Understanding the impact of IoT in healthcare

Dileep Gupta November 22, 2022
iot in healthcare

As the world becomes more digitized, the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming an increasingly important aspect of several different industries. The healthcare industry is no exception, and the impact of IoT in healthcare is growing rapidly. 

From improved machine control to virtual medical assistance, IoT healthcare use cases are prevalent all across the world. The applications of IoT in healthcare have become so far-fetched that there is hardly any question on what is IoT or how it works. This modern technology can save patients’ lives  with a fast diagnosis of diseases as well as find an apt cure for it. 

In this blog post, we will explore some of the ways that IoT is changing healthcare and discuss some of the benefits, use cases, and challenges of implementing the technology in the industry. So, without further ado let’s get started.

Where does IoT fit in healthcare?

Where does IoT fit in healthcare?

As the IoT technology continues to evolve, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is transforming the healthcare industry by improving patient health while connecting doctors and patients virtually. 

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a network of connected devices that collect data in real time. Internet of Medical Things is one of the key applications of IoT  for healthcare, impacting the industry in a positive way and has the potential to solve medical issues. 

Not only will IoMT be able to prevent any upcoming diseases but also will be able to cure the ones that have already been caused. The technology has been made as wearables so that patients can be monitored easily without visiting the doctor.

The Internet of Medical Things has divided segments for each medical issue being faced by the healthcare industry. 

On-body segment – This focuses on customer health wearables and other medical-grade wearables. Some products used in this segment are Fitbit, Samsung medical, etc.

In-home segment – This aims at an individual’s personal health tracker solutions. This segment includes personal emergency response systems (PERS), telehealth virtual visits, and remote patient monitoring (RPM).

Community segment – It consists of five components: Kiosks that dispense products and provide services, mobility services to patients’ vehicles, emergency response intelligence, point-of-care devices that act like medical camps, and logistics that keep a record of all the medical equipment and goods.

In-clinic segment This segment includes IoMT devices that can be used inside a clinic to provide healthcare services. The medical IoT solutions of the in-clinic segment also provide point-of-care devices.

In-hospital segment This  includes various IoT healthcare solutions for several areas of management. Asset management monitors, personnel management, patient flow management, inventory management, environment and energy monitoring are some of the devices in this segment.

If we look  into the applications of IoT in healthcare at a stakeholder level, we can witness that the technology is making an industry-wide impact on patients, physicians, and hospitals. To know more, let’s read further. 

For Patients

Wearable smart devices in healthcare like glucometers, heart rate cuffs, fitness bands, etc. give patients access to personalized attention. The constant tracking ability that these devices offer can have a major impact on people who live alone as it can send alerts to their family members.

For Physicians 

Through the mode of medical IoT wearables and home monitoring devices embedded with IoT technology, physicians are able to track patients’ health more effectively. The data gathered from the IoT healthcare devices can help doctors identify the best treatment and monitoring process for patients. This indeed brings the Internet of Things and healthcare together to witness better results.

For Hospitals 

In hospitals, IoT is embedded with sensors that can be used for tracking the real-time location of medical enablers and equipment such as defibrillators, wheelchairs, oxygen pumps, nebulizers, and other similar monitoring devices. In addition to equipment, it also enables the analysis of the deployment of medical staff at multiple locations.

These internet of things medical devices can also help with asset management such as environmental monitoring and pharmacy inventory control, for example, refrigerator temperature and humidity control.

Through its multi-stakeholder involvement, medical IoT solves a number of pain points listed below that are prevalent in a healthcare ecosystem. 

  • Inefficient patient care
  • Medical process mistakes 
  • Supply chain management
  • Medical research 
  • Rural healthcare management

IoT technology

What are the benefits of IoT in healthcare?

IoT for healthcare is helping the way hospitals attend to the patients. While the rapid population growth is not helping to control the increased illness, old age, and other health issues, the introduction of IoT healthcare solutions may do it. There is no doubt that IoT and healthcare go hand in hand. Here are a few of the most noteworthy advantages of the Internet of Things listed below.

Simultaneous reporting and monitoring

IoT for healthcare industry has enabled doctors to monitor the real-time conditions of a patient which can prevent any emergency situations like heart failure, diabetes, asthma attack, cardiac arrest, etc.

For example, a patient’s vital signs can be monitored in real-time and the data reported immediately to their doctor. This is especially beneficial in emergency situations where every second counts. 

Another example is in clinical trials where data from multiple patients can be collected and analyzed simultaneously. This helps to speed up the process of finding new treatments and cures for diseases. 

End-to-end connectivity and affordability

The Internet of things in healthcare applications can allow a better connection and use of the latest technology to enhance connectivity and data sharing. With technologies like bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other features, tracking and identifying illness becomes easy and less time-consuming.

For example, IoT can connect different devices and systems within a hospital, allowing for greater coordination of care. In addition, IoT can help reduce the costs of care by increasing efficiencies and improving patient outcomes. 

IoT can also help in remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions that can ultimately lead to reduced hospital readmissions. Similarly, the use of smart pills and wearable sensors can help improve medication adherence and prevent adverse events. 

Data analysis and data assortment

The IoT benefits in healthcare involves storing massive data about the patient’s medical history. The IoT devices send data to other devices without any issues occurring in the process. Manually analyzing such huge data is impossible but the Internet of things medical devices can do it. 

IoT medical devices can gather, analyze, track, send and receive data with the help of a cloud base. The cloud base is required as the size of data is huge and cannot be saved on the server. What can help make this adoption further and make it more efficient in terms of data storage and transfer is the Blockchain of Things. This can help IoT and healthcare run parallel to prove its worth in the healthcare industry.

Assisting the elderly

One major area that is particularly benefiting from the implementation of IoT healthcare solutions is the assistance of the elderly. By equipping seniors with devices that can track their vital signs and provide reminders for taking medications, caregivers are able to provide a higher level of care while reducing the risk of hospitalization or other health complications.

Moreover, IoT-enabled devices are also being used to monitor falls and provide immediate notification to caregivers in the event of any emergency. For example, Apple has integrated a fall detection system in its apple watches that detects if the user falls. 

As the population ages and the need for quality healthcare increases,  IoT healthcare solutions have become increasingly important in ensuring that seniors receive the care they need.

Real-time tracking and alerts

Imagine how many lives can be saved with emergency alerts sent by patients. The Internet of Medical Things has made this possible. With the help of  smart devices in healthcare, a patient’s medical information is recorded in real-time and can be sent to the doctor. In the case of any threat, the doctor will be informed immediately and can provide assistance accordingly.

For example, imagine a patient with a heart condition who is fitted with a wearable device that monitors their heart rate. If the device detects an abnormal heart rate, it could send an alert to the patient’s doctor in real-time. This would allow the doctor to take action immediately, potentially preventing a serious health complication.

Check-up on the go

With the help of IoT healthcare devices, patients can easily contact doctors on their mobile devices and get immediate assistance. With the latest IoT medical devices, doctors can identify any ailments on the go all the while saving travel costs and time. 

For example, sensor-equipped medical devices can transmit patient data to a central location, where it can be monitored by doctors and nurses. This allows for a more timely and accurate diagnosis of problems, as well as the ability to provide better-individualized care. In addition, the use of IoT in healthcare can help to reduce the cost of care by reducing the need for office visits and hospitalizations.

IoT healthcare use cases

The Internet of things healthcare is being used for some great work in the healthcare IoT industry. From monitoring the patients to virtually assisting them, applications of the Internet of Things are immensely vast and diverse. Here are some of the IoT healthcare use cases.

Remote patient monitoring

The most common IoT healthcare use cases a custom healthcare software development company works around is remote patient monitoring. The medical IoT devices are built to collect health vitals like blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc from the patients that are not physically present in the healthcare facility. The algorithms can  help analyze the vitals and recommend treatment or simply create an alert.

Reducing waiting time

Patient satisfaction is a key metric in healthcare, and reducing waiting time is one way to improve patient satisfaction scores. IoT can play a role in reducing waiting time in a number of ways. For example, IoT-enabled patient check-in can help to speed up the registration process. 

Also, IoT-connected devices can be used to track the location of patients and staff in real-time, which can help to optimize the flow of patients through the facility. By reducing waiting times, IoT can help to improve the patient experience and increase satisfaction scores.

Keeping track of hardware maintenance

In the healthcare industry, one of the most important use cases for IoT is keeping track of hardware maintenance. Imagine a hospital with hundreds of pieces of medical equipment. It would be nearly impossible for the staff to keep track of when each piece of equipment was last serviced. 

However, with an IoT system in place, each piece of equipment could be equipped with a sensor that would send data to a central database. The database could then generate reports that would help the staff to track when each piece of equipment needed to be serviced. This helps ensure that all of the equipment were properly maintained, and it would also help to reduce the risk of breakdowns. In a hospital setting, even a short downtime can have serious consequences, so a system like this could potentially save lives.

Tracking employees and patients

The hospitals have huge buildings so it becomes impossible to track where each and every employee or doctor is at a particular moment. It is the same for all the patients as well. With IoT technology, tracking the patients and the staff is easy.

This technology is also being used to track the assets of the hospital for security reasons. It is a highly efficient technology to track objects or people without any additional cost or effort.

Drug management

With IoT-enabled devices, patients can receive real-time alerts when it is time to take their medication. The data collected by these devices can also be used to track medication adherence and to identify potential issues with drug therapy.

Moreover, IoT can be used to monitor the storage and transport of medications, ensuring that they are kept at the correct temperature and protected from tampering. By making drug management more efficient and effective, IoT has the potential to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

Identification of chronic diseases

The Internet of things healthcare technology identifies any chronic illness a patient is suffering from. How that works is; a patient enters his symptoms and the IoT healthcare devices match it with the already existing information to identify the disease.

Wearable devices like Fitbit are great trackers of heart rate, sugar levels, and blood pressure levels. Healthcare app development for wearables and mobile apps has made people more health-conscious and aware of their medical conditions.  

Examples of the Internet of Things

Examples of the Internet of Things

Healthcare IoT devices are specimens of technical brilliance. These come in handy with loads of IoT benefits in healthcare like minimizing the waiting time for emergency rooms, patient, staff, and inventory tracking, discipline in drug management, and checking that critical hardware is available at all times. 

Hearables

The hearing aid has been around for ages and thanks to the genius of Miller Reese Hutchison. With time, these devices underwent massive changes and are the ones that currently turned into IoT healthcare devices that transformed the interaction for people with hearing loss. These hearables are synced with smartphones via bluetooth. Sounds can be filtered, equalized, and tailored to create real-world sound. 

For example, FitBit has been in the market of wearable healthcare technology for several years. Its latest wearable, the Versa, includes sleep tracker, heart rate monitor, daily reminders, and on-screen workouts.

Moodables

Stress can often cause declining mental health and there are times when patients with mental disorders or neurovascular problems need to uplift their moods. Various moodable devices developed by companies like Melon, Muse and Emotiv, claims to improve post-traumatic stress disorder and helps patients to relax. These devices are mounted on the head that pass low-intensity currents to the brain. These electrical impulses help to alleviate the pain and lighten up the mind.

Smart thermometers

By collecting and transmitting data about patients’ health, IoT devices have the potential to transform the way we deliver care. Smart thermometers can be used to continuously monitor a patient’s temperature, providing real-time data that can be used to detect early signs of illness. 

Additionally, these smart thermometers can be connected to other IoT devices, such as blood pressure monitors and heart rate monitors. This allows for a more comprehensive view of a patient’s health, and it makes it possible to identify potential problems sooner.

Smart pills

Smart pills are edible IoT pills that are used to monitor our body functioning and alert us if any anomaly arises. For instance, scientists at the California Institute of Technology have built a mini medical chip that can be used as a smart pill.

These tiny pills can be swallowed, and then travel through the digestive system transmitting data about the body’s condition to a receiver worn on the outside. This has a number of potential applications, from monitoring gastrointestinal bleeding to detecting early signs of cancer. Ingestible sensors could also be used to track drug compliance, by sending an alert if a patient has not taken their medication at the correct time.

One can easily access the data through their smartphones. This is one of the IoT benefits in healthcare which proves how powerful the technology is. 

Insulin pens

These are insulin delivery devices that are connected to the internet and can be controlled remotely. This means that patients with diabetes can manage their condition more effectively and with less hassle. 

In addition, insulin pens can provide real-time data to doctors and other healthcare professionals, allowing for more accurate monitoring and treatment of diabetes. The potential benefits of insulin pens are numerous, and it is clear that they are already making a positive impact on the lives of patients with diabetes.

As reported by Research & Markets, the global market for smart insulin pens could reach USD 123 million by 2023. This increase is due to the rising number of diabetic patients and the cost-effectiveness of insulin pens.

Healthcare charting

Patient charting by doctors requires a lot of time and effort. It’s a fascinating thing to know how IoT is implemented and through voice commands, doctors can summon a patient’s vital clinical information.

This medical charting consists of medical history, demographics, diagnoseis, medications, treatment plans, progress notes, immunization plans and schemes, allergies, tests (X-Ray, cardiology, radiology, urine, blood, etc.) and the results. For instance, Augmedix helps in medical documentation so that clinicians can focus on patient care.

Healthcare charting

Computer vision technology

Computer vision technology can be used to automatically detect and diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer. It can also be used to monitor patients’ vital signs and track their progress over time. Moreover, computer vision can be used to create 3D models of organs and tissues, which can be used for surgical planning or to provide guidance during procedures. 

One company that is using computer vision technology in healthcare is Zebra Medical Technologies. Zebra’s products are being used by hospitals and clinics around the world to improve patient care and outcomes.iot for healthcare

Now that we have discussed the applications of IoT in healthcare along with its use cases and examples, let’s move forward to knowing the challenges faced in IoT systems by the healthcare industry.

Challenges faced in IoT-based healthcare system

Challenges-of-IoT-in-healthcare

Even though IoT is helpful in the healthcare industry, it has its limitations and challenges. Let us look at the adoption challenges of IoT in healthcare:

Privacy and security

Though the applications of IoT in healthcare are many, yet we cannot ignore the challenges it is facing. The biggest threat to healthcare in IoT is data privacy and security. The massive data that is being transferred and stored on a regular basis can be hacked and used against the patient and the doctor.

Hackers can create fake IDs to buy drugs and medicines only to misuse them further. A solution to this pestering issue, however, lies in following the healthcare compliance set up by the government for 

Multiple devices and protocol integration

The IoT landscape is complex, with a variety of devices, protocols, and standards. This can make it difficult to integrate IoT solutions into existing healthcare infrastructures. Additionally, different IoT healthcare devices often use incompatible protocols, which can further complicate integration efforts. 

To overcome these challenges, healthcare organizations need to partner with experienced IoT solution providers who can help them navigate the complex landscape and select the right devices and protocols for their needs. Only by working with experienced partners will healthcare organizations be able to fully take advantage of the benefits of IoT in healthcare.

Overloading and inaccuracy

Overloading and inaccuracy

Storing patient data means storing an impossible amount of data. The more data that is collected by IoT devices, the more difficult it becomes to manage and interpret that data. This can lead to decision fatigue and incorrect diagnosis. In addition, sensors and other devices are not always accurate, and this can lead to mismatched or incomplete data sets. As a result, it is essential to carefully consider how IoT technology will be used in healthcare in order to avoid these challenges.

Cost of the technology

It must be a surprise to see IoT costs in the challenges section. But the truth is IoT can reduce the treatment cost for a common man but hasn’t been able to do it yet. The IoT and healthcare have yet to make things cost-effective and it will take time. It has created the medical tourism situation where people travel to developing countries to get treatment at a much cheaper cost. The cost of IoT app development is also higher than the usual cost of mobile app development.

The future of IoT in healthcare

The Future scope of IoT in Healthcare

IoT has a lot of potentials and it’s not only in healthcare. Many IoT healthcare companies are working on new ways to use this technology to help our medical world.As reported by MordorIntelligence, the IoT healthcare market is expected to reach USD 89.6 billion by 2026. This embarks the growth in the adoption of IoT for healthcare systems.

Even though IoT has challenges and limitations, it will not stop the technology from growing. The need for IoT in healthcare is huge and it can help the industry immensely. It can reach every patient from all over the world and connect doctors with patients. There is no denying that IoT in healthcare trends  has already made a huge impact and is only set to grow further at an enormous scale.

As we can already witness that the medical industry  is running mostly by IoT technology and the time has come when IoT for healthcare will be treating patients in less time and low cost. Companies like Google and Apple are trying to make IoT and healthcare successful and soon we shall see iOS and android devices interacting with our medicines.

How can Appinventiv help your business?

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate IoT into healthcare, Appinventiv can help. We offer a variety of services and medical IoT solutions that can help you make the most of this technology, from data collection and analysis to system integration and support.

By taking advantage of our services, you can ensure that your IoT implementation is successful and provides the greatest benefit for your patients and your business. We at Appinventiv have IoT app developers that are equipped to help you with your app idea no matter how complex it is. Contact us today!

FAQs

Q) How is IoT used in healthcare?

A. There are many applications of the Internet of Things that can be used by people for their benefit. A varied range of  patients, doctors, medical staff, families, and insurance companies can use them to track important data and updates that are important for the concerned person(s). It makes healthcare professionals more keen-eyed about the patients so that no negligence occurs.

Q) What effect will the Internet of Things (IoT) have in healthcare?

A. With state-of-the-art healthcare IoT solutions, IoT enhances the patient care process in many ways like

  • Real-time monitoring
  • IoT smart pills
  • Controlling diabetes
  • Smartwatches to cure major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Monitoring of blood pressure

Q) What is smart technology in healthcare?

A. Smart technology or smart healthcare conforms to modern technology methodology of improving the patient workflow. The technology uses wearable devices with the IoT technology that can access copious information with automated responses and also catalyze the communication between two concerning parties (which include people or institutions). With more accuracy and speed, the healthcare ecosystem has truly benefited from this technology. 

Q) Why is IoT important in healthcare?

A. With healthcare progressing rapidly with the help of technology, IoT adds important value to it. 

The Internet of Things in healthcare makes it convenient for patients to be watched and monitored carefully. Also, this technology can help come up with preventive measures. The data collected through devices/wearables help in prognosis and diagnosis by a medical expert.

Q) What are the benefits of using IoT?

A. IoT is one of the most sought-after technologies at present. Every field and every industry is looking for the best IoT solutions to augment its growth opportunities. It has many advantages like

  • Increasing the scope of communication
  • Collecting huge amounts of data
  • Generating automated responses
  • Monitoring activities and habits
  • Saving precious time and money
  • Improving the quality of life
  • Drives digital transformation in healthcare
THE AUTHOR
Dileep Gupta
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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