The technology sector is constantly evolving to its better version, and new tech advancements are being made every day. With the introduction of new technologies, the quality and convenience of human life are increasing more than ever.
One such technology is the Internet of Things (IoT), which has revolutionized the tech sector and has proven to be one of the most successful tech inventions at the present time. To explain, the global market size for the Internet of Things was valued at USD 384.70 billion in 2021. IoT has numerous implementations in our everyday life, one of the most prominent ones being in the healthcare sector.
Owing to the smart and self-sufficient nature of IoT, the healthcare sector is rapidly transforming and becoming better with each passing day. However, what exactly is IoT, and how does it work? Let’s start the blog by finding the answer to this question.
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The Internet of Things: A Technology Trend
The Internet of Things is not a new technology but has rarely been implemented. However, there has been a tremendous surge in the adoption of IoT, making it one of the most popular technologies. IoT is an intelligent technology that combines the feature-rich component of software with the top-of-the-class functionality of hardwares.
Today, IoT is used in numerous industries, such as hospitality, healthcare, education, agriculture, manufacturing, finance, and many others. These industries are witnessing tremendous success and growth by implementing IoT in everyday operations.
One of the most prominent and widely seen benefits of the Internet of Things is in the healthcare industry, where numerous healthcare institutions and practitioners are improving the quality of their services using IoT. The upcoming section will briefly discuss the implementation of IoT in the healthcare sector.
IoT & Healthcare: A Revolutionary Combination
Before the advent of technology, the idea of getting medical assistance was limited to an in-person visit to a doctor. However, things are no longer the same, especially after the arrival and vast implementation of the Internet of Things in the healthcare sector.
IoT has brought a technological revolution to the healthcare sector and significantly enhanced global healthcare services quality. At present, numerous prestigious healthcare institutions like hospitals and clinics are implementing IoT-based solutions in their daily operations and treatments.
This implementation can range from an IoT-driven patient database to healthcare devices that provide start-to-end healthcare support to the patients. The implementations of the Internet of Things in the healthcare sector are vast, and more are being invented every day.
However, an important question to ask here is, ‘Why would a healthcare institution invest in IoT technology?’ Well, healthcare institutions are quick to realize that technology is the key to sustained growth in the future. IoT alone has tremendous benefits in the healthcare sector, which we will cover in this blog’s upcoming section.
7 Advantages of IoT-based technology in the Healthcare Sector
1. Continuous Vital Tracking
Numerous health conditions require continuous and uninterrupted monitoring of the patient’s vitals. However, it is impractical for a healthcare practitioner to be present 24/7 to track a patient’s vitals. Moreover, the process can often be highly labor and cost-intensive.
In this case, there is a need for a solution that facilitates seamless vital tracking while maintaining economic viability and practicability. Here, IoT-enabled devices play an essential role and are a complete solution to tracking patient vitals.
From heart rate to blood pressure and oxygen level, IoT-based devices are capable of all of it. The doctors can access vital information at any time from anywhere and ensure their patient’s optimum health at all times.
2. Smarter Healthcare Institutions
The increasing global awareness towards the importance of quality healthcare is putting the healthcare industry under tremendous pressure. Healthcare institutions have to now cater to a broader number of people while also maintaining the quality of their services.
The Internet of Things has tremendous scope in this scenario and is playing a significant role in making healthcare institutions intelligent and efficient. With the help of IoT devices, healthcare institutions can seamlessly manage their patients, staff, records, treatment plans, and a lot more and achieve operational efficiency.
Moreover, IoT, when integrated with other technologies like Big Data and Machine Learning, has the capability to automate numerous operations and further reduce the need for human involvement in day-to-day activities.
3. Easy Insurance Claim Process
It is always a challenge for patients to claim insurance for their treatments. Insurance agencies always try their best to avoid giving out claim money. In this case, it is essential to have solid medical records to provide optimal evidence to these insurance agencies and claim the insurance amount.
Internet of Things facilitates this need by creating detailed medical records of the treatment plan. This information can be easily converted into physical form and can be presented to insurance agencies. This will, in turn, make it easy for the patients to claim the insurance amount.
4. Seamless Emergency Management
Healthcare emergencies are becoming more and more common nowadays and require immediate attention. Moreover, certain people with life-threatening conditions are at a higher risk, as their need for immediate medical attention is far higher.
However, it is impossible to have a doctor nearby at all times, and therefore, managing healthcare emergencies can be difficult. Utilizing technologies like the Internet of Things can be an efficient solution in this case. With IoT-enabled healthcare wearables, patients can seamlessly manage healthcare emergencies and even get access to healthcare services.
Moreover, one can also integrate advanced features like automatic ambulance calling with their IoT device and further facilitate the efficiency of emergency management.
5. On-time Data Availability
Patient data is of high value for healthcare practitioners and serves as the foundation for medical prognosis, condition diagnosis, and treatment plans. As a result, it is always good to have a detailed medical history of the patients to ensure optimal treatment.
However, it is often challenging to gain access to the patient’s medical records. Moreover, even when these records are available, their legitimacy is always in question. In this case, using technologies like the Internet of Things is a great idea.
With IoT-enabled devices, doctors can get all the data related to a patient’s health in one place. IoT can efficiently record, arrange and transfer patient-related data to physicians, enhancing the quality of healthcare services. Moreover, IoT is a highly secure technology, and therefore, there is no doubt about the data’s integrity and security.
6. Efficient Patient Tracking
In certain cases, tracking and closely monitoring the patient’s activity is essential to ensure optimum treatment. However, it is often challenging to precisely track each and every patient all the time and monitor their activity.
Utilizing IoT-based technology can be an optimal solution to this challenge. Devices based on the Internet of Things can easily track the patient’s geolocation anytime. Moreover, these devices can also closely track the patient’s activity and determine whether they are following the right treatment plan.
For example, IoT devices can detect whether a patient has taken their daily medicine dosage and alarm them about the same. This makes IoT a life-saving and revolutionary technology at the present time.
7. Improved Drug Management
You would have understood by now that IoT is a highly intelligent technology with immense scope in the healthcare sector. One of the most popular implementations of this technology is evident in efficient drug management, which is a feature that numerous people are benefitting from.
IoT-based healthcare solutions can efficiently remind patients about their drug dosage time and ensure optimum medical treatment. Moreover, certain IoT devices have the capability to track whether the patient is in need of urgent medication and can alarm them about the same.
For example, for patients that have diabetes, IoT-based devices can detect a sudden spike in blood sugar levels and can alarm the patients about the same. Upon noticing this alarm, the patients can take their insulin dose and avoid medical emergencies to a great extent.
This was it for the ways in which the healthcare industry can benefit from investing in IoT technology. It is worth noting that by integrating IoT with other digital technologies, healthcare institutions can take these benefits to the next level and get the most out of their investment.
The following section will briefly discuss the technologies that can boost IoT for the healthcare sector.
Technologies That Accelerate Healthcare IoT
Mobile applications are one of the most popular forms of technology used across the globe. These apps have numerous implementations in different industries and sectors, and the healthcare industry is no exception in this matter.
The latest healthcare trend is to develop a mobile application and integrate it with other technologies like the Internet of Things to maximize the benefits. The idea here is that mobile applications act as a medium between technology and humans and convert tech data into an easily understandable form.
For example, healthcare institutions can build a doctor appointment booking app and integrate it with IoT to facilitate easy and hassle-free consultation booking. To explain, whenever the IoT device detects an abnormality in the patient’s health, it can create an alert and suggest booking a consultation.
Moreover, these IoT-enabled mobile applications also provide the physician with crucial medical data about the patient and ease the consultation and treatment process.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is one of the most popular technologies at present and is based on the concept of machine learning. It is commonly known that AI is highly integrable with IoT and has numerous benefits when implemented correctly. A healthcare institution can boost its overall efficiency and service quality by integrating AI-based IoT solutions.
To explain, one of the most prominent implementations of IoT is in alarming the patients of potential health hazards and providing a primary diagnosis. By utilizing big data for this matter and utilizing machine learning, healthcare institutions can facilitate this need and provide seamless hazard management.
The IoT devices (wearables, for example) can easily learn from the data entered into the system and seamlessly provide a primary diagnosis to the patients, creating a foundation for further medical prognosis and treatment.
Cloud computing is the modern-day data storage and processing solution and facilitates efficient and reliable database management. Cloud computing is useful for handling large quantities of data and getting the desired output in less time.
When integrated with healthcare IoT devices, cloud computing has the potential to take the quality of healthcare services to the next level. We had discussed before how important a patient’s past medical history is for healthcare practitioners to determine the scope of treatment. Cloud computing, when integrated with IoT devices, is the complete solution to this requirement.
The IoT device used by the patient can update information from time to time on the cloud. The physician can access and use this information at any time and get a thorough understanding of the patient’s medical background.
If you are looking to use AI for your IoT device, using cloud computing can enable seamless utilization of big data and promote machine learning. Moreover, this solution is also useful for tracking whether the patient has been optimally following the prescribed treatment.
IoT wearables are one of the most popular technologies across the globe. These devices are smart and have the capability to precisely track the wearer’s activity and communicate with them.
This feature of IoT wearables is highly popular among businesses and has opened doors for new opportunities in the healthcare industry. Healthcare-focused IoT-wearables are becoming more and more popular every day. These wearables provide complete assistance to physicians in the treatment plan and are also useful for patients in numerous ways.
By having an IoT-based wearable like a fitness band or health tracking band, patients can monitor their vitals like heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, oxygen saturation level, etc.
Moreover, certain fitness wearables also enable the wearer to track their activities, upon which they can calculate factors like burnt calories, daily calorie intake, activity time, etc.
Moreover, the scope of IoT-based wearables also extends to other devices, like hearables and navigation aids, making it a complete solution for modern-day healthcare.
It is always a challenge to manage a healthcare institution, especially the ones that operate on a large scale. To combat this challenge, businesses need to invest in additional resources, which can be an impractical option in many cases.
This is where the role of Beacon-integrated IoT devices comes into the scenario. These devices enable the management to accurately track the records and even staff in the hospital by using sensor technology. One of the most prominent implementations of the Beacon technology is tracking medical equipment, which can avoid tremendous losses for healthcare institutions and ensure optimum safety.
Generally, the whole system is operated from a mobile application that connects the IoT with Beacon and enables the management to utilize the technology.
These were a few of many technologies that can boost the implementation of the Internet of Things in the healthcare industry and enhance its usability.
Summing It Up
The Internet of Things is one of the most revolutionary technologies with the capability to shift the overall paradigm of the healthcare sector. The technology has tremendous potential and high intelligence, owing to which it is being widely implemented by healthcare institutions and is witnessing massive adoption by healthcare practitioners.
IoT has the ability to boost the overall efficiency of the healthcare sector and improve the overall quality of healthcare services. Moreover, when integrated with other advanced technologies like mobile applications, AI, Beacon, and cloud computing, healthcare institutions, as well as medical practitioners, can further enhance the quality of their services and take their medical practice to the next level of excellence.
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