Healthcare Transformation through IOT


Kavitha Gopalan

IOT is revolutionizing various industries and we cannot ignore the huge transformation it can bring to the health care industry. IOT combined with the analytics and cloud can provide unprecedented capabilities in healthcare – virtual healthcare, predictive diagnostics, preventive care and targeted care to name a few. It can help in improving effectiveness and quality of patient care at the same time help the healthcare organizations to improve efficiency and improve their financial and administrative performance.

IDC predicts that virtual care, made possible by the Internet of Things and big data, will become routine by 2018, improving healthcare quality and efficiency. Some of the ways in which IOT is changing healthcare industry are covered here.

Improved patient Care

The possibilities of using IOT in improving the quality and effectiveness of patient care is tremendous. IOT enabled remote monitoring machines can help the physicians to monitor real time patients vitals , analyze and suggest action for diseases. This data along with the data collected through electronic medical records, other diagnostic information gathered through imaging equipment, and other device enhances the decision-making powers of professionals and enables patients to take a more active role in managing their personal health. Mobile apps are designed to help patient manage common illness and sometime even critical ones through interaction with their doctor.

Similarly real time data synched to cloud provide flexibility to healthcare professionals to track the patient progress and paves way for diagnostics and virtual care.

Wearable play a big role in preventive healthcare providing way to track the vitals , fitness level and suggest improvement for lifestyle and well being.

Wearable are also helping in illness management, example is a smart glass which monitors the glucose level in the tears.

More sophisticated wearable and tracking device are helping the healthcare professionals to manage their patient efficiently . For example a doctor can monitor the patient status on a regular basis without visiting his bed and track his recovery at same time and adjust the drug levels to be administered.

Drug management

The expense of creating and managing drugs is one of the biggest issues facing the healthcare industry today. Adding sensor to medication containers help to monitor the drug usage of the patient it can alert the patient to administer the drug in timely manner and at the same time can place order when it senses its going to be over. In 2012, the FDA approved a sensor pill that monitors data in the body to make sure medication is taken properly. IOT also helps in drug management in the hospital and healthcare facility where it can help in monitoring and alerting depleting critical drugs and help in avoiding critical downtime.

Improve operational efficiency

IOT can be beneficial to the healthcare organizations in multitude of ways and improve their operational efficiency from managing equipment’s , inventory and improving customer satisfaction. With connected devices hospital can better manage track their asset and manage them effectively.

A faulty device with location tracking service and can send message to the service personal immediately and action can be taken. This prevents downtime which can be costly in a healthcare environment. This can be extended to locate other assets like infusion pumps, wheelchairs, defibrillators, scales etc. that may be needed for treating patients in the hospital. Similarly this can be applied to drug management and ensure drugs are available when it is needed and where it is needed.

Remote health care capability offered by the benefits of IOT can be cost saving for both patients and healthcare organization alike. IOT can help improve the patient experience in hospital , allowing them to know what is their wait time in the hospital for appointment , sending wellness related information for their illness to their mobile devices , notes and inputs from their doctor so on.

There are challenges that block the rapid growth of IOT in healthcare. The most important of all is the security and privacy of the health data collected from patient. Healthcare organization and technologist have to sort out how the data is encrypted and stored and prevent any misuse of the information collected.
There is no doubt that Internet of things with its full potential unleashed can revolutionize healthcare and bring positive change in life for all.

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