The panic of an asthma attack has led many parents to wish there was a way to monitor their child and their inhaler use at all times. Now, that possibility is becoming a reality. (Details of this will be brought in another article)
IoT connected Healthcare services aims to maximize resources by providing enhanced, secured and cost effective solutions in order to facilitate better engagement between parents, children, doctors, nurses and others personnel involved in the healthcare sector.
By 2025, Intel predicts the global worth of IoT technology from healthcare devices will constitute $2.5 trillion, and by 2020, will add $285 billion of healthcare provider value to the global economy. As medical devices, wearables, electronic health records (EHRs) and other health IT systems become more interoperable and connected; we will see a system-of-systems evolution that will enable a fully digitized and connected healthcare continuum. (Source: grafimedia.eu).
In this article, we explore the different solutions IoT has brought with regards the healthcare sector:
Smart Patient Monitoring: With the help of remote monitoring products, healthcare professionals can allow patients to be moved around at home while retaining monitoring of their status by doctors and nurses. Patients can be monitored at home, school, field and other interactive places.
Fall Detection System: This system gives statistics of the disabled and aged in relation to motion. With the help of a fall detection system, the aged and disabled can be monitored remotely.
Enhanced Drug Management: The healthcare industry faces a huge challenge to compete with the high expenses in manufacturing and managing drugs. This has been reduced with the use of smart refrigerators in monitoring and controlling the condition and temperature inside freezers used in storing vaccines, medicines and organic elements.
Smart Bed: A smart bed is used to sense the presence of a patient and automatically adjust itself to the correct angle and pressure to provide proper support without the need for a nurse to intervene.
Smart Wearables: Wearables powered by IoT technology can also make life far easier for people with disabilities. For example, there are smart watches which translate text, emails and other content into braille, allowing the blind to stay connected constantly. Special insoles has been developed which signal to the wearer (via vibrations) which route they should take to a destination. IoT offers a means of monitoring the health status of disabled remotely.
Hand Hygiene Compliance: It is estimated that at any one time, more than 1.4 million people worldwide are suffering from infections acquired in hospitals. (Source: Improved Hand Hygiene to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections). Numerous patients lose their lives as result of hospital acquired infections.
There are hand hygiene monitoring systems that would detect the degree of cleanliness in a healthcare worker. The interactions in the hand hygiene monitoring systems are done in real time and if a clinician comes near a patient’s bed without washing his hands, the device would start buzzing and in addition feeds the information about the healthcare worker, his ID, time and location into a database and this information would be forwarded to the concerned authorities.
Smart Medication Dispensers: This type of technology is used to monitor patient’s intake of drugs and other form of medication. It automatically uploads information to the cloud, alerting doctors when patients don't take their medication.
In Summary, the applications of IoT in the healthcare industry are numerous, only a few are listed above. IoT is constantly offering new tools as well as efficiencies that make up an integrated healthcare system with the view of ensuring proper relationship between doctors, clinicians and patients, as well as ensuring that patients are better cared for, health care costs are reduced significantly and treatment outcomes are improved.