An article by Vitaly Kuprenko, technical writer at Cleveroad.
Healthcare is rapidly developing with tech novelties. The Internet of Things will bring significant changes to patient care. Doctors and healthcare providers already use it in their workflow.
Some hospitals, like Saratoga Hospital, apply IoT technologies for remote consultations, patient monitoring, and improve health outcomes.
Let’s find out how healthcare can benefit from IoT!
IoT has an enormous potential in the healthcare field. Data provided by the sensors can help to diagnose diseases and constantly monitor health conditions. On top of that, IoT software can detect the precursors of illnesses and stop its progression in the early stages.
Looking at the market forecasts, you can see that this field is remarkably promising. By 2025 IoT healthcare will reach $534.3 billion.
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
The essential function of IoMT is monitoring patients’ health conditions and informing the doctor about its deterioration.
IoT in healthcare includes a number of things like wearables, medical supply chain, patient monitoring, and so on. It helps patients stay in touch with doctors and nurses. These devices take the pressure off the workers who support a lot of patients.
Five Basic Advantages of IoT in Healthcare
IoT applications and devices for healthcare are getting more common throughout the world. And of course, there are good reasons for it. So, let’s get through some of them.
IoT apps for healthcare can monitor health conditions and send an emergency signal in case of heart failure, asthma attacks, or any other accident. A recent use case by Apple is a Fall Detection System. When a person falls, Apple Watch shows an alert. If the user didn’t respond with “I’m OK”, the device calls an emergency and sends notifications to emergency contacts specified by the user.
Better Patient Experience
With IoT technologies, patients don’t have to stand in lines anymore. Modern devices provide a much more comfortable way of communicating with the doctor. Patients can be examined by doctors, not even leaving their homes.
As for emergency patients, Mt. Sinai Medical Center uses a solution called AutoBed. It allowed to reduce the waiting time of urgent patients for 50% and admit 59,000 patients with only 1,100 beds available.
With IoT, doctors can control the process of taking medicines. Healthcare providers can adjust the dose and monitor the effectiveness of treatment. The app automatically will send notifications to patients when they should take their drugs. Moreover, IoT simplifies the process of getting a prescription. Physicians can provide prescriptions online, so patients won’t spend their time in queues.
The Internet of Things can automate routine administrative tasks. IoT apps process large clusters of data and output various indicators of patients’ health conditions. Also, automated data gathering excludes the possibility of human mistakes in making a diagnosis.
Challenges of IoT in Healthcare
With great power comes great responsibility. This expression can be applied to IoT because of some strict regulations in the healthcare sector. Now, I will outline them for you.
One of the main drawbacks of IoT in healthcare is poor security. Data safety is the top concern for digital healthcare because health records are confidential information. Hackers may try to get access to sensitive data with the help of different exploits and vulnerabilities. Thus, privacy concerns require you to spend more money on security software.
Standards like GDPR and CCPA stand out among all data regulations, as they have the strictest norms and fines.
Integration of protocols
To expand the functionality of digital healthcare services, providers apply a lot of protocols. Unfortunately, there’s no unified protocol or standard that deals with every device. That’s why the development of IoT apps in healthcare is a long term process.
Besides, your app should necessarily be HIPAA and HITECH compliant. These regulations are obligatory for healthcare providers who keep patients’ EHRs.
Mind that IoT devices can only process the information and transmit it to a doctor. Such a vast flow of information can overload physicians, and that may lead to difficulties in decision-making during treatment.
IoT Use Cases in Healthcare
Digital medical services allow us to save time both for physicians and patients. That’s a very promising field, so no wonder that giants like Apple and Google invest funds into the IoT for healthcare.
Let’s discuss several use cases for IoT and come through some examples of existing IoT projects.
Hospital Information Management System (HIMS)
HIMS deals with medical records, keeps and manages the data about doctors and patients. The System grants access to information about appointments, hospital rooms, and more.
Here are some of the advantages of the Hospital Information Management System:
- High-security level;
- Organised search of documents;
- Drug management;
- Access to EHRs;
- Improved overall patient experience.
Some companies offer turnkey HIMS solutions with the support of various devices. Some of them are:
- Insta HMS
Electronic Healthcare Records System (EHR)
Another use case is EHR.
Electronic health records provide access to health information instantly and securely.
EHR is meant to store, modify, and share information among physicians and their business associates for improving treatment results.
This system is beneficial to doctors because of real-time information on tests and patient’s health conditions. As for the patients, they may contact doctors and get a consultation in no time.
However, a number of hospitals are still wondering how to build an EHR system. And the main issue throughout the development process is HIPAA compliance. So, be sure to hire a team of developers that know how to meet every needed requirement.
These solutions are also called mHealth apps. Usually, their purpose is to provide consultations online, arranging offline consultations, and so on. According to IQVIA, the App Store and Google Play contain 320,000 mHealth apps.
However, mobile healthcare apps can be used for treatment with the help of IoT. Apps, together with wearables, collect the data about physical activity and health conditions. So, it’s possible to develop IoT apps that can transfer healthcare data to smartphones.
Here are some types of mHealth apps:
- Meditation apps
- Fitness apps
- Sleep tracking apps
- Medical assets monitoring
On the whole, I’d like to say that IoT technologies can have a significant positive impact on healthcare in the near future. Improved patient experience and time saving are supreme advantages of this approach. The last thing to remember is hiring a reliable and dedicated team of developers that can meet all of the privacy regulations.