Healthcare is becoming smarter with advanced technology — from surgical and endoscopic products to neurotechnology and more.
The Internet of Things moves healthcare to a new level and provides an outstanding solution for patients and doctors. Many hospitals have already implemented IoT technology to improve the patient’s experience and provider’s ROI.
For instance, Saratoga Hospital adopted IoT-enabled technology for patient monitoring to cut administrative tasks and increase clinical outcomes. The medical IoT is being actively incorporated into hardware and software for the healthcare industry.
Advantages of IoT in Healthcare
The Internet of Things and healthcare continue to improve every year. It means that such interaction has some core benefits. Let’s see the opportunity of IoT in healthcare.
Smart devices can track patients’ health. They can automatically gather health metrics like heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and more from patients who are not physically present in a hospital.
IoT applications can send an emergency signal if the patient has a heart attack or another medical issue.
For example, Apple has implemented a Fall Detection System in Apple Watch. It detects if a person falls and displays an alert.
The user should tap ‘I’m OK’ for one minute. Otherwise, AppleWatch calls emergency care.
Better Patient Experience
Connected healthcare solutions and virtual infrastructure make treatment precise and better. For example, talking medical devices reminds patients to take medicines as prescribed and other necessary actions to improve health. It improves patients’ experience and gains customer satisfaction.
Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York uses AutoBed software to eliminate the waiting time for their emergency patients. The hospital has 1,100 beds but accepts 59,000 patients. The main task of AutoBed is matching available beds with newly arrived patients.
With pill-sized ingestible sensors, the doctor can control the amount of medicine taken. It helps monitor the dose and record the effectiveness of treatment.
Also, IoT applications remind patients when they need to take their drugs. Besides, it’s possible to send a message to a family member when the patient hasn’t taken medicine on time.
IoT devices eliminate time-consuming manual processes, freeing up staff and significantly reducing costs. Medications are managed automatically from the pharmacy to specialized labs, the nursing station, and the patient’s bedside. Smart devices cut medication delivery time to patients from 90 minutes to just 30.
IoT applications can analyze the data and build different metrics to track changes in the patients’ health conditions. It reduces the number of errors in making a diagnosis.
Many people die from different diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more. IoT analytics lets doctors intervene before a disease progresses and provide patient-centric health services.
Wearable devices can control the health conditions of every patient with chronic diseases. Having all health-critical data, doctors will be able to personalized treatment regimes and raise diagnosis accuracy.
IoT in Healthcare: Use Cases
MarketWatch claims that the Global Internet of Things in the medical field is expected to reach approximately $162.2 billion in 2024.
IoT in medical services allows saving precious time and enhance the customer experience. That’s why large enterprises like Google and Apple make significant investments in Internet of Things technology.
Let’s discuss the use cases of IoT solutions in healthcare.
Hospital Information Management System (HIMS)
IoT brings incredible changes to hospital management systems.
HIMS is advanced software that offers comprehensive solutions to various segments of the Healthcare industry. It collects and manages medical records, information about doctors and patients.
The system provides up-to-date information about appointments.
When a patient calls the hospital to get an appointment, the receptionist can book the appointment by selecting empty slots of the doctor. The receptionist can either search for an existing patient with a UHID (Unique Health Identification), phone number, national ID number or register a new patient.
Hospital Information Management System brings the following benefits to the healthcare service:
- Easy search of documents
- Remote access to patients’ records
- High-security level
- Drug management
- Enhanced patient experience
Information management system by Cleveroad (Source: Dribbble)
Many organizations offer ready-made Hospital Information Management Systems that can be used on various devices to provide full access to the records. Among these systems are:
- Insta HMS
Electronic Healthcare Records System (EHR)
EHR improves care for patients and makes healthcare workplaces more efficient. It allows all authorized users to retrieve healthcare information quickly and securely.
EHR provides access to an up-to-date summary of the patient care, such as their medications, diagnosis, and discharge plan that doctors can use to provide better treatment results.
For instance, doctors can overview the latest tests of the patient and see the entire disease history. As for the patients, they can contact specialists 24/7.
Hospital mobile app by Cleveroad (Source: Dribbble)
mHealth applications are simply a source of information or tools that help manage patients’ health and wellbeing. The App Store and Google Play offer 320,000 mHealth, according to IQVIA.
Healthcare app development gives a lot of opportunities like getting consultation online, sleep monitoring, providing valuable tips about living with a particular illness, connecting patients to support groups, and more.
You can use mobile healthcare IoT applications in two cases — for emergency or daily treatment. Apps connected to wearables collect data about physical activity or health conditions and transform it into smartphones.
There are four types of mHealth apps:
- Meditation applications
- Sleep tracking applications
- Fitness apps
Of course, there are several ways to implement the Internet of Things in healthcare:
- Remote health monitoring. IoT healthcare devices can read information from patients’ medical cards in real-time. They let doctors conduct data analysis, send messages to suppliers and patients.
- Wearables. They let doctors monitor the daily activity of patients and suggest a change in treatment. Wearable sensors apps can inform about heart rate or step counts without actually seeing the patient.
- Patient-oriented medicine. IoT healthcare devices increase the quality and efficiency of the health system by providing patient-oriented care. This means the patient gets the right service at the right time.
- Medical assets monitoring. IoT reduces time-consuming routine processes and improves medical assets monitoring. Thus, doctors can spend more time with their patients and achieve better treatment results.
Challenges of IoT in Healthcare
As we can see, IoT can revolutionize the healthcare system providing an incredible customer experience. But there are some pitfalls that couldn’t be ignored.
The main issue of IoT in healthcare is poor security. The third parties may get access to the healthcare IoT software and steal confidential information. So it’s crucial to enhance data security that leads to extra costs.
There are also such documents as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) that protect patients’ information.
Integration of Protocols
The internet of medical things connects multiple devices. The difference between their protocols leads to data aggregation complexity and may slow-down the internal processes.
But, there is no single solution regarding protocols and standards. As a result, software developers should choose the right tools for a specific protocol combination to adopt IoT in healthcare as soon as possible.
Building medical software, you need to ensure your medical app is HIPAA and HITECH compliant. These protocols have a lot of rules and regulations due to patients’ information processing.
IoT healthcare devices collect and analyze a ton of information. Thus, specialists can face a lack of accurate data. The enormous amount of data causes the difficulties in decision-making during treatment.
Implementation of IoT for healthcare is a great way to simplify doctors’ and patients’ lives with the wide range of improvements that healthcare apps bring to medical service.
IoT cooperates with medical organizations and healthcare mobile apps, providing better care to patients while increasing stakeholders’ revenue opportunities.
Maria Diachenko is a tech writer at Cleveroad. It’s a healthcare software development company in Ukraine. Maria enjoys making how-to tech guides, describing programming trends and IoT innovations.