IoT and HealthCare
The latest buzz word in tech circles and technology powerhouses seem to be IoT. Internet of Things and its potentials is too strong to ignore and many industries have accepted the fact. As, they say, To Improve is to Change, but to Perfect is to Change Often! One major industry being Healthcare. In a recent report by MarketResearch.com, the IoT market for Healthcare is going to spread like a wildfire. It will hit around $120 billion by the end of the decade (2020).
Many of you must’ve heard or seen someone sporting a fitness band, at the gym or during a jog in the park. Fitness bands or fit bands as they are called, do nothing but collect human vital data like heart rate, sleeping pattern, activity levels, etc. This data is collected via a no. of sensors like accelerometers, optical heart rate monitors, galvanic skin response sensors, thermometers, etc. This solely depends on the type of band you go for.
As we know, Healthcare sector and technology go hand in hand, and healthcare has been a major sector that adopts new technology as it comes and also thrives because of it. These type of devices like, smart bands, smart beds in hospitals, even Google Glass and technology like RFID, NFC, GPS, can play a major role in making the whole IoT healthcare ecosystem.
WSN (Wireless Sensor Network) which is the base of IoT, paves the way for a lot of applications in healthcare.
Let’s talk about some of the applications and ideas.
Remote Monitoring and Assisted Living
This, I believe is the most obvious application of IoT in Healthcare. Monitoring an elderly loved one living on own, can be a bit of hassle as the aging factors comes into play especially if there is no house help available. Devices such as, Amulyte, is a senior tracking device that can keep track of their location as well as their vitals. The smart devices can sense, make decisions locally, and act on that information.
Solutions like The BodyGuardian Remote Monitoring System (RMS), help the doctors analyse their patients via studying their vitals without a clinical setting required Read here.
This is sort of technology can be very helpful for senior citizens, as it can collect vital data such as activity levels, heart rate levels, sugar levels its. Can notify the loved ones if any of these vitals spike up or below the normal levels. It can also help the doctors by collecting the data and further analyzing this data in real time.
Google Glass and Stats Recollection/Dictation
Goggle Glass has proven to be of great help to doctors around the globe. Augmedix is a Glass application that helps doctors to access/fetch patient information in real time without going through reports and finding them on the computer. It can also be used to safely record patient interaction and reviewing them during analysis.
Not only this but an Indian surgeon used Google Glass while performing a surgery. Read here.
Chronic Disease Management
IoT can help a great deal in monitoring and collecting data through wearable devices of chronic patients such as blood sugar levels, weight, and this periodic data sent to the doctors periodically to perform analysis and treatment. Data can also be collected through implanted devices such as pacemakers. This can be helpful for patients required to be monitored 24/7.
Hospital beds equipped with sensors under the mattress can help monitor serious patients’ vitals like seizures, congestions, resting patterns, etc . It adjust positioning according to the blood pressure. They must also send alarms to the nurses or docs according to the data gathered.
Headsets can be used to collect and monitor brainwaves for patients suffering from diseases like acute epilepsy, tumor, etc. Which may help in better analysis of patients’ treatment success rather than periodical test reports.
Telemedicine is the practice of remotely diagnosing a patient in some other location and prescribing them medicine by telecommunication technology. Now, the doctors will also have their vital data also, with the help of devices mentioned above.
Simply keep a count of no. of pills in the bottle and keep track whenever a patient consumes a pill. This can help keep track if patient is taking the medicine or not via data form the sensor band the patient might be wearing and the pill bottle itself.
Pool of Data paves way for In-Depth Analysis.
Now, consider for once, how much amount of actual real-time data we are talking here? We can perform a great amount of analysis with the help of this data collected over the time. For say, we have a 100 patients in one hospital, most common disease, symptoms, effects, casualties all can be monitored with this complex pool of data that can be collected of each patient.
Widen this data to a level up, cities, blocks, states, here come health analysis in each state. Location analytics can also come into the big picture and can prove to be vital for acute in depth health analysis for each state.
Healthcare sector, has always been a very progressive and open minded sector when it comes to adopting new technology. Internet-of-Things holds amazing amount of potential to change the way healthcare is in the current scenario to further enhance. IoT optimize and ease out the practices where major stakeholders i.e. doctors and patients are benefited. With the concept of Smart Cities on full throttle, hospitals and healthcare always on the priority list of policy makers. IoT integration with healthcare is inevitable. Also for major hospitals to stay in competition like most of the sectors, need to adapt changes that the storm of IoT is bringing. Like I said in the beginning –
To Improve is to Change, but to Perfect is to Change Often!
Feature Image Courtesy – www.designnews.com