IoT in Healthcare: Benefits, Challenges and Applications

There have been numerous technologies going around that have created a buzz in the healthcare industry. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, you name it and you see their applications in every sphere or sector, albeit some of those are just overhyped or mere gimmicks. But the Internet of Things (IoT) is the most flourishing technology, and IoT in healthcare has bought in myriad applications that are more than just gimmicks and quite useful in reality.
There is a huge demand for IoT developers apart from just the healthcare sector. Businesses across various industries, including healthcare, are pouring in investments in IoT app development. Let’s have a look at the progress of IoT in the healthcare industry.

Let’s look at some stats to see the progress of IoT in healthcare:

  • It has been estimated by Business Insider that by 2020,  IoT devices in healthcare will be more than 161 million units.
  • According to a new report from MarketResearch.com, the healthcare Internet of Things market segment is poised to hit $117 billion by 2020. 
Estimated IoT healthcare device installations during 2015-2020
 Source: Business Insider
The stats have said it all. For businesses based on healthcare and professionals working in the medical sector, the time is ripe to work on implementing IoT-based applications in healthcare. But before I tell you how to implement IoT in healthcare, let’s understand the current state of IoT in the industry.

What is the current state of IoT in HealthCare?

State of IoT in Healthcare
It is not tough to say that the healthcare industry is in huge despair. With the increase in population, the healthcare services have been costlier than ever. Basic healthcare has gone beyond the reach of people. It has created havoc on the lives of needful, who are in the general need of aid healthcare. The situation is getting worse with each passing year. 

ARE IOT applications the magic wand to solve issues in the healthcare industry?

I guess Yes! To make healthcare easily accessible with the right diagnosis and treatment, there is a huge possibility of redundant costs as medical diagnosis forms a huge part of hospital bills. This can be taken care of with IoT in the picture. The right diagnosis done through interconnected IoT applications will also lessen the need for hospitalization.
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What are the benefits of IoT in Healthcare?

Benefits of IoT in healthcare

The benefits of IoT in healthcare are:

1) Simultaneous Reporting and Monitoring:

Real-time monitoring via connected devices can save a million lives in the event of a medical emergency like heart failure, diabetes, asthma attacks, etc.
With the real-time monitoring of the condition in place by means of a smart medical device connected to a smartphone app, connected devices can collect useful medical and health-related data.
The connected IoT device collects and transfers health data such as information about blood pressure, oxygen, and blood sugar levels, weight, and ECGs.
The data is stored in the cloud and can be shared with an authorized person as per the sharing access authority. The said person could be a physician, an insurance company, a participating health firm or an external consultant, and it will allow them to look at the collected data regardless of their location and time!

2) End-to-End Connectivity and Affordability:

IoT can help in automating healthcare and patient healthcare workflow through healthcare mobility solutions. IoT in healthcare enables interoperability, machine to machine communication, information exchange, and data movement that makes the delivery of healthcare service extremely cost-effective. This technology-driven setup can bring down the costs by cutting down unnecessary visits and utilizing better quality resources. Thereby improving the process of allocation and resource planning.

3) Data Assortment and Analysis:

For healthcare professionals, to manage a vast amount of data is not as easy as it sounds. Data collected in real-time through IoT enabled mobile devices can be analyzed and segregated through mobility solutions powered by IoT. This will reduce the collection of raw data and can drive vital healthcare analytics and data-driven insights, which ultimately reduce errors and speed up decision-making.

4) Tracking and Alerts:

Real-time tracking and alerts in life-threatening situations can turn as a savior to safeguard a critical patient’s health with constant notifications and real-time alerts for proper monitoring, analysis, and diagnosis. Healthcare mobility solutions powered by IoT enable real-time tracking, alerting, and monitoring. This permits hands-on treatments, better accuracy and apt intervention by doctors hence improving the complete patient care delivery results.

5) Remote Medical Assistance:

It is a terrible situation for a patient looking for medical assistance, yet being unable to connect to a doctor due to hindrances such as location and lack of knowledge. The problem has got its fixture in the IoT-enabled mobility solutions that can help patients with proper medical assistance on the go. 
Patients can take medical prescriptions right at home through healthcare delivery chains connected to patients through IoT devices.

There are two sides to this coin. IoT applications in healthcare have also met several challenges on the way

 

What are the challenges of IoT in healthcare?

1)Data Security and Privacy:

One of the most significant challenges faced by IoT is Data Security and Privacy. IoT-enabled mobile devices capture data in real-time, but most of them lack adherence to data protocols and standards. 
There is significant ambiguity regarding data ownership and regulation. Hence, the data stored within IoT enabled devices are prone to data thefts and it makes the data more susceptible to cybercriminals that can hack into the system to compromise personal health information. Some examples of misuse of IoT device data are fraudulent health claims and the creation of fake IDs for buying and selling drugs.

2) Integration: Multiple Devices & Protocols:

The integration of multiple types of devices causes hindrance in the implementation of IoT in the healthcare sector. The reason behind this hindrance is that device manufacturers haven’t reached a consensus regarding communication protocol and standards. This results in a scenario where every manufacturer creates its own separate ecosystem of IoT devices that do not work with the devices and applications of competing manufacturers. In such a situation, there is no synchronous protocol that could be followed for data aggregation. This non-uniformity slows down the process and reduces the scope of scalability of IoT in healthcare. 

3) Data Overload and Accuracy:

Due to the non-uniformity of data and communication protocols, it is difficult to aggregate data for vital insights and analysis. IoT collects data in bulk and for proper data analysis, the data need to be segregated in chunks without overloading with precise accuracy for better results. Overloading of data might affect the decision-making process in the hospitality sector in the longer run.

4)Cost:

You might not be surprised to see this point here.  Costs are one of the greater challenges when planning to consider IoT app development for healthcare mobility solutions. However, the costs are completely worth it if the IoT implementation is one that solves a genuine problem. While you will spend a significant amount of money and resources in developing an IoT application, the returns will be equally huge when your business saves time and manpower, all while improving the business processes, generating more revenue streams and creating more business opportunities through IoT.

What are the applications of IoT in Healthcare?

 

IoT applications in healthcare are meant not just for the healthcare institutions, but for the patients too! In a nutshell, IoT in healthcare does the following: 
  1. Reducing emergency room wait time
  2. Tracking patients, staff, and inventory
  3. Enhancing drug management
  4. Ensuring the availability of critical hardware
Now, these benefits cannot be realized without the various types of IoT devices leveraged in the healthcare sector, some of the popular types of IoT devices are as follows:

1) Hearables:

Hearables are touted as the new age hearing aid for people who have suffered hearing loss and have lost interaction with the real world. The way IoT-powered devices have transformed the world with hearing aid solutions is commendable. Hearables are compatible with your smartphones, you can sync your Bluetooth with the device. It also allows you to filter, equalize and add layered features to real-world sounds.
One of the prominent examples of Hearables is Doppler Labs.

2) Ingestible Sensors:

A genuine modern science marvel, Ingestible Sensors are well, ingestible pill-sized sensors that get inside our bodies to monitor the medications and warns user/doctor in case of any irregularity. These sensors can be a boon for diabetic patients as it would help in curbing symptoms and provide an early warning for diseases. 
One of the prominent examples is Proteus Health, which is used for better insights, analysis, and care.

3) Moodables:

A mood-enhancing device that can help in enhancing your mood all throughout the day! It might sound fictitious but it is not far from reality.  
Thync and Halo Neurosciences are already working on mood elevator sensors. “Mood-ables” are head-mounted wearables that send low-intensity current to the brain to elevate mood.

4) Computer Vision Technology:

Computer Vision Technology along with Artificial Intelligence has given rise to drone technology which aims to mimic visual perception to enable decision making based on it. 
Drones like Skydio, use computer vision technology to detect obstacles and navigate around them. This technology has also greatly helped visually impaired people to navigate effectively. 

5) Healthcare Charting:

IoT powered devices reduces much of manual work, which a doctor has to do during patient charting. IoT sensors can measure all types of od data such as blood pressure, body temperature etc., and chart it all into an app connected to measurement devices through IoT. It makes the patient’s data readily accessible for review. Such an IoT application could save up to 15 hours/ week of doctor’s manual charting.

How would you want to apply iOT IN HEALTHCARE?

IoT has clearly changed the game of the healthcare industry. Healthcare is one of the most critical industrial sectors unaffected by every major technology except for the Internet of Things. IoT app development has changed the way facilities and services are delivered in the healthcare sector.
So, if you want to jump into this transition, hire IoT developers, set up a project and take a step towards building the future of healthcare. There are many leading IoT development companies that have been providing a pool of  IoT development services but there are only a few who deliver as per client requirements and expectations.

We at ValueCoders, have experienced IoT developers working on multiple IoT-based healthcare software projects.

For a FREE consultation, Visit HERE.

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