The internet of things has a wide range of applications in healthcare that can benefit a wide variety of people, families and physicians. Some hospitals are using the internet of things in healthcare to keep newborns healthy, while others are using the technology to track inventory and reduce costs. These examples merely scrape the surface of the potential of healthcare IoT.
There are already applications for the internet of things in healthcare, but the technology is still growing. While one of the challenges of healthcare IoT is how to manage all of the data it collects, the future of IoT will depend on the ability of medical organizations to turn data into reporting and management.
We can already see the benefits of IoT in medical facilities today with uses such as remote monitoring which can be useful particularly for patients who have mobility limitations such as the elderly or disabled, in some respects medical equipment can constantly report back to physicians and therefore allow them to prioritise care according to need and urgency or even allow the patient to monitor their own situations and have the medical equipment react on the fly as quoted by the example below:
One of the most fascinating areas in IoT medicine is the open source initiative OpenAPS, which stands for open artificial pancreas system. Dana Lewis and her husband Scott Leibrand have hacked Dana’s CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and her insulin pump.
Using the data feed from the CGM and a Raspberry Pi computer, their own software completes the loop and continuously alters the amount of insulin Dana’s pump delivers.
As of summer 2016, when Dana presented at OSCon in Austin, 59 people were using the open source software and hacking their own equipment. This example shows how patients have been waiting for years for improved technology which the healthcare industry has not delivered. Security concerns and lengthy development and testing periods mean that connected devices have taken some time to come to market.
Dana Lewis told e-patients.net that, in the view of OpenAPS, “the relative net risk of this [loop] feature is far outweighed by the net benefit of providing users the ability to control their own devices, as discussed here.”
IoT Healthcare will also offer improved outcomes and allow physicians to make real time decisions on evidence based data that is stored in cloud computing environments and when diseases are treated and monitored on a real time basis physicians are able to treat them before they get out of hand and without relying on the patient to reach a state of discomfort.
The abundance of real time data will ultimately lead to reduced errors in the field of treatment as deep learning initiatives will facilitate detection of medical issues faster than a specialist can currently diagnose.
In summary: medical devices, sensors, and diagnostic and imaging devices can be viewed as devices or objects constituting a core part of IoT. IoT-based healthcare services increase patient quality of life, and enrich the user’s experience. From the perspective of healthcare organisations; IoT has potential to reduce downtime through remote provision. In addition, IoT can correctly identify optimum times for replenishing supplies for various devices for their smooth and continuous operation.
Furthermore, IoT provides for the efficient scheduling of limited resources by ensuring their best use and service of more patients. Ease of cost-effective interactions through seamless and secure connectivity across individual patients, clinics, and healthcare organizations is an important trend. Up-to- date healthcare networks driven by wireless technologies are expected to support chronic diseases, early diagnosis, real-time monitoring, and medical emergencies. Gateways, medical servers, and health databases play vital roles in creating health records and delivering on-demand health services to authorized stakeholders.