Internet of Things (IoT) in Healthcare

Internet of Things (IoT) in Healthcare

What is Internet of Things (IoT)?

The spotlight is on the Internet of Things (IoT) ever since it was coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton of Procter & Gamble. In simple terms, it refers to a network of internet-enabled devices or “things” being able to connect and communicate with each other. According to BI Intelligence, there would be 24 billion or more IoT devices by 2020 in the world.

Benefits of IoT in Healthcare:

IoT has significantly impacted businesses in many sectors including healthcare. According to P&S Market Research, IoT in healthcare will achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.6% between 2015 and 2020. A majority of this growth would be in terms of remote health monitoring for life-threatening diseases as per P&S. Digital transformation with IoT can help healthcare businesses improve operational efficiency and performance while streamlining the process. IoT also enables healthcare professionals to better use their knowledge and training to deliver value-based healthcare.

IoT in healthcare helps patients engage better with the clinicians/providers. Inventory management and asset tracking are other useful applications of IoT in healthcare leading to optimization of resources and minimization of unnecessary expenditure related to equipment maintenance and replacement. Workflow optimization through wireless infrastructure, tags and badges will help manage throughput as well.

IoT devices and applications:

Some of the recent exciting applications of IoT are:

  • Coagulation testing: A Bluetooth enabled coagulation system launched by Roche in 2016 enables patients who are on anticoagulation therapy to check the rate of the blood clot.
  • Insulin delivery: OpenAPS, which stands for open artificial pancreas, uses IoT system to deliver the right amount of insulin continuously to patients with type 1 diabetes.
  • Patient adherence: Novartis is shortly coming up with an inhaler device that connects through a sensor to the digital platform where usage data is continuously transmitted.
  • Preventive healthcare: UroSense is a smart IoT system that tracks urine output and body temperature for patients who have been catheterized. The data provided by this IoT is valuable in early detection and prevention of complications from infections, hypothermia and kidney injury among others.

The way ahead:

The huge amount of useful and accurate data available for patients, healthcare providers and researchers can transform knowledge, management, and innovation in healthcare. The market for IoT devices, according to MarketResearch.com, would be worth $117 billion by 2020. Real-time data and prediction of disease outbreak can help take preventive action in time. IoT devices and network in the future will help healthcare providers derive actionable insights into patient data and preventive healthcare.

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