The internet of things (IoT) is revolutionizing how we live, work, and play. But what about its potential impact on healthcare? Many experts believe that IoT could play a significant role in the future of healthcare, improving everything from patient care to hospital efficiency.
IoT is being used in healthcare to track patients' health data. This data includes temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and more. Tracking this data allows doctors to understand better how a patient is doing and ensure they are getting the care they need.
IoT can also be used to improve communication between doctors and patients. For example, patients could use wearable devices to track their health data which they would then share with their doctor during their next appointment. This helps the doctor and patient track progress and identify potential issues early on.
In healthcare, IoT has the potential to redefine the way we provide care and improve outcomes for patients.
How is IoT being used in healthcare today?
With the rise of interconnected devices, it was only a matter of time before the healthcare industry fully embraced the internet of things (IoT). By 2025, it's estimated that there will be more than 30 billion IoT devices worldwide, and a large portion of those will be in healthcare. So, what does the future of IoT in healthcare look like? And how will it impact manufacturers? Let's take a closer look.
1. Wearable Devices
One of healthcare's most popular IoT applications is wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches. These devices are equipped with sensors that can track everything from heart rate and steps taken to sleep quality. This data can be precious to both patients and their caregivers. Patients can use the data to make lifestyle changes to improve their health, while caregivers can use it to monitor patients remotely and intervene when necessary.
In addition to tracking fitness data, wearable devices are also being used to monitor vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure. These devices could detect early warning signs of a heart attack or stroke, allowing patients to get treatment before it’s too late.
2. Smartphone Apps
Another way that IoT is being used in healthcare is through smartphone apps. There are apps available for everything, including managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. These apps can help patients track their symptoms, medication adherence, and diet. They can also provide patients with resources such as educational materials and support groups.
Smartphone apps are not just for patients – they’re also being developed for caregivers. For example, some apps allow caregivers to track multiple patients’ vital signs from one central location. This can be a valuable tool for nurses working in hospital settings.
3. Medical Devices
Medical devices such as pacemakers and insulin pumps are equipped with sensors that allow them to send data directly to a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR). The patient’s care team can then access this data in real-time, allowing them to intervene if necessary.
In addition to monitoring devices, IoT is also being used to develop new medical devices altogether. One example is an ingestible sensor developed by Proteus Digital Health, which can measure medication adherence in real time. The sensor sends data about when and how medications are taken directly to an app on the patient’s smartphone, which can then be shared with their care team.
What can IoT do for healthcare?
IoT has already entered the field of medicine. In some state-of-art hospitals, you will be able to see it first-hand. With all the advances mentioned earlier in mind, the big question is, what are some issues being tackled by introducing IoT into the healthcare ecosystem?
1. Improve Patient Care
One of IoT’s most critical roles in healthcare is improving patient care. The data collected by IoT devices can be used to track patients’ health, identify potential problems early, and customize treatment plans. For example, wearable devices like fitness trackers can monitor patients’ activity and heart rates. This data can then ensure patients stay on track with their exercise routines and keep their heart health in check.
2. Reduce Costs
The data collected by IoT devices can be used to boost efficiency and eliminate waste in hospital operations. For example, RFID tags can track medical supplies and equipment, ensuring that nothing gets lost or misplaced. This helps hospitals avoid repurchasing expensive items and keeps them from running out of crucial supplies at inopportune times.
3. Increase Engagement
Wearable devices allow patients to track their health data and share it with their doctors. This makes it easier for doctors to identify issues early and inform patients about their health status.
Additionally, many hospitals are now using patient portals powered by IoT to give patients 24/7 access to their medical records and test results.
1. Enhance Safety
Safety is always a top priority in healthcare, and IoT is helping to improve safety in several ways. For example, sensors can track environmental conditions like temperature and humidity levels, ensuring that infection control standards are met. GPS tracking devices can also monitor high-risk patients and ensure they take their prescribed medications.
2. Enable Telemedicine
Telemedicine refers to the practice of providing medical care remotely via telecommunications technology. Telemedicine allows patients in rural areas or other underserved communities to receive high-quality care from specialists who might not otherwise be available. It also allows busy professionals to schedule appointments around their schedules instead of having to take time off work or miss important deadlines.
What trends can we expect in the future?
Since its integration, IoT has played a significant role in advancing numerous fields, such as education, banking, logistics, and healthcare. In the healthcare sector especially, IoT is already transforming the industry and improving patient outcomes.
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