Clinics and medical centers have significantly evolved thanks to the implementation of IoT solutions. In this article, we’ll discuss which healthcare problems IoT can solve, how the clinics and hospitals can benefit from using IoT, and why IoT development in healthcare is worth investing in.
What is IoMT
There’s a separate term called the Internet of Medical Things, or IoMT: it covers the IoT devices combined with MedTech tools that are used for medical purposes. IoMT helps clinicians keep track of potential problems as well as prevent any complications.
What IoMT can do for the health industry
- patient sensors and implants data collection and processing decrease the number of mistakes due to the human factor or due to the need to re-enter the data into many systems. Also, they reduce the time for data analysis
- medical portals and electronic health records make health data management more efficient and easily accessible to patients by automatically receiving and processing data from healthtech devices
- well-designed IoT hardware and software system help to manage multiple campuses or departments: track daily activities, staff, and inventory, as well as control drug management
The IoT in healthcare: major evolutions
The healthcare industry is considered one of the most conservative domains talking about the adoption of new technologies. However, smart devices are paving their way to more and more clinics and healthcare businesses. Here are several examples of how IoT and technology evolved in the healthcare industry converting it to what is called healthtech and making it more efficient.
Home monitoring is a method of remote supervision when a doctor receives the patient’s information remotely from various devices: wearables, implants, sensors, or other instruments. This way of monitoring allows clinicians to keep track of the patients’ health status without the need to be physically near the patient.
Smart pills are edible IoT “devices” that dissolve in the stomach and can then transmit the information from the inside of the patient’s body to a wearable or a mobile app. This information can then be interpreted by a doctor to adapt to the treatment.
Blood pressure monitoring allows patients with hypertension to measure blood pressure levels with the help of a sensor. This spares a patient the need to use the regular tonometer while being updated on the health state. The collected data can also be sent to the cloud or to the physician for interpretation.
Diabetes monitoring allows patients to monitor blood glucose levels with a smart transmitter that is placed under the patient’s skin. The sensor collects the data and then sends it to the dedicated mobile app.
IoT examples & applications
How exactly healthcare managers and patients can benefit from IoT integration? Here are several examples.
- Remote monitoring
Internet of Medical Things or IoMT allows connecting several devices to ensure the full monitoring of the vitals even when the doctor isn’t by the patient’s side. Not only can such a system store the incoming data, but it can also analyze it and notify the clinicians of any changes or possible problems, resulting in faster reactions and timely adjustments.
As a great example, Vitls is a system that helps clinicians to detect early deterioration of patients’ vitals and act early to prevent any implications. The vitals are collected and sent to the clinicians in real-time, which allows them to reduce the time of stay in the hospital, save the time of the clinicians, and reduce the treatment costs.
Remote consulting makes medical help more accessible: it allows patients from remote areas to get professional help. For instance, patients who need psychiatric consultation could benefit from telemedicine and stay in touch with their attending physician.
Teladoc is one of the first telehealth providers in the USA. It allows patients to get help with pediatric issues, mental health, dermatological problems, and more. The Teladoc doctors can also send prescriptions and analyze the laboratory results via the app.
- Management of chronic pain and diseases
Chronic illnesses significantly affect patients’ life, and the constant need to see a doctor for examination and consultation adds to patients’ inconvenience. IoMT can make patients’ lives easier. Various medical devices (sensors, smart pills, wearables, etc.) can collect all the required data and transmit it to a doctor who will be able to act immediately in case any intervention or change in the treatment is needed.
Dexcom’s Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) device allows patients with diabetes to constantly monitor their glucose levels with the help of a tiny sensor inserted under the patient’s skin. The data is updated every 5 minutes and is sent to the app, which gives an insight into the patient’s state.
- Tracking and maintenance
Healthcare providers can also use IoT for system management: tracking the clinicians’ location, productivity, or the level of hygiene as well as control the distribution of drugs. Some processes can even be automated which will result in more efficient performance.
TSheets is an example of such a solution: the system allows managers to see on-the-clock employees in real-time, reassign tasks on the go, track activities, and more.
Barriers and challenges for IoT in healthcare
The Internet of Medical Things integration still faces challenges and difficulties. Here are some of them.
- Privacy and security
The information collected and processed by IoMT is transmitted over the internet, which can put the patients’ data at risk of being intercepted or stolen. Huge amounts of information should be stored and protected properly to comply with the latest privacy standards.
- Integration of different technologies and devices
So far, healthtech doesn’t have an agreement about what protocols, devices, and solutions to use. This may lead to certain difficulties in making a single functional system.
While IoT can help reduce expenses for certain tasks, building up a highly technological system is quite costly, especially for rural areas or developing countries.
- Data overload
Medical devices collect a huge deal of data that piles up with time and can become quite messy where it can be hard to quickly find the required information.
The future of healthcare with IoT technology
For now, healthcare is the second largest IoT consumer, using 30.3% of all the IoT devices. That means IoT proved to play an important role in healthcare management.
Now, there’s another trend: technology giants are getting involved in the healthcare industry as well. For instance, Amazon offers various opportunities for healthcare: Amazon Healthcare Providers Innovation Program, AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative, and others.
Another example is Apple adding several health monitoring features to its Apple Watch. These trends show that IoT is becoming more popular among healthcare providers and it’s going to revolutionize the healthcare industry.
How to Find the Right Healthcare Development Partner
Implementing IoT allows hospitals and clinics to stand out of the crowd, become more competitive, and improve the service while making the treatment more efficient. That’s why introducing IoT into a healthcare business is a good idea for further development and a worthy investment.
If you own a business in the healthcare industry, you can make it more efficient by adopting IoT. Healthcare software development companies can give you a hand and find ways to help your project grow, save money, or manage the workload more effectively, depending on your needs.
- the company should have experience in the domain and have healthcare projects in its portfolio
- the company should have a good reputation, it would also be good if its clients could give some feedback about the team
- the company should care about confidentiality and compliance — make sure to discuss it before starting the partnership
- the company should be reliable, flexible, and transparent about their work
To sum up, IoT can greatly improve the quality of medical services for patients, clinicians, and healthcare businesses. To learn more, check out our article about IoT benefits for healthcare.
If your healthcare-related project needs a hand in integrating IoT, Vakoms will be happy to offer you a solution. At Vakoms, we have a deep understanding of how healthcare works, and our experts are ready to dive into your projects and help your business evolve.