The interaction between the patients, doctors, and other hospital or healthcare professionals were complex, and communication was also quite difficult. It was only possible through direct visits, text messaging, or telephonic conversations. It took more time for the physicians or hospitals to find the patient's records and monitor the patient's health continuously and make recommendations.
With the introduction of Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices, hospitals and health centres have made the remote monitoring simpler and more manageable, to serve the patients to stay safe and healthy, and enabling healthcare practitioners to provide the best care. The interactions and communications with doctors and hospitals have become more accessible and efficient, that gradually increases patient satisfaction.
Moreover, remote monitoring saves the patient in several ways by reducing the period of hospital stay and healthcare costs as well as it helps to limit re-admissions. IoT has several applications that help the healthcare industry to serve patients, physicians, hospitals, as well as insurance firms. Let us see in detail.
IoT Applications for Patients
There are several applications and devices to monitor the patient's health, appointments, remind calorie count, exercise check, blood pressure changes, etc. The wearables such as fitness bands and other wireless devices like blood pressure and heart rate monitoring cuffs, glucometer etc. provide patients with access to personalized awareness.
Patients, especially older people, can use these IoT applications and devices more effectively for the constant tracking of health conditions. Several applications provide an alert mechanism with the application that signals to family members or concerned health providers about the patients.
IoT Applications for Doctors
The wearables or other remote monitoring devices and applications that are being embedded with the Internet of Things (IoT), doctors can maintain track or record of their patients’ health more efficiently and effectively. This can help them in their medication plans or can be aware of the requirement for immediate medical attention. The data gathered from the IoT applications and devices can also help doctors to recognise the most suitable treatment method for patients and arrive at the expected results.
IoT Applications for Hospitals
Not only the monitoring or tracking the patient's health, but there are also many other useful factors and areas where the IoT applications and devices are much valuable for hospitals. The real-time tracking of all kinds of medical equipment through devices and applications that are embedded with IoT helps the hospitals by making the processes easier and saves time. IoT devices and applications also favour the hospitals and healthcare organizations by assisting in the asset management sectors such as pharmacy inventory control, environmental monitoring, etc.
IoT applications are also widely used in the healthcare insurance companies. The data that is being captured from the health monitoring devices helps in the underwriting, claims handling, etc.
Here are some of the benefits of the Internet of Things applications provide:
Real-time monitoring and Reporting
The real-time monitoring applications through connected or wireless devices can help to save lives in cases of medical emergencies like heart troubles, diabetes, asthma, etc. The IoT devices can capture data such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels, ECGs, etc.
IoT can automate the entire patient care procedures and workflows with the help of various mobility solutions and new technologies. The IoT applications and devices allow high interoperability, data and information transfer, machine-to-machine communication, etc. The connection can be made via Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, etc.
Data assortment and analysis
There is a massive volume of data that an IoT device or application sends in a short time. IoT devices can gather, record, analyze, and report the data in real-time and thus, it eliminates the necessity to store the raw data. It also helps to speed up the decision-making in the case of patients.
Remote medical assistance
The patients can directly contact the doctors for their medical needs and emergencies even though the doctors are far away from them. This helps to sort out so many health troubles and illness.
The healthcare IoT devices and applications collect essential data and transfer it to the doctors for real-time monitoring and tracking, and notifies or alerts to oneself about their health conditions and steps that they have to take via mobile applications or any other connected devices irrespective of place and time.It also helps to adhere to on-time treatment.
As the IoT applications enable real-time monitoring, it significantly reduces avoidable visits to doctors, hospital stays, and re-admissions. It also cut downs several unnecessary costs and charges that the patients might meet.
Implementing suitable security measures is highly crucial. IoT devices and applications examine new dimensions of complete patient care through real-time health monitoring and real-time health data access. However, IoT applications in the healthcare industry are not something that does not face any challenges. But, it helps the patients, physicians, and healthcare organizations superlatively.