A Guide to Healthcare IoT Opportunities

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the newest trends in technology and going by the research and buzz around it, it is clear that IoT has the potential to transform the healthcare sector as well as change our lives. This Healthcare IoT sector is on the high rise with every passing year. Analysts at MarketResearch.com claim that the worth of this sector is estimated to reach $117 million by the year 2020.

While the definitions of IoT may vary, essentially it essentially means transfer and exchange of data between systems, consumers, and devices. The increasing adoption of wearables is just the first step towards the huge potential of IoT in healthcare. With IoT, consumers are now able to take control of their own health and that too, in a very personalized manner.

Let us have a look at a few areas where IoT can have or is already having a huge impact –

Chronic Disease Management

Patients with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetics or heart diseases often have access to devices such as glucometers, pedometers or blood pressure monitors which they use regularly. The task for them is to maintain a record of their readings and present those to the doctor during the doctor’s visit. Any misrepresentation of data or incomplete information can affect the doctor’s judgment and treatment. IoT can bridge this gap – the devices can automatically send the periodic data to the doctor. The doctor can then perform various analytics on the data. With this, when the patient visits the doctor next, the doctor not only has the complete and accurate information about the patient’s readings but he also has opportunity to do the analysis himself and tweak the treatment.

Remote Health Monitoring

With Remote Health Monitoring, patients can receive the right care without leaving their homes. Through sensors or smartphone apps, the vital parameters of the patients can be constantly monitored and immediate alerts can be sent to the healthcare practitioner in case any concern. In case of any issues, the doctor can immediately connect with the patient through video consultation or mobile consultation and accordingly prescribe medication. Elderly patients find remote monitoring quite comforting because they can be assured that they are being constantly monitored and also have the option to speak to their doctor without having to leave their homes.

Preventive Care and Wellness

Wearables have taken the world by storm. Health enthusiasts swear by the fact that fitness bands have made them more cautious about their health. With wearable technology, consumers are able to monitor their crucial health parameters on a regular basis and are able to supervise their own health conveniently.

Medication Dispensing

Medication dispensing service is one of the most successful applications of IoT. Elderly people face several issues with their medication – they tend to forget to take their medication, sometimes they take the wrong pills or take incorrect doses. Medication dispensing device relieves the patients from this worry – Through a light or voice reminder, it alerts a patient when it’s time to take medication. On getting the reminder alert, the patient has an option to push a button and the right medication with the right dosage is automatically dispensed. The device is synced to the user’s phone keeping a complete record of missing doses, medication refill time etc.

While the applications and uses of Internet of Things technology are innumerable and the implementations have the potential to bring a positive change in the lives of patients at large, it could raise concerns around data security and privacy. Although most of the current communication from devices happens through the cloud, the data cannot be claimed to be immune from hackers. Different devices coming from different systems don’t necessarily have common controls around them. We are sure that as the adoption grows, these issues will be ironed out because IoT definitely has the significant potential to lower healthcare costs, improve case, improve patient outcomes, and enhance decision making.

5 Technology Trends Set to Revolutionize Healthcare

This year has been a promising year so far and has a lot more in store for the coming months too. Technology and innovation are on the high rise in all sectors, right from software to e-commerce and manufacturing to media. The man is more ambitious than ever and wants things to be done optimally, in an intelligent manner, and with efficient use of available resources. While the scope for every individual in the professional world is vast, the fast-paced world requires every individual to take good care of his health. With the growth in technology, we are seeing some great innovations and introductions being made in this sector too. Innovators are working towards digitisation of records and processes for more accurate results. According to a study by Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, digital health care will revolutionise the industry and help reduce the costs up to $305 billion! Yes, that’s the kind of impact that technology can create.

So what are some of the new products or processes that doctors are practitioners are resorting to? Let’s take a look:

1) 3D Printing:

3D Printing in the world of healthcare has taken the dynamics of the industry to a whole new level. Right from hearing aids to braces and even prosthetics, this technology is being used on a large scale. Align Technology prints 650,000 pairs of teeth-straightening braces a day. In one of the latest developments, a 3D printer was used for facial prosthetics (noses, ears, etc.) The newest experimentation is organ printing. A California-based research company has printed human liver tissue for drug toxicity testing purposes and is working towards building a technology to carry out bio-printing of whole organs.

2) Brain-Computer Interfaces:

This high-tech software is designed in such a manner that it lets paraplegics and quadriplegics control computer cursors using their brains. Newer developments are looking at building devices which can control robotic limbs or even restore the functionality in paralysed limbs. Companies such as Muse and NeuroSky have been working on developing wireless headsets with brain-computer interfaces, which will be capable of monitoring changes in brainwave activity and concentration. Eventually, they plan to use it for patients suffering from Alzheimer or for pain management, and other such problems.

3) Artificial Intelligence:

Supercomputers have been used for all sorts of activities and now they are being incorporated in the premise of healthcare too. Once loaded with all the possible information from journal articles, medical textbooks to actual information revealed by patients, these supercomputers become extremely helpful and act as a robust diagnostic aid for everything. They have been used for training medical students as well managing the treatment of lung cancer.

4) Smart Medication:

A lot of times, doctors take time to decipher the disease a patient is suffering from. A complete body diagnosis is time-consuming and could put the patient’s life in jeopardy, in the case of a severe case of a fatal disease. With the introduction of smart medication in the form of implantable electronics in the body, this process can be carried out much faster and in an efficient manner. Innovators are also coming up with ingestible technologies, which can convey all the information about the patient to the doctor, and avoid the complication of a surgical implant.

5) Healthcare IoT:

A report from MarketResearch.com suggests that the healthcare Internet of Things market segment is slated to hit $117 billion by 2020. 2015 brought about the era of wearable technology like Fitbit that allows patients to keep a regular tab on their health by the use of numbers.  This data is empowering people to live healthier lives. With ‘Internet of Things’, consumers can now take better control of their health and that too in a very personalized manner. Through the analysis of personal data, data from electronic health records, diagnostic information, and monitors, physicians can take better health decisions for their patients and it also enables patients to take a more active role in managing their personal health. Healthcare IoT is fundamentally changing the way chronically ill patients take care of their health as well as the masses take measures to remain healthy.

The healthcare industry as a whole is large and is made up of various aspects. So bringing about changes on a global level is going to be a great challenge. But the benefits that it will provide doctors, patients and the industry as a whole will make all the efforts totally worth it!

Health Track – Six Health Parameters Should You Care About Everyday

How do you manage your health? Ask anyone this question and they will rattle off a list of health and fitness apps they use. From tracking the number of steps you take each day, to monitoring your heart rate every hour…there is an app for almost everything related to your health. While most of us cram our smartphone with the latest ‘fad’ app, few of us know what really we should be monitoring every day when it comes to managing our health better. So, in the spirit of making the smartphone a useful health accessory, here’s a look at some of the key health parameters you should care about every day.

Step Tracking

Yes, step tracking has assumed a sort of cult status at the moment. Since we have suddenly woken up to the fact that ‘sitting is now the new smoking’, everyone is jumping on the 10,000 steps bandwagon for its obvious health benefits. Whether it is 10,000 steps, or more, or less, getting a means (app or wearable) to track your basic activity level helps in managing your sedentary life better. Exercise tracking apps make sure you stay put on the health track by helping you set and achieve your goals, give you work out ideas, quantify the calories burnt v/s calories ingested and track your progress. Time to roll off the couch and be active!

Diet Tracking

We are what we eat…but do we watch what we eat? A cookie here, a sip of soda there, a so-called light workday lunch at your favourite salad bar could be potentially derailing your weight loss initiatives and keeping you from being your fittest best. Health apps can help you scan, save, track and calculate the calories that you consume and also provide information on the nutritional content of the food that you have eaten. You can also use these apps to track your daily calories, fat, carbohydrate and protein intake to make sure that you have the scales tipping in your favour.

Caffeine Tab

Can’t sleep too well? What’s your caffeine intake on a daily basis? Most people think that caffeine in their system comes only from the cup of coffee that they drink. However, apart from the cups of coffee that you drink regularly, caffeine is a very common ingredient found in soft drinks, energy drinks, and other beverages. Coffee tracking apps make it easier to see how much caffeine you already have in your system and will intimate you when you need to take that ‘coffee –break’…literally.

Sleep Tracking

Want great health? Sleep well. Sleep tracking applications come in handy when you want to monitor and analyze your sleep cycles and review your sleep and wake patterns. Analysing these patterns help you figure out what’s tampering with your sleep and make the necessary adjustments to help you sleep easy.

Heart Rate Monitoring

Are you sure you are working out at the right intensity? Heart rate monitoring apps check your real-time heart rate and help your heart rate become your personal coach. These apps give a clear evaluation of the condition of your cardiovascular system during physical activity and can keep you informed is you need to increase or pull back your workout intensity or if you have found your perfect workout groove.

Water Tracker

Most of us don’t drink enough water and can benefit from a time to time aqua alert to make sure we stay healthy. Using a water drink tracker application not only gives you timely reminders on when you should drink water but also tracks how much water you should actually drink keeping your height, weight and activity levels in mind.

To manage your health better you need to monitor it well. So go ahead, take control of your health in your own hands (literally!) and enjoy a fit and healthy mind and body.

Have you Got Your Annual Check-up Done Yet?

Generally, we visit the doctor only when there is something wrong. Sure, you feel fit and healthy and have not called in sick even once in the past year. But given that we lead very sedentary lives that are high on stress and low on activity, getting that annual health check-up is the only guarantee that your health is at its 100%.

With lifestyle related diseases rampant today, getting regular health check-ups is one way to ensure that you can take a preventive approach to disease management. Some of the factors to take into consideration are your age, family history, and lifestyle choices. Family history, in a number of cases, influences the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer as well. With the help of regular health check-ups, problems can be identified earlier and treated on time. So how should you prepare for a health check-up?

The first step that you should take when preparing to take an annual health exam is by identifying a good physician. Once that has been done prepare a checklist which details:

• Your family medical history

• Types and number of surgeries

• Smoking history

• Medication and immunization list

• Allergies list

• Life changes that impact overall health

• Weight gain

You should also know that there are three kinds of health check-ups; routine physical examination, preventive health check and master health check-up. Preventive health check-ups are especially important for people with risk factors owing to family history or lifestyle choices such as smoking. A routine health exam assesses the condition of an individual’s general health while a master health check-up is more detailed and aids early detection of health problems. According to a number of studies, getting a whole battery of tests annually is not required since some of the invasive ones can actually have a negative health impact in the long term. If you are of relatively good health, have made the right lifestyle choices, and have no family history of heart-related diseases, diabetes, cancer or strokes here are a few things that you should ideally get assessed annually.

Haemogram:

A haemogram is a broad screening blood test to check for anomalies such as anaemia, infection, and other diseases. A haemogram check:

• Haemoglobin

• Packed cell volume

• R.B.C. count

• MCHC/MCV/MCH

• E.S.R.

• Peripheral Smear

• Platelet Count

• Total W.B.C./Differential Count

Biochemical Parameters:

The biochemical profile forms the database for most diagnostic investigations of internal diseases and includes:

• Fasting Sugar

• HbA1C

• Urea /Creatinine

• Uric Acid

• PP Blood Sugar (only for diabetic patients)

Lipid Profile:

Lipid Profile tests help identify an individual’s risk to heart disease and depending on the results, along with other associated factors, are taken into consideration to develop a treatment plan.

• Total Cholesterol

• HDL Cholesterol

• LDL Cholesterol

• Triglycerides

• Total Cholesterol /HDL Ratio

Liver Function Tests:

Liver Function Tests, also known as Liver Enzyme Tests are done to detect if the liver is functioning properly. These tests detect inflammation and damage to the liver and check the level of the certain liver enzymes. A typical Liver Function test will include:

• Total Protein/Albumin/Globulin

• SGPT/SGOT

• Alkaline Phosphatase

• GGTP

• S. Bilirubin

General Tests:

Apart from the above tests, there are a couple of preventive tests that fall under the category of general tests to check the overall health of an individual and identify if he/she is at risk for deadly diseases like cancer. These tests include:

• Complete Urine Analysis

• Stool Test(optional)

• ECG (Resting)

• X-Ray Chest

• Ultrasonogram of the abdomen

• Pap Smear (for women)

• Clinical examination

Along with getting all these tests done make sure that you keep a record of them as well. Instead of keeping mounds of physical records that can be easily displaced, look at digitizing them and store them on a secure healthcare platform that you can easily access from your smartphone. That way you are in control of your medical history and can pull it out whenever you need – anytime, anywhere.

5 Reasons you should take control of your Personal Health Records

Personal Health Records – Helping Patients be in Control of their Health and Wellness

 

With your every visit to a physician, hospital or healthcare provider, you add a new record paper in your medical file. Your file cabinet is filled with your medical files, reports, X-rays, and prescriptions. Whenever you want to access any old report, you dig out all the files to find the right information. Any follow-up visit to the doctor or a consultation with a new doctor needs an hour of preparation because you need to collate all the past reports, prescriptions and other such details.

Today’s smartphone savvy generation has got all the things in control through their phones. They also have a lot of fitness apps installed on their phones which track their fitness goals, calorie count, tablet reminders and all such things. But somehow maintaining a consolidated medical health record online has slipped through the cracks. For many of us, a complete record of all the personal health information still cannot found in a single location at any given time.

Let’s look at some of the advantages of maintaining a personalized digital health record, also called as Personal Health Record (PHR), and that will convince you to look for options to use your smartphone for your healthcare needs as well –

1. Manage your Health and Wellness

Having one place to access the healthcare records and information helps you stay on top of your health. You can maintain a list of your medications, health history, lab results, scans and X-rays, and all such details at a single location. It makes it easy to search and look for information – anytime, anywhere. You don’t need to have physical access to the report files in case you need some information urgently. With PHR, you can track patterns and better manage your health and wellness.

2. Better Inform your Doctors

Whenever you visit your doctor, you can get the most from the visit by updating your doctor with your latest health information. You can share the up-to-date list of medications, reports, or allergies. If you are tracking blood pressure, blood glucose, or weight at home, then you can easily share the latest information with your doctor. Such up-to-date information can help the doctors in improving the quality of care.  With such readily available information, you also reduce or eliminate duplicate tests, and receive faster and safer treatment.

3. Be Better Prepared for Medical Emergencies

In case of emergencies, it is important that the doctors know your previous medical history, the medicines or foods you are allergic to, your current medications and dosages, immunization records, a record of your surgical procedures, results of your recent medical tests and even emergency medical contacts etc.  During a crisis, it can get difficult to remember such important information and easily accessible PHR can be life-saving in such situations.

4. Chronic Health Management

Living each day with chronic ailments or medical conditions like blood pressure, obesity, depression, anxiety, or diabetes, is very difficult to deal with. There are many things which need to be done to properly track patterns and manage these conditions. PHR apps which can assist you in keeping track of medications, appointments, readings etc. can be very beneficial.

5. Set and Achieve your Fitness Goals

PHR apps help you track your activity, fitness activity, weight, diet, set goals, and track progress. One can easily monitor such information through interactive graphs and visualizations and keep track of the progress. This kind of self-motivation helps individuals in doing the right changes in the diet and activity to get the desired results.

Technology is undoubtedly bringing in a paradigm shift in the healthcare space – gone are the days when patient data and doctors notes were residing in silos at multiple, difficult to access places. Consumers today are looking to have complete information about their health data on their mobile devices with an option to share it with doctors as per the need.