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!