The Internet of Things has altered medicine at its core. Until recently, healthcare professionals were unable to continually monitor patients’ health or make real-time recommendations. After all, doctors and patients could only interact in-person, or via phone calls and text messages.
Today, healthcare professionals use IoT-enabled devices to remotely monitor patients’ health and offer better care as a result. This has improved both preventative and emergency care, reducing the length of hospital stays and the frequency of readmissions. Patients also report higher satisfaction because medical appointments are more directed and efficient. As a result of improved efficiency, hospitals can save money while improving the quality of patient care.
Are you interested in implementing IoT for your healthcare organization? The first step is learning more about the technology itself. Let’s take a look at how using IoT-enabled devices redefines healthcare by improving treatment outcomes and substantially reducing healthcare costs.
For patients, IoT technology manifests as either an enhancement of traditional medical devices, or a completely new kind of technology.
Patients can now use internet-enhanced versions of standard medical devices, including wearables like fitness trackers, blood pressure monitoring cuffs, and heart-monitoring electrodes. The smartphone apps associated with these devices can remind patients to monitor their health, improving patient compliance. Additionally, these devices can send notifications to medical staff in the event of an emergency.
Once swallowed, Proteus smart pills relay information (such as activity levels and compliance with prescribed medication regimens) to medical staff from inside the patient.
Some kinds of IoT devices have no precedent in the pre-IoT era, as IoT technology and biomedical innovations combine in novel ways. For example, once swallowed, Proteus smart pills relay information (such as activity levels and compliance with prescribed medication regimens) to medical staff from inside the patient.
For Care Providers
By asking patients to utilize IoT-embedded home monitoring equipment, physicians can keep tabs on patients’ health, check if patients are adhering to prescribed treatment plans, and get alerts if a patient needs immediate medical help. Medical staff can also use the information collected through these devices to personalize or alter treatment plans if needed.
In hospitals, IoT-enabled devices can monitor patient statistics and much more. For example, sensors can track the location of critical medical equipment like nebulizers, oxygen pumps, and defibrillators. IoT-enabled devices like smart hand sanitizer dispensers can even monitor hygiene, an important step towards lowering infection rates. These devices can serve an array of additional functions, like humidity and temperature control.
IoT sensors can track the location of critical medical equipment like nebulizers, oxygen pumps, and defibrillators.
Privacy and Data Security
As with any technological advancement, using IoT-enabled devices in healthcare brings its own set of challenges.
Healthcare IoT devices capture and transmit large amounts of sensitive data in real time, raising concerns about data security. To make matters worse, most IoT devices do not follow any privacy standards or protocols, and the regulations governing data ownership in this regard are ambiguous. Factors such as these make personal health information vulnerable, which means cybercriminals can hack into systems and misuse patient data (for example, committing insurance fraud, or producing fake IDs to purchase and resell drugs or medical equipment).
Most IoT devices do not follow any privacy standards or protocols, and the regulations governing data ownership in this regard are ambiguous.
Without a plan, you may struggle to deploy and integrate IoT devices in your healthcare organization, as these devices are all designed to serve different purposes and share no standard communication protocols. Even without IoT-embedded devices, healthcare institutions already deal with a variety of medical equipment. Managing connected devices on top of those that are already in use can be a daunting task.
The only way to resolve these concerns is to have a central console that can manage IoT and non-IoT devices alike. 42Gears’ revolutionary Things Management Technology makes this possible. Take a look here.