The internet of things (IoT) is changing the healthcare landscape. It is providing new tools for clinicians to diagnose and treat patients, connecting hospital systems to raise the standard of care, and providing a plethora of data that can be used to develop strategies to enhance patient outcomes.
Smart objects in the IoT system are the most crucial building blocks for creating IoT-based smart pervasive frameworks. IoT applications in the healthcare industry are prominent and well-known in modern times. IoT has given the current healthcare system new contours, known as the Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT), and has outstanding technological, social, and commercial prospects.
Prior to the Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT), or before IoT entered the healthcare space, patients used conventional methods like calling doctors, going to doctors' offices, texting one another, and so on. Since smart devices and associated infrastructure in healthcare paradigms were not developed, doctors and hospitals could monitor or track patients' health in real-time under these conventional systems, and real-time patient solutions were also not feasible.
But, things have undergone a significant transformation since IoT entered the healthcare industry. Not only does it lessen the overall stress on the healthcare infrastructure, it also allows for real-time tracking and patient assistance. The use of telemedicine, online/real-time monitoring, and consulting are only a few instances of how this crucial transition is manifest.
IoT-enabled devices have significantly influenced the healthcare sector by granting extreme functionalities like remote patient monitoring and self-monitoring. The IoHT industry's core components are healthcare and medical care. The doctor can still provide excellent care while the patients keep track of their health. In accordance with their health situation, the patients might modify their procedures and safety measures.
IoHT has significantly increased patient involvement and satisfaction levels while improving the doctor-patient relationship's effectiveness and simplicity. A patient's duration of hospital stay and medical expenses can be decreased with a remote health monitoring system. Also, it can enhance therapeutic outcomes and reduce readmissions to the hospital. With the advancement of technology and successful human relationships, IoHT is significantly impacting the healthcare industry. Applications of the IoHT infrastructure are advantageous to patients and their families, doctors, hospitals, and other stakeholders.
IoHT for patients comprises a range of commercially accessible wearables, such as fitness bands, smartwatches, and other wirelessly enabled devices (such as blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, glucometers, etc.). These cutting-edge gadgets are utilized for personalized monitoring. One can set reminders for things like daily calorie intake, exercise tracking, changes in blood pressure, consultations, appointments with doctors, and more with the use of these smart devices.
When it comes to IoHT for doctors, a variety of wearable gadgets and home-based monitoring tools enable the doctor to keep track of the patient's health more effectively. Information about the patient is sent to their family members and the doctor in the event of a medical emergency, which aids them in making the best decisions. IoHT for families allows for real-time communication of patient information to their family members. One can track elderly individuals and young children from any location at all times with the use of wearable technology and other smart wireless enabled gadgets.
When it comes to IoHT for hospitals, sensor-based smart technology can automate a number of system functionalities. Medical devices like defibrillators, wheelchairs, oxygen pumps, nebulizers, and various other nursing equipment may be tracked in real-time thanks to the IoHT. Moreover, real-time employee tracking is possible. IoHT infrastructure makes it feasible to regulate cleanliness using hygiene monitoring devices, protecting patients from infections. The IoHT system allows asset management features, including automatic refrigerator temperature, humidity control, and medicine inventory tracking.
Benefits of IoHT
Better Patient Experience
Patients are more engaged and receive more personalized and effective care when a range of IoHT technologies are used in conjunction with telemedicine strategies. Access to healthcare services, which is crucial for the elderly, is encouraged via remote patient monitoring, smart hospitals, and options for at-home care.
By accelerating data processing, the Internet of Things in healthcare shortens the time needed for diagnosis and decision-making. As a result, overall patient outcomes and experience are improved.
Improved Quality of Treatment
IoHT sensors gather useful information that enables decision-making and provides patients with evidence-based care. Using linked devices in the medical industry guarantees accurate data results and eliminates the possibility of human error.
Furthermore, IoT medical apps support better drug and therapy adherence management, enabling doctors to monitor patient prescription adherence and ensure coordinated care delivery, resulting in better treatment quality.
IoT makes it possible to monitor patients in real-time, thereby reducing the number of redundant doctor visits, hospital stays, and readmissions. Healthcare providers can consult and monitor patients in real-time using IoT solutions for RPM, assisted living, or chronic care management in supporting therapy. The quantity of offline visits, hospital stays, and readmissions are significantly reduced. All of this results in a decrease in the total cost of services.
While the IoT offers many opportunities to accumulate valuable data, it also enables medical professionals to examine electronic health records and gain insightful knowledge. IoHT accelerates advancement in the healthcare sector by enabling clinical trials and investigations.
Moreover, IoT, AI, and ML technologies combined can automate processes, help with disease prediction, and offer possible treatments. In this way, the Internet of Healthcare Things improves the effectiveness of healthcare services.
Examples of IoHT of Devices
IoT devices for the healthcare domain are extensively available, from wireless contact lenses to portable X-ray equipment to intelligent beds and diabetes meters. Let's look at the real-world applications of the Internet of Things in healthcare and the major IoHT device categories.
We are all familiar with classic consumer wearables, such as wristbands and smartwatches, which assist us in gathering and analyzing some physical parameters while keeping track of our fitness activities. Yet, there are more wearables used in healthcare than just this. Clinical-grade biometric wearables, for example, offer medical professionals real-time information on temperature, pressure, ECG readings, heart rate, and respiration rate.
A subcategory of IoHT devices, Hearables, is developed to improve the quality of life for hearing loss patients. By boosting noises, they help patients hear. Built-in optical sensors may be used to detect falls in addition to measuring heart rate and body temperature.
Those who experience stress or ADD can benefit tremendously from moodables. They aim to encourage relaxation and elevate mood all day long. Following a study of the brain waves using head-mounted equipment, a low-intensity current is supplied to stimulate specific brain areas' activity.
Surgery is a complex and stressful process that requires much responsibility, expertise, and understanding from medical professionals. Smart IoMT equipment that performs robotic surgery enhances the results, speeds up the healing process, and significantly lowers the dangers associated with traditional procedures.
Diagnostic procedures and treatments that demand intrusive techniques are not pleasant. In this situation, edible sensors come in handy. These are typically pill-sized devices that gather and track information about things like stomach PH, temperature, enzymes, microbiome, etc.
These sensors offer a huge promise for disease screening and patient experience enhancement. They can also lower labor and facility costs for a range of procedures. Finally, their utilization improves the effectiveness of medical research and services.
It should also be noted that, IoT in healthcare is not without challenges. Vast volumes of data, including sensitive information, are collected by linked IoHT devices, raising questions about data security.
Adequate security measures must be put in place. Through real-time health monitoring and access to patient health data, IoHT explores new facets of patient care. Healthcare stakeholders can use this data to increase patient satisfaction and health, create new business opportunities, and enhance operational efficiency. Utilizing this digital power would set one person apart in an increasingly connected world.