IoT (Internet of Things) has a wide range of different uses nowadays. However, did you know how prominent and useful it proves to be in healthcare?
Here’s all you need to know about medical IoT, how it works and why it’s worth investing in.
What is Medical IoT?
Healthcare IoT refers to the implementation of IoT applications in medical organizations. This helps digitize medical treatment courses and overall workflows. This process aims to enable highly qualified remote health monitoring and treatment of physical and mental diseases that patients are struggling with.
This kind of remote monitoring comes with the use of medical apps for updates on recent symptoms and the state of health, wearable devices recording specific health indicators, and online consultations.
Not only does medical IoT track patients’ pulse and heart rate on remote monitoring, but it also includes controlling symptoms by providing instructions for medications.
IoMT Ecosystem Components
The two main interfaces make up the IoMT ecosystem: the healthcare terminal and the home-care unit.
With medical IoT apps, it’s easy to exchange relevant data between medical facilities and patients.
Every patient who’s remotely monitored is provided with IoT equipment that includes:
- A wearable device for measuring BP, ECG, and the oxygen level in blood
- The user interface in web or mobile application
- The modem converting digital data into electrical signals
- Image registration used for scanning and taking pictures of documents
The medical worker also receives all of the equipment needed to track and analyze the patient’s data. This equipment includes:
- Doctor interface of the application used for remote monitoring
- Physician camera consisting of a main, document, and auxiliary camera
- Modem for receiving real-time data
In addition to that, the internal network gathers data consisting of all the relevant information received and sent by both the patient and the doctor.
Real-life IoMT Use Cases:
Moodables are medical wearables that are currently still in development. Moodable devices have the task of influencing the mood of patients throughout the day.
While primarily helping patients who suffer from mental health issues such as depression, moodables can also be used for other purposes.
In today’s hectic world, everyone lives under constant pressure and stress; sometimes, some people just can’t handle it all alone.
How exactly do moodables work? The moodable is a wearable device that attaches to a patient’s temple and sends pulses of light to the brain to reduce the intensity of brain activity.
This development can be highly beneficial for patients and clinicians to study the human brain and the underlying reasons for rapid mood swings.
AR technology involves complementary surgeries with the work and precision of none other than robots.
Medical IoT collects, saves, and analyzes all possible health data before, during and after the surgery.
Data analysis allows physicians to track the validity of medical personnel’s actions and indicate what improvements can be made. The connection with medical IoT devices makes it possible to regulate and optimize the activities carried out by medical personnel.
Ingestible sensors are a real breakthrough in digital health. Have you ever heard stories of patients missing or not taking their prescribed medications and suffering serious consequences?
Ingestible sensors are a kind of digital cushion that monitors the health of the patient, reacts to symptoms and helps to find a way forward so that he knows what steps to take to avoid a drastic deterioration in health.
How can the Internet of Things benefit healthcare facilities?
We are approaching a world where most people cannot afford basic health care, much of society is becoming unproductive due to age, and people are becoming more vulnerable to chronic disease. Here’s how IoT application development can help.
Although technology cannot prevent the aging of the population or eliminate chronic diseases overnight, it can make healthcare more accessible by providing people with affordable medical services. Medical diagnostics represent a significant portion of hospital costs.
Using technology, medical examinations can be moved from a hospital to the patient’s home.
Correct patient outcomes lead to reduced hospital costs. The Internet of Things (IoT), a new paradigm, has many applications in a variety of fields, including healthcare.
Full implementation of this paradigm in healthcare is a common goal, as medical providers can work more efficiently and patients can be better cared for.
There are numerous benefits to using this technology-based healthcare strategy, including improved quality and efficiency of treatment and improved health for older patients.
Why should healthcare organizations implement IoT in their practices?
The advantages and positive effects of the Internet of Things in healthcare are numerous:
Improved patient convenience and comfort translate into greater patient satisfaction and faster healing times.
Internet of Things (IoT) healthcare devices, wearable technology, and access to data enable clinicians to monitor patients better and deliver more informed therapies.
IoT security systems improve the safety of patients, doctors, and staff. Sanitary systems with UV light keep environments clean and prevent disease. Future-proofing is another benefit of IoT-based smart hospital technologies.
While there is an initial cost of building an integrated system, installing equipment, and training employees on software systems, the benefits add up over time.
With the help of companies integrating medical devices, smart hospitals with IoT capabilities will be years ahead of similar facilities that don’t use IoT devices and solutions.
The Top 3 Benefits of Healthcare IoT
Benefit #1: End-to-end connectivity and convenience
Supported by healthcare mobility solutions and other innovative IoT technologies, as well as next-generation healthcare facilities, IoT can streamline patient care workflow.
Interoperability, AI-powered machine-to-machine connection, information sharing, and data transfer are all benefits of the Internet of Things in healthcare.
Healthcare professionals can change how they detect patients’ diseases and ailments using connectivity protocols such as Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, Z-wave, ZigBee, and other modern protocols. They can also find new ways to treat patients in different healthcare professions.
As a result of technology-driven design, healthcare costs are reduced by decreasing unnecessary visits, using higher-quality resources, and improving resource allocation and planning.
Benefit #2: Remote medical assistance
Patients can use advanced mobile apps to contact a doctor thousands of miles away in case of an emergency.
Healthcare mobility solutions enable physicians to assess patients and diagnose diseases on the go.
Additionally, many Internet-based healthcare chains plan to build machines that can dispense medications based on a patient’s prescription and condition data available via connected devices. IoT, like Allscript’s EMR solutions, will improve hospital patient care. This reduces people’s healthcare costs.
Advantage #3: Simultaneous reporting and monitoring
In the event of a medical emergency such as heart failure, diabetes, or an asthma attack, remote health monitoring via smart connected devices can save lives.
Connected medical devices can collect medical data and other necessary health data. They can use the smartphone’s data connection to transmit the collected information to a doctor or cloud platform when health monitoring in real-time via a connected smart medical device.
According to a study conducted by the Center for Connected Health Policy, remote patient monitoring reduced 30-day hospitalizations for heart failure patients by 50%.
Blood pressure, oxygen, blood sugar, weight, and electrocardiogram are all recorded and transmitted by the IoT device.
This data is stored in the cloud and can be shared with an authorized person, such as a doctor, your insurance company, a collaborating healthcare company, or an external consultant, who can access the information regardless of their location, their time, or their device.
Why should healthcare institutions invest in IoT?
More integrated approaches and benefits are sought in the broader context of healthcare and eHealth, including the importance of the so-called Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT) or Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) (IoMT). The years 2017-2022 were crucial in this transformation.
The Internet of Things is an essential part of the digitization of healthcare, and many stakeholders are stepping up their efforts.
Health awareness and consumer engagement are also increasing, demand for remote and in-home options is increasing, various players in the healthcare ecosystem are developing unique techniques and partnerships, and reducing healthcare costs remains a top priority. Across all of these sectors, a more integrated and IoT-enabled approach to e-health is essential.
With the industry-wide focus on value-based healthcare delivery, healthcare leaders need to make significant investments to complete their cloud transition plan.
For example, the Epic EHR integration was designed to help doctors and other healthcare professionals (insurance agents, pharmacists) properly manage electronic medical records and track all of a patient’s health information.
Additionally, the Epic HL7 Interface is a set of global standards that establish guidelines for transferring and sharing data between local hospitals and other healthcare providers.
Healthcare organizations, like many other businesses, prioritize consistency, data availability, and streamlining, but they also face the challenge of ROI.
To achieve meaningful ROI, healthcare leaders and their stakeholders need to develop a cloud strategy that considers the big picture, not just the needs of individual specialties.
Healthcare cloud professionals must consider these requirements and barriers as they develop cloud-native solutions that address today’s challenges while adapting to future requirements.
The health industry generates 30% of global data volume, and the compound annual growth rate of health information will reach 36% by 2025. Data storage and transport needs alone are enormous and require scalable and secure solutions.
More importantly, finding solutions to leverage data to benefit healthcare requires adhering to market and government standards. These include the ease with which data can be shared and collaborated on, as well as genuinely useful insights that drive process improvement and organizational efficiency.
This sets the stage for the application of breakthrough artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to population health, bringing healthcare one step closer to the long-awaited holy grail of meaningful cures.
It is imperative that we, as an industry, meet these standards to provide the best possible service to our customers and their patients and to ensure the long-term success of our business.
As healthcare organizations move to the cloud to meet their needs and plan for the future, they must look for strategies and processes that deliver rapid returns on investment, flexibility, and performance.
Investing today in developing a successful strategy is a critical first step in leveraging future technology. Medical imaging is an important part of delivering quality patient care that impacts virtually every aspect of the business.
Using cloud-native technologies to advance image analysis in the healthcare IT space will be critical to better clinical and financial outcomes as healthcare moves towards greater automation, data sharing, and collaboration.
Lastly, investing in the maintenance of this kind of technology is also of great importance. Finding a reliable company in your vicinity that can provide relevant digital services for IoT devices is a great way to ensure that all of the devices are working smoothly.
For instance, if your institution is based on the US east coast, you can look into professional digital agencies in DC to help you maintain all of your IoT devices.
Ways patients can benefit from IoT-connected devices
To understand what the Internet of Things (IoT) as a whole entails and how to monitor and control healthcare IoT devices, you must first understand the different methods by which healthcare IoT devices can be used.
While remote patient monitoring — IoT devices that collect patient data such as heart rate and body temperature — is the best-known example of IoT in healthcare, many other applications exist.
Here are five ways the Internet of Things is transforming healthcare and how the use of IoT devices for medical purposes is impacting IoT security.
Medical monitoring devices
IoT devices offer a range of new ways for healthcare providers to keep tabs on patients and for patients to keep tabs on themselves. As a result, different wearable IoT devices present a variety of benefits and challenges for healthcare providers and patients.
Heart rate monitoring
Monitoring heart rhythms such as glucose can be difficult, even for those in healthcare facilities.
Regular heart rate checks cannot protect against rapid changes in heart rate, and traditional hospital continuous heart monitoring technology requires patients to be permanently tethered to wired devices, which limits their movement.
Remote patient monitoring
The most popular application of IoT devices in healthcare is remote patient monitoring.
IoT devices can collect health metrics such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and more from patients who are not physically available at a healthcare facility, eliminating the need for patients to travel to their homes, and service providers or collect data themselves.
When an IoT device collects patient data, it sends it to a software application where it can be viewed by healthcare professionals and/or patients. Algorithms may be used to analyze the data and provide treatment recommendations or alerts.
For example, an IoT sensor that detects a patient’s abnormally low heart rate can trigger an alarm so that medical personnel can intervene.
Tracking depression and anxiety
Another type of information that has historically been difficult to collect consistently is information about patients’ depressive symptoms and general mood.
Healthcare practitioners could regularly ask patients how they were feeling, but they couldn’t predict unexpected mood swings. Patients often do not report their feelings appropriately.
IoT devices that are “mood aware” can help with these problems. The devices can derive insight into a patient’s mental state by collecting and analyzing information such as heart rate and blood pressure.
Sophisticated IoT mood assessment devices can even track data such as a patient’s eye movements. The main problem is that measurements like these can’t accurately predict anxiety and depression, or other indications of worry.
Collecting data from the human body is usually a messy and disruptive process.
With ingestible sensors, data from the digestive system and other systems can be collected much less invasively. They can give you information about your stomach pH or help you find the source of internal injuries.
These gadgets should be small enough to be easily ingested. They must be able to dissolve or pass cleanly through the human body. Several companies are working on ingestible sensors that meet these needs.
Connected contact lenses
Connected contact lenses help gather health data in a highly passive and non-intrusive way.
They could also be equipped with micro-cameras that allow the wearer to take pictures with their eyes. This is probably why Google patented embedded contact lenses.
Smart lenses promise to turn the human eye into an important tool for digital interactions, whether to improve health or for other purposes.
Heart rate monitoring is now possible with a range of small IoT devices that allow patients to move freely while their heart is continuously monitored.
While getting ultra-accurate readings remains a challenge, most current devices can achieve accuracy rates of around 90% or better.
Overall, as technology keeps improving on a daily basis, we can only expect to see even more innovations in the field of IoT, especially in the field of healthcare.
IoT has so far been proven very effective in medical treatments and is definitely here to stay. With the numerous benefits and options it offers, it is definitely an investment worth making.
Sophie Douglas is a digital marketing specialist and a journalist based in Columbus, state of Ohio.
Her characters are passionate, innovative, and ambitious.
Before becoming a writer for DigitalStrategyOne, she was writing short stories, screenplays, and directing short films.