Is the IoT Impacting the Healthcare Industry?
The era of the Internet of Things (IoT) is upon us. By 2025 there will be up to 75 billion internet-connected healthcare wearables on the market. These tools enable healthcare providers to monitor patients long after they leave a hospital. This can have a positive impact on healthcare outcomes as well as improve patient satisfaction and the overall quality of care. So, is the IoT impacting health? The answer would be a resounding, “Yes.” Here’s where these technology tools will take us in the near future.
Benefits of IoT in Healthcare
IoT remote sensors allow real-time monitoring of patient data. This means care providers do not have to wait a few weeks to physically see a patient in the office before adjusting the treatment. This could cut down on hospital readmissions, an area where the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) is now penalizing hospitals to the tune of about $26 billion annually. Without an IoT application, the patient that is recovering from surgery may end up in the ER because there was nothing to monitor their health until it caused enough of a problem to go to the hospital. More timely intervention by clinicians not only providers better treatment for patients but can also cut down on hospital readmissions and penalties.
Having a smart device connected to a mobile app that collects health-related data then sends it back to the healthcare provider means that the clinician can more effectively treat an individual’s health condition. Too, technology tools like video conferencing can connect a healthcare counselor with the patient. For example, say the patient is trying to lose weight to better control their diabetes. An IoT device can track blood sugar spikes. Then a healthcare provider can counsel the patient on eating or exercise habits to impact these numbers faster than if the patient was self-monitoring and then traveling to a doctor’s office for a routine check-up.
This real-time data can also impact research by providing more accurate and timely information from the patient. Instead of it taking years to manually assemble information from a research subject, IoT can capture information much more quickly and effectively. These tools are particularly helpful for elderly patients that go off their routine or, in some other way, deviate from scripted activities to maintain their health.
There are even new smart pills that have a tiny ingestible sensor that pings when the patient has taken them. This could help with everything from schizophrenics who go off their medications to elderly patients that forget they’ve taken a pill.
From a hospital perspective, IoT sensors could help them locate missing equipment quickly. For example, the facility may have a limited number of specific types of equipment, such as ventilators. A tracking mechanism on the equipment could quickly show nursing staff where all of their tools are located.
From a technology perspective, these are just some of the ways that IoT applications may impact healthcare providers and their patients in the coming years. One thing is certain; these tools are here to stay and will have a big impact on care delivery in the coming years.
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