Internet of things or IoT refers to a system or method of interrelating computing,mechanical,digital devices,objects,animals or people. These entities are provided with identifiers and data is transmitted over a network.
IoT and healthcare industry
IoT will have an impact on the healthcare industry. It is already been used both at the doctor and patient levels. The various devices like glucose meters,thermometers,electrocardiogram etc are being connected so that the patient can keep a tab on his or her health. Some hospitals also have facilities wherein the bed can sense the presence of the patient and can adjust itself so that the patient is comfortable.IoT is very useful especially in case of follow ups and health check-ups.
Use of IoT at homes
This method can be used in patients’ homes as well. One can make use of medication dispensers at home, which will upload all the information and the doctor can be aware if the patient is taking the medication properly and if the overall health of the patient is good. This is mainly useful for those patients who do not take medicines properly.
Are healthcare companies taking IoT seriously?
Yes, healthcare companies are taking IoT seriously. Several big giants are already investing a huge amount of money and manpower in developing new products for medical purposes. Big players like Microsoft have come up with Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform.
This will help in cloud-based delivery in healthcare. IBM also plans to invest large amount of money in IoT. There are several start ups which are also venturing in this field. These start ups are ConnectedHealthEarlySense, Proteus Digital Health, Qardio etc.
IoT and future of healthcare
If medical equipments are embedded with IoT devices then the doctors will get detailed information about the patients’ health. It will also help them know which patients need attention on priority. Thus IoT will be very useful in getting medical attention as early as possible. It will help the patient get medical treatment before the case becomes an emergency.IoT will also help in remote healthcare.
The patients’ health can be monitored by the doctor remotely and the patient need not go for follow ups or routine checkups at the doctor’s clinic.IoT will also help the patients get early discharge from hospitals. The doctors need not keep the patient in the hospital for observation. They can keep a track of the patient’s health remotely. IoT will help in proper monitoring and that too in a non invasive way.
The “test bed” programme
The National Health service in Britain will come up with the test bed programme which will involve trials on IoT enabled devices. One such trial will be connecting devices with people having diabetes and let them manage their condition in a better way from home. In the, “The Technology Integrated Health Management” or (TIHM) Test Bed there are plans to provide IoT enabled services to patients with dementia. Here too the aim is to enable the patient to manage his or her condition at home with the help of sensors,monitors etc.
Drawbacks of IoT
Though this industry has the potential of becoming a lucrative industry, one problem could be with regards to the security of the patient data. Therefore companies,hospitals,healthcare providers etc will have to work on the security of the patient information by bringing about required changes in their healthcare policies.
IoT will help the patients get quick medical attention and will help in avoiding medical emergencies. It will also prevent the long stays in hospitals and follow-up visits. IoT will surely bring about a revolutionary change in healthcare sector.