect multiple devices and improves remote patient monitoring, diagnosis, data handling, and analysis.
Role of IoT in the Healthcare industry
IoT plays a significant role in the healthcare industry. It can be utilized in different ways to improve care facilities as well as to treat the diagnosis.
#1. Monitoring Patients:
Remote patient monitoring devices are the most important tool enabled with IoT in healthcare. This helps in monitoring health metrics like blood pressure, heart rate, sleep patterns, glucose and oxygen levels, etc.
In addition, it helps the patient to avoid frequent visits to hospitals, gives them the freedom to monitor their health on their own, and also generates alerts in case of an unusual reading.
Software such as telemedicine, medical practice management software, and remote patient monitoring software is enabled with IoT technology supporting doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of the patient.
it also allows the doctor to deliver virtual care facilities and adherence to the treatment plan and notifies doctors whenever the patient is in trouble.
#2. Alerts and Warnings:
IoT devices can help in the continuous monitoring of patients, hospitals, storing data, and other healthcare facilities. This helps in generating alerts and warns healthcare professionals whenever there is a deviation from the standard values.
For instance, smartwatch devices help patients to send distress signals in case of medical emergencies. Other examples are helmets which are designed to alert family members and police stations in case of accidents.
In this case, devices alert emergency contacts when it detects a higher drop in heart rate or blood pressure, without any patient input. This can save the lives of people who don’t even know that they are in danger.
However, maintaining temperatures in ICU is important for keeping the vitals of the patient stable, and maintaining the environment in storage is imperative for drug storage and viability. As a result, The sensors notify the medical staff in cases of temperature drop or rise.
#3. Data Handling:
Healthcare data is very vast and processing this can be financially draining and requires too many people. IoT has revolutionized data handling and has made all the steps easy i.e data collection, processing, aggregation, analysis, and security.
3.1 Data Collection:
IoT consists of a lot of devices such as monitors, sensors, detectors, camera systems, etc which help in collecting data from patients, labs, storage, transport areas, and Healthcare facilities. They are extremely sensitive and provide continuous and accurate data.
3.2 Data Processing:
Most of the data collected are usually in analog form, these are then converted into digital form for further processing. Computers and laptops help in data processing and organizing.
3.3 Data Aggregation:
IoT devices help in summarising the high pool of data for easier analysis.
3.4 Data Analysing:
IoT devices have significantly reduced the time required for analyzing patient reports. Many devices are available to compile the data and show results faster. This saves time in diagnosis and also gives a better understanding of the diagnosis.
Remote treatment of patients has been possible because of IoT. At-home monitoring of health, high-quality video consultation, digital medical records, etc have helped in the treatment of many patients at remote locations.
This had also helped patients to reduce the number of visits to hospitals and thus reduced their exposure to infections. Continuous health monitoring and transparency of the data collection have led to proactive and improved treatment.
However, IoT has introduced Robot-assisted surgeries which help in more precision, minimal invasion, and flexible surgeries.
#5. Cost Reduction:
They reduce the labor required for analyzing, tracking, and keeping a record of various instruments and drugs. IoT has eliminated the intensive paperwork and manual work by digitizing most of the process.
It has also reduced the time for diagnosis and eliminated the need for the physical presence of patients or doctors. Hence, the financial burden on Healthcare decreases.
#6. Drugs and Equipment Management:
RFID scanning has helped in tracking every device and equipment available in hospitals. They also help in monitoring the storage conditions of Drugs and vaccines and help in remotely controlling storage conditions.
Expiry dates and maintenance periods of drugs and equipment are stored and reminded to the concerned professionals.
#7. Smart Hospital Space
Nowadays, patients can manage everything from their hospital beds. They can order food, check their treatment progress, monitor their health, and interact with doctors just by tapping on their phones. They can regulate the room temperature, and humidity and can maintain the environment according to their needs.
There is no doubt that technology like IoT will be the future of healthcare. As it is already being utilized in major care facilities. While this attracts new players to enter the market. As a result, The value of the IoT sector has been growing since the beginning and is projected to reach 176 US Billion Dollars by 2026.