Everyone is talking about Internet of Things (IoT) and all its promises to the businesses and consumers, from marketers to IT professionals.
As you guessed it right, health care providers have still lagged behind other industries in adopting IoT innovations and to use available customer data to decision making. Though it is true that the required shift is slowly taking place. Let’s take some time to explore the possibilities in IoT over healthcare industry.
- Efficiency and Cost: In the healthcare provider space, leveraging technological advances from remote healthcare monitoring is becoming immensely possible . It is feasible to measure a patient’s medical condition in real time and share this information with the doctors with greater efficiency. In industries like healthcare and life sciences, IoT can potentially help bring down costs across the system. To give you one use case, the bar code on every soda can when scanned can provide info ASAP and it is made visible to the makers. Cool right? The most important thing is that IoT gets the visibility for healthcare. There are several reasons to take this move further. As perthis report of U.S Healthcare given by Goldman, Sachs & Co , the “digital revolution” using IoT can save over $300 billion in healthcare. This is massive if achieved. But how will that be broken down? Imagine more sensor devices will be involved which would mean more patient monitoring for chronic issues. This will make sure better and large scale remote patient monitoring which will bring down checkups and unnecessary appointments. This will also take their role in cost reduction.
- Products data: If you look inside the big pharmaceutical companies, the amount of obsolescence within these organisations is beyond imagination. Their inventory is massive. To manage it, one need to make major changes and move healthcare industry of other industries. IoT promises to provide trail regulators to get more real time view of the patient experience and collect data.
- Effective care: IoT-enabled devices can provide remote data from equipment like fetal monitors and electrocardiographs, among others. The information about temperatures, heart rates, and glucose levels can be automatically transmitted in real time with the help of wearable devices. This helps hospitals operate more efficiently and patients receive better care. All this required important data can help monitor patient’s sleep and exercise patterns and even lead to determine their percentage risk for heart attack or stroke
- Empowering patients: Imagine the days when you are allowed to get expert medical advice without going to the doctor? There could be some sensors which are connected using Telehealth (Telehealth is the delivery of healthcare treatment and information through telecommunications technologies. At its most advanced level, this could theoretically allow surgeons to perform surgeries remotely) which can let actual doctor access without the waiting rooms. This integration could also be useful when it comes to behavior modification, as providers would have new tools to use when encouraging healthier lifestyles for patients
Here are a few key challenges facing this union:
- Data Security: Security is a huge topic of discussion for using IoT for healthcare and life sciences domain. If the number of Internet-connected devices are increased, which is the expected, the number of entry points into data systems will also be increased. These data systems consist of sensitive patient healthcare and financial information which are very lucrative for cyber-attackers. I think that this is the major reason why healthcare is lagging behind other industries in terms of IoT. The Healthcare organizations absolutely must have security at top of mind to look ahead to the IoT.
- Mobile hesitation: IoT involves mobile devices on majority but what (or whom) they’re connected to still counts for something. If there is provider hesitation or confusion during any part of the patient data-handling process, care could suffer or breaches could occur. Some health IT departments and physicians have struggled to handle all that data coming in. Given the mobile, BYOD healthcare culture, substantial data handling training is requiredthroughout an organization, not just at the top.
- Vendor Consistency: Can you tell me what are the communication standards and protocols for all these new medical wearables and other IoT-ready devices? No? It is problem. The different medical device vendors have not agreed on them yet. Inside a particular hospital, different vendor medical devices are used which are raising questions of propriety and consistency
I would like to quote here one research done by MIT fellow to replace bandage with an electronic bandage which can heal bounds mush faster. You can get more details about this research from here.
This article covered the possibilities and challenges of using IoT in healthcare. As this is vast domain, there are numerous steps already taken using IoT in healthcare. These would be part of the next article on this topic as per plan.