Examples of using Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare
In an increasingly connected, fast-developing world, more and more industries are taking advantage of IoT solutions. That’s hardly surprising since such devices have massive potential, especially when it comes to the use of IoT in healthcare. In fact, many hospitals and healthcare facilities are already benefiting from IoT applications to improve operational efficiency and patient experience. And here’s how.
Why are the Internet of Things and healthcare a good match?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is basically a system of connected devices and objects (be it machines, people, or even animals) with unique identifiers and, more importantly, the ability to transfer data within the network without human interference. But how can this be used in the healthcare industry, then? There’s even a specific term for that: the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
The Internet of Medical Things was developed to allow medical devices and applications to collect data and communicate with one another and with IT systems. Therefore, the use of IoT in healthcare mainly revolves around medical equipment integration and innovative healthcare solutions. For example, thanks to advanced IoT devices, hospitals are able to control humidity and temperature within operating areas or patient rooms, as well as keep an eye on their critical machinery. Such applications can not only help to keep patients healthy and safe, but also improve the way physicians are performing their tasks in general.
Actually, there are many different applications of IoT in healthcare - especially since the emergence of connected care and increasing investments to implement IoT healthcare solutions are constantly boosting the adoption of the Internet of Things within the healthcare industry. In fact, by the year 2020, more than 160 million IoT healthcare solutions devices are estimated to be implemented worldwide.
The benefits of IoT in healthcare
IoT can easily be the ultimate solution for smarter healthcare, making hospitals more effective in what they do (and more pleasant to stay in). For patients, however, the benefits of IoT in healthcare can even be greater than that.
The main benefits of IoT in healthcare include:
- Better disease management and thus, better results of treatment - IoT devices for healthcare make it possible to constantly monitor patients, access real-time data, and make informed decisions about their health.
- Reduced cost - with powerful IoT healthcare sensors and applications, there’s no need to monitor patients by physicians. Plus, better treatment results can make hospital stays much shorter.
- Improved patient experience - thanks to health monitoring systems using IoT, hospitals and healthcare facilities can focus more on the patients’ needs. More accurate diagnoses, proactive treatments, and faster interventions are now within reach, improving the overall patient experience.
Examples of IoT in healthcare
Essentially, IoT is transforming ordinary medical devices into powerful tools that can enable physicians to collect data in real-time, provide valuable insights, and even deliver care remotely. There’s no doubt that there are many benefits of IoT in healthcare, but is it actually common to take advantage of such advanced solutions? Fortunately, there are already some great IoT healthcare examples to follow.
Drug storage & management
In some cases, there are strict rules concerning the way medicine should be stored and transported to stay effective. Mostly because they are prone to excessive heat or cold which can affect their properties. In order to prevent that and constantly monitor the temperature of the meds, a wireless thermometer connected to a mobile app was developed. MedAngelONE aims to help people who are using temperature-sensitive medications (such as insulin, biologics or hormones), to keep their medications safe. The sensor detects the changes in the temperature and notifies the mobile app users if they need to take action and place their drugs elsewhere.
Remote health monitoring
Probably the most common example of the use of IoT in healthcare, though, is remote health monitoring (sometimes referred to as telehealth). In some cases, it can even keep patients out of the hospital, sparing them the inconvenience (and costs) of frequent visitations. Not to mention that closely monitoring health makes it possible to address chronic diseases and achieve better outcomes when it comes to medical treatment. Amiko seems to be well aware of that - it’s a health monitoring system using IoT (advanced sensor technologies, to be exact) and AI-powered mobile health solutions to assist healthcare professionals and monitor the health of their patients.
Easier access to physical therapy
SWORD Health, and its efforts to digitize physical therapy is an interesting example of IoT in healthcare. To make physical therapy more accessible and more affordable in the long run, it basically serves as a digital therapist and delivers tailored routines to people in their own homes while tracking their progress with a range of wearable motion sensors. Thus, patients can recover more easily with professional help without going anywhere.
Tracking staff, patients and inventory
The last, but definitely not the least, use of IoT in healthcare that gains popularity has to do with having control over the inventory, patients, and staff. Being able to do so is important, especially in times of crisis. But, the bigger the facility, the harder it gets to track assets. Because of that, many hospitals are choosing to implement IoT devices for healthcare in order to be able to do it effectively in real-time. Luckily, the rapid development of mobile devices that brought about Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Near Field Communication (NFC) among others, made it easier than ever.
Internet of Things and health: A powerful duo
According to the IoT healthcare market research, there is a rising demand for improved patient care that can be met through real-time and remote monitoring of their health. This, in turn, is possible thanks to proper IoT applications in healthcare.
However, even though IoT healthcare solutions are definitely a game changer for the industry, smart healthcare IoT comes with a price. Connecting numerous medical devices generates a massive amount of data that can be challenging to manage (and kept secure) for a healthcare facility. In order to make it work, hospitals should first digitize their records, trust an experienced software development company to partner with, choose the right manufacturers of IoT devices for healthcare, and possibly hiring additional IT staff. Only then implementing IoT healthcare projects can truly go well.
P.S. IoT is commonly used in other industries too. See the work we’ve done for some of our customers.