How IoT is changing the Healthcare scenario
If you are a technology enthusiast and are always updated to technological changes around you, then you are bound to know that IoT is now the center of the digital revolution. IoT is driving innovations in almost every industry and is on its way to bring a major shift in our daily life and work. It is penetrating its way and transforming the way of working of almost every industry and the healthcare industry is no exception. The application of IoT in healthcare has improved the functioning of the system by leaps and bounds.
How is IoT used in the Healthcare system?
Many times, due to reasons like traffic on roads, poor management of a hospital, non-availability of beds, delay in providing required treatment, patients are unable to get required medical attention on time that may prove fatal in some cases and harm patients.
In some cases, people are reluctant to go to a doctor for checkups for small diseases due to the costly medical tests, medicines, and in-person consultations that add to the expenditure. Many times, however, ignoring the signs of their deteriorating health and dismissing the symptoms may prove to be dangerous.
Healthcare IoT also called the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), is a combination of medical devices, applications, and a network of connected medical devices that can generate, collect, analyze, and transmit data that improve healthcare outcomes.
This technology has helped to develop several healthcare monitoring systems such as wearables for patients, patient monitoring systems as well as hospital management systems with the help of sensors and real-time tracking.
The levels on which IoT can be used in the healthcare system are:
For Patients: Wearable gadgets like smartwatches and fitness trackers help users to monitor their health daily. Using this device, users can keep track of their health and consult doctors and specialists when the need arises. Patients can also use apps to keep track of their daily activities.
For Physicians: Doctors and specialists can use the data from wearables and their patient monitoring devices to keep track of the health of patients. This data helps them to monitor and identify the best treatments for patients.
For Hospitals: IoT devices can be used for the management of the hospitals by keeping the real-time data on the availability of the rooms, medical equipment, managing the inventory, assessing staff. This helps in smooth functioning and management which saves time and is efficient.
Benefits of IoT in Healthcare:
- IoT in healthcare has helped doctors to monitor real-time conditions of patients that can help in emergencies like asthma attacks, cardiac arrest, diabetes, etc.
These real-time devices also help the doctors to have access to medical data and vitals of patients at any time, which helps them to keep a check on their conditions.
- For providing better treatment to patients, it is necessary to have their complete medical history at hand. IoT makes gathering, analyzing, tracking, sending, and receiving of data with the help of a cloud base more feasible.
- With the use of technologies like Bluetooth and WiFi tracking and identifying diseases becomes easier and consumes less time and resources. With this, the cost of the treatments is reduced making a quality treatment affordable to all.
- IoT also helps in the management of hospitals to ensure smooth functioning for patients. IoT can help in monitoring the real-time availability of rooms which reduces the waiting time. Also, it helps in tracking types of equipment but it can also be used to monitor when a piece of equipment is in bad condition and is about to fail.
Application of IoT in Healthcare:
In Healthcare, new technologies are being continuously developed with the help of IoT. some of these devices are:
A hearable is a wireless in-ear computational earpiece. Hearables are new-age hearing aids that achieve more tasks than just amplifying sounds.
Hearables can be synced with your smartphones or other smart devices with Bluetooth. They also allow you to filter, equalize and tailor the sounds to produce real-world sounds.
They can also be used to instantly measure the body temperature, heart rates, blood pressure signals for better monitoring of your health.
Implantable Glucose Monitoring systems:
With implantable glucose monitoring systems, now, patients suffering from diabetes can implant a device with a sensor just below their skins. This device helps to monitor the blood glucose level and alert the patients of any abnormalities by sending the information on their smartphones.
IoT devices can be helpful to doctors to reduce the manual work that usually goes into charting a patient’s data.
The doctors can use these devices which are operated by voice command to access patients’ medical data.
Computer Vision Technology:
With the help of AI, and development in drone technologies now the drones can be used by the visually impaired to detect obstacles and avoid them. These drones mimic the visual perception and with the help of AI make a decision successfully detecting an obstacle and avoiding it.
Challenges faced by IoT in the Healthcare system:
Privacy and security concerns:
One of the measure concerns about using IoT in healthcare is security. Poorly secured IoT devices could serve as entry points for a cyberattack by allowing malicious individuals to cause its malfunction. Poor security can also lead to the stealing of patient’s data which can be used against the patients and hospitals.
Overloading and inaccuracy:
Storing data from all the patients is a huge task. Even if IoT can store tons of data, more devices connected will lead to more inflow of data. This huge amount of data can be difficult to manage by doctors and can affect decision-making.
Even though IoT can make the treatment cost-effective it has not been able to do it yet. This has led to an increase in medical tourism where people from developed countries travel to other countries to receive affordable medical treatments. Even if IoT has not been able to make treatment cost-effective yet, it can be achieved with the support of stakeholders.
Even though there are some challenges in the application of IoT, technological developments are sure to fix these issues in the future.
In the near future, with the rapid growth of automation and technologies, IoT will most likely take over the healthcare system.
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