5 Differences the Internet of Things (IoT) Can Make to Healthcare
Published on 29 Sep, 2016
With all the imaginative, nay, fanciful solutions to real-world problems that IoT can deliver, the healthcare industry has a lot to gain.
The Internet of Things has spurred some interesting developments that could overcome several challenges that always seem to stymie most successful treatments. IoT has the ability to reshape the healthcare space by equipping healthcare establishments with better operational control and reliability, centralized monitoring, and quite possibly, more affordable healthcare.
Here are some of the biggest advantages of IoT in healthcare.
Convenience — Through Easy Access and Reach
Constantly connected devices could reduce a lot of back and forth for physical checkups and appointments.
Medical professionals can remotely monitor a patient, perform diagnostics, improve adherence to prescribed therapies, check on remotely deployed medical equipment, make provisions for better chronic disease management, and ensure care for patients who live far off or alone — all without the patient having to physically see a doctor at a hospital or clinic.
Constant Monitoring — Through Wearable Devices
The beauty of wearable devices is they can be always on.
Mobility applications and wearable devices enable patients to record and monitor information related to their health, habits, lifestyle and other essential parameters, sharing it with healthcare solution providers in real-time through connected systems. They’d be able to catch everything from the slightest arrhythmia to full-blown emergencies, notifying medical personnel without delay.
Your doctor would be able to serve you better if he, quite literally, didn’t miss a beat.
Better Diagnosis — Through Big Data and Analytics
Always-on devices could be part of us from the day we’re born to the day we break down.
The constant flow of data isn’t just useful to track real-time vital stats; a gradual patient profile could be built up to create personalized preventive as well as curative treatments.
Over time, big data systems could develop a more intelligent understanding of a patient, specifics about their genetic history, lifestyle, geography, and any predispositions to ailments they could create.
Accurate Tracking — Data, Patients, Equipment & Personnel
Embedded IoT-enabled trackers — both software and hardware — can be handy in keeping track of things other than the patient’s data.
Within a hospital premises, they could be invaluable in keeping track of a patient’s whereabouts, current vitals, the status of their equipment (life-support, dialysis, pretty much anything they’re plugged into) as well as essential personnel that may need to be informed in case of any developments or emergencies.
Cost Reduction — Through Preventive, Predictive, and Pervasive Solutions
By simply improving adherence to prescribed therapies, especially for chronic conditions such as diabetes, countries (like the US, which spends approximately 18% of its GDP on healthcare every year) could reduce healthcare expenditures significantly.
Remote data from medical devices can enable live monitoring and data sharing. It’ll allow real-time decision making, perhaps even autonomous response/administration of preventive treatment, all of which could reduce the likelihood of emergency medical distresses and subsequent need for hospitalization.
Better response and treatment management also means fewer complications, and the need for follow-ups. That could not only reduce overall treatment costs, but also free up healthcare assets. Greater monitoring and automation in tandem with predictive analytics could also prevent the emergence of chronic conditions outright, eliminating the need for costly treatments altogether.
Besides the obvious benefits to a patient, reducing the burden of claims on healthcare service providers could really go a long way in allowing them to cut down what they’d charge for both insurance and care.