Healthcare organizations worldwide are adopting or looking into IoT solutions. The Internet of Things addresses the gaps in the healthcare field and promises a patient-centric, data-based, and innovative future. IoT is currently in use for a wide range of applications, such as,
1. Remote patient monitoring
Earlier, patient monitoring would only happen after check-in at the hospital, where the doctor would monitor the vitals. However, with biosensors and IoT technology within, vitals such as heart rate, respiration rate, body temperature, and so on can be monitored virtually and without delay.
This way, the doctors or practitioners can access the data through the cloud on a supported app. Providing advice, medications, or instructions based on real-time vitals is possible. It reduces any delay in treatment and allows earlier diagnosis of diseases and illnesses.
For instance, Philips devised a wearable biosensor during the pandemic, a 5-day single-use wearable patch. It transmitted respiratory and heart rates every minute. The social distancing helped doctors and patients stay safe.
2. Smart medical devices
Intelligent devices are game changers for the old and the young population alike. Apart from monitoring vitals, the devices can be designed to remind of medications, checkups, hospital visits, and food intake timings, to name a few. In addition, using IoT in such devices can help send push notifications to remind patients of a particular task or appointment.
Smart devices may also be set to record vitals such as blood glucose, oxygen, or hydration level over a specific period. Such personalized programming is a massive advantage of using the Internet of Things in medical devices. The doctors can also be alerted in the case of an emergency or deviating vitals.
These devices are manufactured using smartwatches, wristbands, or armbands. With the collected data over time, physicians can keep track of and identify the best treatment process and plan for the patient.
4. RFID and IoT technology
RF identification technology is a low-cost sensor that can be used on devices, patients, and hospital employees. The RFID tag is a sensor that can provide real-time information and monitoring when combined with IoT technology. The RFID tracking system involves tags and readers.
The tags transmit the information and can be applied to medical devices, employee cards, and patient hospital records. The RFID readers scan the cards and send the information to the cloud gateway. With a firewall to securely transmit and store data, the information stored in the RFID system includes the tag information such as name, expiration date, and real-time information on the object's location.
Hence, RFID can be used for medical inventory, to restock the proper medications, to identify them, and on employee tags to check their exit and entry. In addition, RFID tags can be applied to patient cards and medical devices to monitor their location within the hospital.
This way, any unusual behaviour or movement can be identified. The system also analyses data to determine staff schedules, patient and visitor data, equipment and workflow organization, and so on. These analytics can be visualized on a dashboard to gather insights into hospital management and staff performance.
4. IoT-assisted surgery and prosthetics
Did you know that the adoption of assisted surgery went from 1.5% in 2012 to 15.1% in 2018? Using IoT technology, robotics can be manipulated through a set of commands that may be live or pre-programmed. Robotic surgeons may also communicate with doctors and nurses and are widely used in healthcare to minimize the slightest amount of human error. Microsurgeries and assisted minimally invasive surgeries are some examples.
Prosthetic development is a complicated industry due to the specifications and personalizations required based on the patient. IoT can help with the high variability in the size of the lost body part and patient requirements. In addition, IoT-aided devices can help with better response, design, and performance of the prosthetic.