Chaitanya is a freelance technology writer and IT professional.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry is in a state of great despair. The coronavirus has nearly paralyzed the entire world and in many countries, the healthcare industry felt helpless to attend to all the patients. When the pandemic was in full swing, the hospitals were overcrowded and no patients, other than COVID+ and emergency cases were receiving medical attention. This global pandemic has placed new demands on healthcare and the need for remote medical care has never been felt more.
With healthcare services becoming costlier than ever and the increasing number of chronic diseases, there is a need for smart solutions that can provide healthcare remotely, away from a healthcare institution. This is where the Internet of Things (IoT) comes in. The Industrial IoT (IIoT) is revolutionizing almost every industry and it holds great potential for the healthcare sector as well. The applications of IIoT in healthcare can be much more than smart sensors and smart hospitals. IIoT can help healthcare institutions in providing personalized and remote healthcare services at a lower cost.
With the introduction of IIoT solutions, the interaction between doctors and patients is no longer limited to visits, and telephone, and text communications. It is now possible for doctors or hospitals to monitor patients’ health continuously and keep offering recommendations. From remote health monitoring to transmitting real-time alerts, the IIoT has great potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry.
The introduction of smart technology and IoT-enabled devices has made remote monitoring a viable solution. The interactions between patients and doctors have become easier and more efficient.
The use of smart devices like smart insulin pens, connected inhalers, asthma monitors, and other devices are greatly helping patients monitor their health and address their own health needs. Wearable devices like biosensors and smartwatches are also quite useful for alarming patients and doctors if something goes wrong. These devices allow healthcare professionals to remotely monitor their patient’s conditions based on the collected data.
IoT is transforming the healthcare industry and there are smart solutions for patients, physicians, hospitals, as well as insurance companies. Let’s take a look at the top IIoT applications that can facilitate healthcare.
IoT for Physicians
The implementation of IoT in healthcare is slow but the future looks promising. The IIoT solutions for physicians mainly help in facilitating remote monitoring.
The wearables and other IoT-enabled home monitoring equipment will allow physicians to keep track of patients’ health without coming in their direct contact. The data collected from the wearables and other medical devices can help in avoiding emergencies by keeping a track of patient’s health and suggesting the best treatment.
Based on the data, the physicians can decide whether the patient needs immediate medical attention. This will reduce the number of visits a doctor needs to make for regular checkups of patients with chronic conditions.
Also, remote monitoring can help the doctor avoid coming in direct contact with the COVID+ patients. With technological advancements, the IoT devices can also have a face-to-face talk over the internet feature. These devices can life-saving because the healthcare professionals can keep instructing the patient or their family while the patients are on their way to the hospital.
Sometimes, the patient doesn’t even need to commute, and gathered data can form charts and diagrams so that the physician can easily visualize the patient’s condition.
IoT for Patients
IoT-enabled wearables such as fitness bands have become quite popular lately. Also, some wirelessly connected devices - like blood pressure and heart rate monitoring cuffs and glucometer - are used by patients to keep track of their health.
These smart devices can be used to count calories, heart rate, blood pressure variations, as well as appointments alerts, and much more.
These devices are of great help for elderly patients living alone. If anything goes wrong, the alert feature sends signals to family members and the concerned physician to ensure that timely action is taken. Even if the patient lives miles away from the nearest hospital, remote monitoring can help in avoiding a time-consuming commute.
IoT for Healthcare Institutions
IIoT is not only helpful for patients and doctors but also the hospitals. The healthcare institutions can use IoT solutions for tracing staff, inventory, and patients.
The IoT sensors can be installed on medical equipment such as wheelchairs, defibrillators, nebulizers, oxygen pumps, and other devices to ensure that all critical devices are in proper working condition. Hospitals can also make use of wireless ID cards and smart admissions system to improve their workforce efficiency and reduce operational costs.
The latest IoT application in healthcare is the use of connected robotic devices to perform various surgeries. From IoT-enabled pharmacies to and RFID tags for tracking the inventory, IoT is penetrating every aspect of healthcare. Even healthcare insurance companies are using IoT to detect fraud claims.
Healthcare services are becoming more and more costly. With an increasing number of chronic diseases and less room for hospitalized patients, there is a need for smart solutions that can provide healthcare remotely, away from a healthcare institution.
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