In this blog post, we’ll discuss one of the most promising and important technological advances of recent times: IoT healthcare. But before we dive into the world of healthcare and smart devices, let’s cover some basics.
What is the IoT?
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a network of smart devices connected to each other via the internet. These devices send and receive data between each other without the need for any user input. As such, IoT technology allows devices and appliances to perform their functions automatically. To learn more about how the Internet of Things works, click the link above.
What Are the Applications of the Internet of Things?
Internet of Things has been one of the hot topics in the tech world in the last few years. People have already found ways to use it for commercial, industrial, infrastructural, and consumer purposes.
As the IoT has made its way to the general public, spreading like wildfire, people have become curious about its inner workings. Now they want to learn more about IoT applications and the technology’s impact on their daily lives.
This is why we’ve already covered topics such as What Is the IoT? which explains the basics behind the trend, as well as glancing at the Top 31 IoT Companies in the World. We’ve also written about The Internet of Things Trends of 2019 and familiarized readers with the IoT Security Concerns You Need to Know.
How the Internet of Things is Revolutionizing Healthcare?
Healthcare was one of the first industries to realize the potential of IoT and begin to adopt it. The technology is already bringing benefits to healthcare for both patients and medical staff thanks to a range of cutting-edge IoT medical devices. In this article, we’ll list some important statistics that show just how big an impact IoT is having on the world of medicine.
Benefits of IoT in Healthcare
The implementation of IoT solutions has undoubtedly improved the healthcare industry. In fact, it would be safe to say that IoT has now become one of the most useful tools medical professionals have at their disposal. Read on to see some of the positive impacts this technology has already on patients, medical staff, and hospital administrators.
Benefits for Patients:
Here are some of the positives IoT brings to those in need of medical assistance.
Continuous Monitoring of Medical Conditions
Remote patient monitoring is one of the biggest advancements in the healthcare industry in the past few decades. Patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and cancer can now get wearable or surgically implanted devices that monitor their condition. An IoT smart device can, for instance, constantly monitor diabetics’ blood sugar levels monitored and automatically administering doses of insulin when required.
Automatic Transmission and Analysis of Data
IoT medical devices can transmit the patient data they gather automatically, which makes them indispensable diagnostic tools. For example, patients suffering from heart disease can wear a smart device that monitors their condition while they perform their normal daily tasks. This device provides doctors with all the data necessary to properly diagnose and treat those conditions.
Patients can contact their doctors for a consultation without ever leaving the comfort of their home, as the doctor has real-time access to all the essential data. Smart medical devices that enable this type of patient care will become more common in the coming years.
Automatic reminders for medication and appointments are a true game-changer, especially for elderly patients. These devices can make forgetful patients’ lives much easier.
Benefits for Medical Staff:
Medical professionals can do their jobs more efficiently and effectively thanks to IoT healthcare devices. Here are some of the benefits IoT tech has brought them.
Easy Access to Patients’ Medical History
As the Internet of Medical Things grows, it will become easier for doctors to treat new patients. Transferring from another hospital or, even worse, another country used to cause a lot of problems when medical records were all kept on paper. But with smart technology, doctors can share vital medical information safely and securely.
Easy Access to Patients’ (or Devices’) Location
Another important use of this technology in geriatric care is equipment tracking. It’s common for patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia to become confused and get lost. If they’re wearing a smart device, however, it’s much easier to locate them. Medical professionals can ensure people’s safety thanks to patient tracking.
Quicker and More Accurate Diagnoses
Even the best doctors can misdiagnose a patient. Luckily, some smart devices run complex algorithms that can detect abnormalities, reducing the chance of human error in medical treatment.
Benefits for Non-Medical Staff (Management and I.T.):
The Internet of Things benefits all healthcare departments, even the non-medical ones. Here are some examples of how managerial and IT departments use this technology to optimize their workflow:
Analysis and Control of Resource Consumption
Every hospital administration in the world wants to cut costs. By using IoT, administrators can track the use of both medical and non-medical resources. For example, hospital management can track and analyze the consumption of electricity and decide which parts of the facility need more or less heating, cooling, or lighting. This goes to show that IoT in healthcare isn’t only about doctors and patients.
Security and Protection
As with home security systems, hospitals around the world are starting to rely more and more on IoT security and protection devices. Smart alarms, motion sensors, and camera systems are being implemented to increase the safety of patients and staff members alike.
One of the other great advantages of IoT is that it can help prevent fatal equipment failures. IoT healthcare networks automatically share the data they’ve gathered. That includes information on any bugs or hardware failures, which makes life a lot easier much for the maintenance team. By identifying failures in advance, devices can protect themselves – and patients – from harm.
Fast Data Transfer
The ability to quickly send or receive patient data can sometimes make the difference between life and death. Having quick access to essential data, such as disease history and allergies, has become the norm with connected healthcare.
One of the most cost-effective IoT benefits for hospital administrators is automation. Some processes lend themselves easily and cheaply to automation, which reduces hospitals’ need for staff. Buying and maintaining a cleaning robot that resembles a Roomba is far cheaper than paying a full-time janitor’s salary.
Smart Medical Devices: Internet of Things Examples
Millions of people around the world have grown to depend on medical IoT devices. People who used to need constant care for their conditions can now get by in the comfort of their own home, while medical professionals monitor their health remotely. Here are 10 examples of these devices and the illnesses they help with, as well as the companies that manufacture them:
Apple Watch and Parkinson’s disease
Apple, the highest-valued company in the world, has introduced the Movement Disorder API to the Apple Watch. This means the watch can now keep an eye out for early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Are wearables IoT? Well, they are connected to the internet, and they share data with other devices, so the answer to this question is yes. Used properly in healthcare, smartwatches can help with the early detection of debilitating diseases.
Google Smart Contact Lenses and Diabetes
Believe it or not, even some contact lenses are connected to the internet these days. The concept of smart contact lenses was an optimistic one; this new medical technology was designed to measure tear glucose levels, allowing diabetics to track blood glucose levels. Google partnered up with Novartis for the project, but the suggested method of glucose monitoring was quickly discarded as untrustworthy by researchers.
The company has since changed the smart lenses’ purpose to treating eye defects, such as long-sightedness and cataracts.
Sensimed, a company based in Switzerland, is working on a similar project: glaucoma prevention through automatic monitoring of the dimensions of the eye.
Proteus Digital Health Ingestible Sensors and Hypertension, Diabetes, and Mental Health
A World Health Organization study has found that around half of all prescribed medication is not taken as per doctors’ instructions. Proteus Digital Health has been working hard to reduce that figure. The company is trying to achieve this goal by producing pills that dissolve in the stomach and send a weak signal to an external sensor. This information then pings users’ mobile app, confirming that they followed the proper consumption directions.
What makes this one of the most impressive items on our IoT healthcare devices list is the variety of patients these sensors can help. Everybody from patients with hypertension or type 2 diabetes to those taking antipsychotics could benefit.
CYCORE and Cancer
Presented in 2018 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, the CYCORE system consists of a Bluetooth-enabled weight scale, a blood pressure monitor, and an app that tracks the patient’s symptoms to gather data and send daily reports to the oncologist, who can alter the treatment as needed.
Users of this wearable technology reported less severe cancer-related symptoms than those who visited their doctor weekly with no remote monitoring.
CGMs and Diabetes
Smart continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) have been used in the U.S.A. since 1999. Devices like Eversense and FreeStyle Libre track wearers’ blood sugar levels and transmit them to a smart device, such as a phone, tablet, or watch. The devices can then detect spikes and dips in blood sugar and administer medication accordingly.
These types of remote patient monitoring devices are extremely helpful for parents with diabetic children and or those caring for elderly patients.
Insulin Pens and Diabetes
By connecting to the patient’s phone using a smartphone app, newer models of insulin pens record data on when each dose is administered, the type of insulin used, and the quantity of the insulin injected. This data helps doctors determine parameters for future use, increasing the overall effectiveness of the treatment.
The most popular smart insulin pen devices include products like Gocap, InPen, CLIPSULIN, and NovoPen.
Smart Inhalers and Asthma
Smart inhalers share a lot in common with smart devices for diabetes management. Both provide patients with more insight into their conditions, gain more control over their symptoms, and get better results from their treatment.
Propeller Health is one of the biggest smart inhaler technology developers in the U.S.A. This company doesn’t make inhalers, but rather the sensors that attach to them. Sensors connect to the user’s smartphone app and track the use of the inhaler. Smart inhalers have been shown to improve patients’ use of the device by helping them to follow their doctor’s orders.
Smart Monitors and Asthma
ADAMM smart asthma monitor is just what it sounds like: a wearable smart device that detects and monitors asthma attacks. Its main purpose is to recognize the earliest symptoms of an asthma attack and give the wearer a head start before things get serious. The device vibrates to notify the wearer, and can also send simultaneous notifications to other people.
In addition to the early detection of asthma attacks, ADAMM also tracks inhaler usage like other smart inhalers.
Bluetooth-enabled Coagulation System
The first smart device for those prone to blood clotting disorders appeared on the market in 2016. Roche created a device that allowed patients to self-administer a test that identifies whether they are at risk of stroke or bleeding.
Like other devices on this list, Roche’s system also transmits data to the patient’s healthcare provider, reducing the need for in-person visits.
SmartPill and GI Disorders
Developed by Medtronic, SmartPill is an ingestible smart capsule that monitors gastrointestinal health by measuring the time it takes to go through, as well as temperature, pressure, and pH levels. This one simple test provides valuable diagnostic information on the entire gastrointestinal tract.
The pill is used to test and treat patients with chronic constipation, idiopathic and diabetic gastroparesis, and functional non-ulcer dyspepsia.
Internet of Things Statistics for Healthcare
The Internet of Things has had a huge impact on the healthcare industry over the past few years. But don’t take our word for it; we’ll let these statistics do the talking.
- The global market size of the Internet of Things in healthcare was $147.1 billion in 2018.
Last year, the global IoT healthcare market was over $147 billion. This is a huge increase from $21.7 billion in 2014, and IoT analytics show the biggest growth has yet to begin.
- The global market size of IoT in healthcare is expected to exceed $500 billion by 2025.
Experts predict that the industry’s global market size will reach $534.3 billion by 2025, expanding more than 3.5 times from its current value.
- 60% of medical organizations have adopted IoT services.
Almost a third of all medical organizations in the world have already adopted healthcare IoT technology.
- 73% of healthcare organizations use IoT for monitoring and maintenance.
Most healthcare organizations use IoT to monitor their patients. However, the technology can also help with equipment monitoring and maintenance.
According to Becker’s, IoT patient monitors are used in 64% of healthcare organizations in the 20 countries surveyed. Second on the list are energy meters, which are used in 56% of facilities.
- 87% of healthcare organizations will have adopted IoT solutions by the end of 2019.
By the end of this year, wearables and other types of IoT devices are expected to become the norm in healthcare in developed nations. It’s expected that 87% of healthcare organizations will implement some form of IoT services in their day-to-day operations.
- Autobed helped reduce wait times for 50% of patients.
Thanks to GE Healthcare’s Autobed, wait times for 50% of patients who required an inpatient bed in emergency departments across the U.S. were reduced.
Even though it sounds like it belongs in the smart beds category, AutoBed is actually a software solution.
- 89% of healthcare organizations have experienced an IoT security breach.
We’re already familiar with the security threats associated with IoT devices. In fact, we’ve already dedicated an entire blog post to the issue.
Of course, security is extremely important for health organizations, and especially those using IoT technology. However, with 89% having had a negative experience with security, healthcare data breaches are much more common than similar issues in other industries.
- 80% of IoT users in the healthcare industry cite innovation as the primary benefit.
Becker’s surveyed health professionals across 20 countries, with 80% of respondents identifying innovation as the primary benefit of IoT.
- Increased workforce productivity and reduced costs are the most predicted future benefits.
When asked about the future of IoT in healthcare and the benefits they expect to reap, those who are already using the technology are split down the middle. Roughly half say the greatest future benefit will be increased workforce productivity, while a similar number of people believe cost saving is the answer.
- The U.S.A. could save $175 billion on healthcare by halving administrative costs.
By cutting administrative costs in half, the U.S.A. could save $175 billion in healthcare costs every year. This is according to an IoT healthcare case study by the International Journal of Current Trends in Engineering & Research.
Nowadays, we’re surrounded by IoT devices almost all the time. Our phones, watches, doorbells, cars; almost everything can now be connected to the internet to make our everyday lives easier.
People who live far from their doctor or have limited mobility can now get the best possible healthcare remotely. Parents can monitor their children’s health conditions and carers can ensure that their elderly patients are getting the treatment they need. This is all thanks to IoT healthcare. We can’t wait to see what more this technology has in store.
Written By: Ana Bera