The application of the Internet of things is increasing in multiple sectors, especially healthcare, seeing massive benefits when integrated with IoT. This transition has been happening since 2017, and with this integration, it is now known as the Internet of Healthcare Things (IOHT) or the Internet of Medical Things (IOMT). With the population on the rise, healthcare cannot cater to all those suffering and need regular check-ups. In-person appointments, treatments, and surgeries are growing in number, and hospitals face difficulty serving these many people.
When it comes to treating chronic diseases, patients need to visit a doctor on multiple occasions and take ad-hoc appointments. With IoT applied in this case, remote health monitoring is now an option, where these numerous ad-hoc appointments can now be conducted from the patient’s home. Moreover, with the increasing use of IoT, it is gradually extended to rural areas. There is a considerable gap when it comes to healthcare services in rural areas. With the help of remote health monitoring and remote tracking, doctors can now virtually monitor patients from rural areas.
Applications of IoT in healthcare
With IoT being used, it also ensures better quality and efficiency in providing healthcare services with reduced expenditures. Below are some areas that are gaining popularity on the Internet of Healthcare Things.
- Remote Health Monitoring & Telemedicine:
This is the most used application, where the patient’s heartbeat, blood pleasure, oxygen level, glucose level, and many such parameters are remotely monitored by doctors using some device. The level of these parameters, when they fall below a particular threshold, is when doctors provide consultation without the need of the patient to visit in person. These devices include wearables, personal health trackers, which are gaining popularity these days, and other biosensors.
Telemedicine is how healthcare can be delivered remotely to patients; this might include healthcare apps, dedicated kiosks for a self check-up, or calling up the clinic to let them know of your problems and then getting remotely connected to a doctor. Telemedicine examples are video consultation, digital transmission of medical imaging, and remote medical diagnosis. On the same lines, there are numerous online consultation apps which are coming up and companies, for example, Futurionic can help you get the application just as you like..
- Real-time healthcare systems:
Electronic health records are being used very commonly in most hospitals. This is nothing but the digitization of patients’ health records who pay a visit to the hospital or when they are admitted. However, many of these EHR systems are not integrated with IoT; hence, they are not updated in real-time.
There is now a shift from EHR to Real-time healthcare systems (RTHS), which provide real-time tracking of various patient parameters, draw insights and recognize patterns from the data. RTHS helps in predictive analytics using the dynamic and static data recorded from the patients.
- Other IoT applications in maintenance of hospital assets and devices:
Maintaining hospitals is a tedious task, as they usually own a lot of assets and have an ample number of devices used for the treatment of individuals. Managing a hospital and its devices manually is stopping healthcare from the boom. However, when this is integrated with IoT, it can help in the maintenance and help monitor the devices, help in automatic temperature and humidity control inside hospitals, provide security, and make hospital buildings smart.
Another application that is now being used is smart beds. Such beds are embedded with sensors for nurses to get alert on any patient’s movement and monitor sugar levels, blood saturation, oxygen, and other parameters. With such sensors inbuilt in patients’ beds, it can avoid getting into situations where rescuing them becomes difficult. These technologies can help you make smart hospitals which enhance the healthcare service being provided.
However, with such massive data being tracked and monitored about an individual’s health, personal data privacy and its security become a critical factor. The personal data of a patient’s health are highly susceptible to getting hacked and misused by cybercriminals to purchase illegal medical equipment and drugs. Hence, IOT integrated with healthcare should be managed and monitored carefully with security; these IoT device networks should be combined with risk management techniques, identified, and regulated for adequate safety.