In the healthcare and medical sectors especially, IoT, or Internet of Things, has saved lives and even reduced costs drastically. It holds much more in store.
According to one recent report, $2.5 trillion is the predicted global worth of IoT in Healthcare by 2025.
In this piece, we’ll be exploring 5 use cases that prove IoT is going to be the future of healthcare.
1) Abbreviating Long Wait Times
A visit to the emergency room can get extremely exhausting at times. Other than the medical expenses that usually follow, emergency room visits can take several hours to complete.
On account of some recent ingenuity and the rapid advancements happening within the IoT realm, at least one hospital — Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City — effectively slashed wait times for over 50% of their emergency room patients who were in need of inpatient care.
The hospital pulled off this valuable achievement by leveraging an IoT-driven software that tracks occupancy among 1,200 units and factors in 15 different metrics to evaluate the needs of individual patients.
“It essentially says, ‘Hold off, your instinct is to give this bed to that guy, but there might be a better choice,’” Wayne Keathley, The President of Mt. Sinai told The New York Times.
It’s a highly successful system that calls attention to some of the more exciting and innovative uses of the IoT. Developing an IoT-driven software can congregate data from patients and process it automatically, discerning precursors of disease and aiding to prevent its development in the early stages.
2) Addressing Chronic Illnesses
IoT-driven app development can help healthcare in more than one way.
Real-time health monitoring through connected devices can save lives in the event of a medical emergency, especially when it comes to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart failure, asthma, etc.
With real-time tracking of the individual said to have the condition by means of a smart medical device connected to a smartphone app, connected devices can gather all the necessary health data and use the smartphone to convey collected information to a physician.
The Center of Connected Health Policy conducted a study that indicated that there was a 50% reduction in 30-day readmission rate because of remote monitoring of heart failure patients.
In the event of an emergency, patients can also connect with a doctor who is located miles away with a smart telemedicine platform. With mobility solutions in healthcare, the medics can instantly check the patient and identify ailments on-the-go.
3) Giving Patients Control over Their Health
Managing and tracking medications, and making sure that patients’ dose as per their prescriptions is a constant challenge in clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. An additional problem is the challenge on the part of their highly-engaged care staff to readily respond to every single patient’s individual need.
With these challenges in mind, an IoT solution can easily be leveraged within healthcare to give patients some control over their health to minimize some part of the burden that squarely rests on the shoulder of healthcare providers.
One excellent example of a company that developed such a solution, to quickly and accurately dispense pain medication in a PRN delivery method, is that of Avancen. PRN, which stands for the Latin “pro re nata,” means “as needed,” or as circumstances require.
The product developed by the company happens to be a patient-controlled analgesic (PCA) device that authorizes patients to manage their own PRN oral pain medication.
While the device puts control in the hands of the patient, it comes with complete security in the form of clinical control to prevent overdoses or security breaches related to its misuse. The patient waves an RFID wristband in front of the pre-programmed, locked device to dispense the correct dose of pain medication as part of the prescribed treatment plan.
Wearable tech can play a vital role in giving patients complete control of their health.
4) Ensuring the Accessibility & Availability of Crucial Hardware
Modern hospitals require cutting-edge hardware to operate — some of which are even used to sustain or save human life. Like all electronic devices, this equipment is vulnerable to several risks — from system failures to power outages — that could be a matter of life or death.
Philips developed a new IoT-driven solution called e-Alert a while ago to tackle this problem.
Instead of waiting for a device to collapse, this new system takes on a dynamic approach by monitoring medical hardware virtually and notifying hospital staff members in case a problem persists.
The solution combines remote sensor technology with the stability and global reach of mobile messaging to sense and rapidly respond to potential issues with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems, proactively identifying opportunities that could contribute to downtime prior to it actually occurring.
The IoT technology can easily ensure the accessibility and availability of crucial healthcare hardware and help organizations tackle future breakdowns even when the slightest of signs get noticed.
5) Aiding Healthcare Providers Assess the Severity of a Condition
Healthtech innovations are continually evolving with advances in technology. One field of healthtech that is displaying extreme potential at the moment is Medical imaging. It has a large market and tonnes of applications.
One use case within medical imaging, many of us might be unaware of, is the necessity for precise wound measurement. This is a major concern with fresh wounds, in terms of evaluating severity, as well as wounds that are making their way through the healing process.
Eykona, a UK-based medical imaging company, developed a Wound Measurement System to meet the challenge of precisely measuring wounds. Their system makes use of 3D imaging and cameras to photograph, measure and map out wound progression over time. By observing changes in tissue structure and volume, clinicians can evaluate wounds and the efficacy of their treatment.
By using an accurate measurement system, healthcare providers can ensure they are not only identifying the severity of wounds but that they suggest the right treatment and care based on an accurate assessment.
What Lies Ahead?
IoT technology has the capability to reach every human being on the planet at one time or another during their lifetimes.
It’s gone from the contemporary factory floor to tech-driven medical facilities and hospitals in no time, and it’s a development that is already transforming the industry of healthcare IT.
There’s no doubt that it will continue to do so as the technology continues to advance — but only time will tell how far it’s going to take us.