Healthcare IoT: Smart Technology for Better Healthcare
In order to define the future, we need to identify, predict, analyze, and assess the information provided by every imaginable source. Talking of information, we look for it in the form of Big Data and perhaps the most important source of information is the human body. The Internet of Things is paving way for innovation in nearly every aspect of human existence and soon we will see this technology touching lives, quite literally!
Traditionally physicians had a holistic view of the patient’s health condition giving them limited access to the root cause, thereby forcing them to make decisions with very less data. As a result, Electronic Medical Records (EMR) for each patient was maintained. Furthermore, the hospitals and assisted living facilities do not have the resources to monitor every resident and these residents are not capable of, or equipped to monitor and regulate themselves. Many healthcare organizations do not apply data from connected devices to other business processes which creates inefficiency, potential for data loss, and mistakes in diagnosis. But while there are challenges, there are also many opportunities. Developments in system automation and cloud data management can significantly reduce or eliminate these challenges.
The advancement in technology and its outcome has forced the entire healthcare system to shift the way care is provided. Sensors, hardware miniaturization and digitization are enabling the adoption of healthcare wearables. Data from EMR systems and wearable devices is merged to analyze data beyond typical clinical scenarios. IoT ensures enhanced assisted living of elderly by continuously monitoring their vital signs collected by sensors and predicting possible health failures. The physicians now have more comprehensive views of patients’ health and treatment progress enabling healthcare providers to most accurately adjust treatments.
Effective health care depends on speed and accuracy. To offer exceptional patient experiences care givers must consider the following:
- To supplement monitoring and management efforts, facilities need to rely on pervasive technologies such as Internet of Things.
- To significantly improve healthcare delivery, healthcare providers must intelligently combine and use clinical and consumer source data.
- To better track assets and patients, and reduce risk by automating system recovery, healthcare providers must leverage passive technologies such as sensors.
- To ensure the interoperability among different devices, as they are using different hardware and connectivity technologies.
- To address the security concerns of the data, that is collected from the device/sensor and transmitted to server/cloud, healthcare providers shall ensure the compliance of security standards and practices mandated by HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and FDA.
We have seen a huge range of clinical devices becoming connected as IoT takes a haul. From handheld devices to health records to medical equipment, the industry is set to embrace the world of connected things. The IoT adoption in healthcare will certainly bring about functional progression, saving precious time for everyone within the ecosystem.
Within the healthcare industry, the rise of IoT has potential applications.
- Without having to manually visit each patient every day, the experts can perform a remote diagnosis. They can track medical assets providing quality care more quickly and managing the patients’ healthcare environment more efficiently.
- By collecting data from bedside devices and diagnosing patient information in real time, entire system of patient care can be improved and not to forget, the patient experience can be enhanced.
- Incorporating sensors into delivery mechanisms or medicines will allow doctors to keep track of whether patients are adhering to their treatment plan. Devices connected to mobile apps will generate reminders and allow patients to check on their own adherence.
- The ability to locate the right department in a hospital using sensors and Wi-Fi, while retrieving essential information will become straight forward for both caregivers and patients.
- Big Data and machine learning will help health practitioners to detect rare and complex health anomalies from diagnostic reports and also aid them to provide precise treatment measures by providing actionable insights from patient data
- Pharmaceuticals and insurance companies are encouraging the adoption of healthcare wearables to lower clinical trial and medical care costs.
- Through a single application on a mobile device patients and staff will securely manage IoT data.
- IoT has a direct impact in improving the medical care who are elderly and suffers from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart, respiratory and cancer diseases.
In the near future, do you think it would be possible for devices to automatically deliver important lifesaving data to those in charge, and patients could be examined even before they enter the emergency room? It is certainly no science fiction but a part of the concept called Internet of Things. From patient hard monitors to temperature gauges, this real time data already exists in healthcare and can be used to create a safer and more effective ecosystem. However, the major challenge in realizing this dream is to find a way to connect different applications and technologies in one coherent network. The future is yet to unfold and it is for us to see how healthcare leaders address these challenges as for connected devices to operate on a single platform, the potential for IoT is limitless.
Author: Praveen Sivanandan, Business Development Manager, Product Engineering Services, and Venkatram Aurva, Senior Manager-Portfolio, USA Delivery