Coming up in healthcare with smart connectivity and automation, the Internet of Things helps medical organizations cut their costs and enhance patient treatment. According to the predictions by the IDC report, by 2020 the global IoT spending will reach $1.29 trillion. With the rapid growth of the connected healthcare market, now we’re seeing widespread adoption of connected devices and applications.
In the previous article, we’ve told you about the advantages and challenges of using IoT technology in the healthcare sector. In this one, you’ll take a deep insight into one of the most valuable IoT solutions. Let’s start our small journey!
IoT solutions in healthcare
Analysts say that by 2021, IoT-based applications will be used in various fields of the industry, for instance, inventory management in healthcare organizations (32%) and patient monitoring (28%).
The use of the Internet of Things solutions opens great possibilities for telemedicine, remote health control, and management. Moreover, now you can find plenty of the Internet of Things solutions that can be applied not only by medical providers but also in everyday life.
Wearable devices are being widely introduced in the healthcare sector. Allowing to collect and transmit health, fitness, and wellness data, they are irreplaceable for tracking important health indicators. It is noteworthy that wearables are often used as modern accessories, which makes them very popular in everyday life.
Thanks to wearable devices, individuals can detect signs of disease on time and prevent health deterioration before it arises. In addition, people can share the collected information (pulse, pressure, heart rate, blood sugar level, etc.) with their doctors so that they can have a detailed health picture.
Another important use case for wearables is offering 24/7 emergency support to vulnerable populations. By adopting a wearable device, healthcare providers can protect the elderly, patients with bronchial asthma or dementia, and others from emergencies.
2. Remote patient monitoring systems
Remote health monitoring systems have a tremendous potential to transform patient treatment. They can be integrated for conducting medical research and collecting health data on a daily basis. Yet today, healthcare organizations are using IoT solutions of this kind for cancer treatment.
For instance, there was held a clinical trial where the researchers investigated 357 patients having head and neck cancer and receiving radiation therapy. Specialists used a combination of mobile and sensor technology—a Bluetooth-enabled weight scale, symptom-tracking application, and a blood pressure cuff—for their remote monitoring.
In June 2018, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, the results of the trial were presented. The researchers found that compared with usual care, such a remote monitoring system helps improve patient treatment by reducing the severity of symptoms. Moreover, they also managed to simplify clinical decision-making.
3. Ingestible sensors
Ingestible sensors are one of the new-age IoT healthcare solutions. These pill-sized sensors that trace patient health after being swallowed are just started to be introduced on the market.
Generally, they are used for monitoring such indicators as pressure and temperature as well as whether or not an individual has taken his/her medicine. This way, physicians get the ability to track symptoms of the disease and instantly detect health problems.
Representing innovative hearing aids and providing wireless transmission via Bluetooth to communication objectives, hearables help people with hearing loss interact with the world.
What’s important, hearables can have additional biometric, movement, or proximity sensors assisting a smart device to collect data about the user's behavior. Moreover, you can embed a voice-enabled virtual assistant so that it communicates real-time insights and other data to users.
Moodables are head-mounted wearable devices sending a small electric current to the users’ brain which enhances their mood. Being able to provide bioelectronic therapy, they are successfully used for nervous system improvement and depression treatment.
In speaking of the real-life examples of such IoT solutions in healthcare, Thync company is already creating advanced ways of treatment for mental health and autoimmune disorders like psoriasis. Halo Neuroscience is also working on tech innovations. Their Halo Sport brain stimulator enables people to faster develop muscle memory and train more efficiently.
6. Electronic health record
Electronic health record (EHR) is another popular IoT solution. Representing a real-time digital record of patient information, an EHR aims at ensuring instant availability and high accuracy of medical charts.
EHRs enable to significantly reduce paperwork and facilitate the work of physicians and nurses. In addition, they get the ability to exchange health data with different healthcare organizations in order to have a full picture of patient health status on a PC or smartphone.
Thanks to the use of an EHR system, the required specialists can be automatically notified about any missing or inaccurate piece of data. What’s more, it removes the risk of human errors and medical charts’ losses.
The Internet of Things solutions offer plenty of benefits, from workflow automation and human error minimization to reduced paperwork and remote health control. There are many new connected devices that are being released on the market including smart pills, smart inhalers, mobile glucose meters, and much more. Working in conjunction with mobile and web apps and analytics systems, they are bringing us in the new age of patient treatment.
If you have questions or about IoT in healthcare, feel free to leave comments below.