By Rahul Pandey, Senior Analyst and Shamal Gavande, Senior Analyst, Adroit Market Research
The use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the healthcare sector has increased rapidly across numerous unique use cases of the Internet of Things. Nowadays, healthcare IoT cases are picking up momentum and the acceptance of connected healthcare is accelerating, even though there are some challenges. IoT has increased patient involvement and satisfaction, as interactions with doctors and medical staff have become simpler and more effective. Besides, remote patient health monitoring tends to reduce the duration of hospital stay and avoids re-admissions. IoT also has a significant effect on lowering healthcare costs and enhancing the results of therapy.
In offering healthcare solutions, IoT is undeniably changing the healthcare industry by redefining the room for interaction between devices and people. It has various application in the healthcare sector that benefit patients, hospitals, physicians, families, and insurance companies. The wide-ranging adoption of this technology in the field of healthcare is a shared hope, as it helps medical centers and patients to work more proficiently and receive better treatment respectively.
Thus, most healthcare IoT programs have concentrated on improving treatment, with remote monitoring and telemonitoring. Several initiatives are existing that focusses on tracking, monitoring, and management of properties using IoT and RFID. This is attained at several levels including medical equipment, healthcare properties, individuals, and non-medical assets.
Towards integrated and mature IoT-enabled e-health reality
Previously, the patients’ interaction with the doctors were only limited to visits, telephone and texts. There were no means that hospitals or doctors could continuously track the health of patients and make recommendations accordingly. The basic healthcare was out of reach for most people, because of old age, a large section of society would be unproductive, and people would be more vulnerable to chronic disease.
The Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices has made remote monitoring possible in the health sector to ensure that people are secure and healthy and encourage physicians to provide superlative care. More integrated approaches and advantages with the role of the Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT) are followed within the overall connected healthcare system. The timeframe from 2017 to 2022 will be significant in this transition, with many changes before 2020. As the IoT is acting as a fundamental factor of the healthcare industry’s digital transformation and efforts taken by different stakeholders, growth in IoT healthcare applications is poised to increase from 2017 to 2022.
Also, consumer awareness and engagement about their health are growing, demand for remote and home opportunities continues to grow, new approaches and partnerships are being developed by different healthcare ecosystem players; and reduction of healthcare expenditure remains a primary objective, along with better quality care. In all these sectors, IoT-enabled and a more integrated eHealth approach prove necessary.
Integration of Healthcare and IoT Ecosystem
Challenges in the healthcare industry have created new criteria for medical providers to offer high-quality healthcare services effectively. Due to its different variety of usage in different industries, the growth of the IoT is exciting for all. There are extraordinary advantages in the use of the IoT technology-based healthcare approach that could enhance the quality and efficiency of treatments and enhance patients’ wellbeing accordingly.
The life of a patient with some emergency medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma attacks, heart failure, etc can be saved due to the real-time monitoring system. through connected devices. With the support of healthcare mobility solutions and other emerging technology and next-gen healthcare facilities, IoT will simplify patient care workflow. Healthcare IoT allows interoperability, communication from machine to machine, sharing of information, and flow of data that makes the delivery of healthcare services efficient.
IoT has also presented several wearables and devices such as hearables, moodables, and ingestible sensors which have made the patient’s life easy and comfortable. Moreover, healthcare practices allow organizations to obtain critical health analytics and data-driven insights that speed up decision-making and are less vulnerable to errors. IoT allows real-time alerting, tracking, and monitoring, allowing hands-on procedures, increased precision, physicians’ apt involvement, and maximizing the outcomes of full patient care delivery.
IoT has tremendous potential to develop the healthcare sector. For patients, doctors, caregivers, and hospital and insurance firms, IoT technologies in healthcare have specific benefits.
Data security is one of the most serious challenges that occurred in the IoT technology. In real-time, IoT devices capture and convey data. However, the majority of IoT computers, lack data protocols and standards. Patient information can be misused by cybercriminals to produce fake IDs to buy medical equipment and drugs that they can wholesale later. Besides, the introduction of multiple devices often poses obstacles to IoT adoption in the healthcare sector.
IoT implementation in healthcare, however, is still a challenge in many areas. Many healthcare providers are either not prepared for the IoT investment or do not have the requisite healthcare substructure to enable the introduction of the IoT.
Today’s Healthcare IoT in Action
The Kinect HoloLens Supported Recovery Experience (KHARE) platform, developed by Microsoft Enterprise Services in collaboration with the National Institute for Insurance Against Injuries at Work (INAIL) for the treatment of mirror neuron, is a good example of the IoT used in healthcare. The KHARE platform enables doctors to create complete and customized physical treatment programs for patients irrespective of their location in real-time data. Another example is Weka’s Smart Fridge for vaccines, which tackles key concerns in the management of vaccines, such as the handling of vaccines at the recommended temperature, electrical power efficiency, and inventory errors that contribute to spoilage.
Nowadays, through remote health monitoring, IoT technology can increase the reach of superior healthcare to rural areas and also enables patients to consult with doctors from the comfort of their homes.
IoT Role in Prevention of COVID
The IoT has seen a variety of creative revolutions, to overcome the coronavirus epidemic. In the future, these healthcare and retail developments will have a long-lasting effect. The sheer severity of the spread of the pandemic is being overwhelmed by hospitals and medical centers. The coronavirus epidemic has promptly led IoT healthcare firms to provide solutions to meet the growing demand for high-quality medical services.
In the battle against Covid-19, the introduction of smart medical “stuff” devices with built-in sensors and smart algorithms, mHealth applications, and connected technologies is key in all of this. In tackling a COVID-like crisis, tech innovations such as AI, virtual healthcare management, and telemedicine are proving crucial. The need is to connect health systems in these unprecedented times, which can minimize manual tasks for an overstretched workforce. And the secret to tracking the spread of coronavirus has been Big Data analytics.
How Will IoT Help Healthcare Delivery in the Future?
Over the years, technological inventions in the healthcare industry have led to enhanced diagnostics and improved quality of patient care. Smart technology will provide data that enhances healthcare information systems and enable physicians to track patients remotely. Technologies like augmented or virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI) keep much of the headings when it comes to shaping healthcare’s future. With the advent of the IoT, healthcare will be a decentralized approach rather than one-size-fits-all, it will be customized and it will be people-powered rather than provider-focused.
People are rapidly catching on to how simple online platforms are for medical purposes, as well as a retail use, with the increasing number of mobile users worldwide and the launch of 5G. In addition, steps to guard healthcare personnel are more likely to be organized in the future, such as remotely controlled sanitizing mechanisms.
In recent years, IoT has come a long way and is well integrated into multiple sectors, including the healthcare sector. Continued IoT implementation in healthcare would result in a drastic improvement in data efficiency and analysis. Developments in technology concerning medical devices will expand patient consequences with better treatments.
In healthcare, the bottom line of IoT is ensuring healthy patients, motivated healthcare providers, and cost savings for all. Anybody can develop a cost-effective IoT sensor network with a reliable technology partner. Finally, the input of medical trackers and exercise devices is getting more valuable in providing early diagnosis and care due to the widespread effects of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19.