A revolution is quietly brewing within the healthcare industry. Internet of things (IoT), that comprises of billions of applications and devices that include microcontrollers, actuators, sensors, nano-pumps, mobile communication devices and several more will be changing the process of healthcare diagnostics, monitoring and treatment. IoT will assist the industry in offering a more personalized, convenient and timely process and reduced costs. In the next five years, IoT will account for more than 5.4 billion machine-to-machine connections globally according to Verizon’s report of State of the Market: The Internet of Things 2015.
IoT is essentially a solution that makes processes:
- Autonomous, wherein data from assets can be transferred and used automatically and seamlessly
- Actionable, wherein data analysis will be an important part of the business process/strategy and
- Aware, wherein the connected assets, helped by data, allows the processes to respond to the environment/surrounding.
Healthcare is such an industry where these three principles hold special significance. Though IoT will make huge changes in the healthcare operations, an equally significant potential exists in the “care” paradigm. Clients/patients are looking for transparent processes that have greater accountability and subsequently an improved healthcare process. IoT will certainly be a crucial tool in the changing landscape of the industry.
Humanization of technology with IoT
Fundamentally, IoT in the healthcare industry will be more about intuitive technologies that are user centric. Supported by tools such as artificial intelligence, IoT will be able to deliver a solution that improves the treatment and patient care process. IoT, can and have been seamlessly integrated into patient’s lives to sense (aware), report (automate) and finally assist a clinical decision making (actionable) depending upon the needs and expectations of the client. Good examples of such technologies lies in futuristic devices like remote monitors, wearable technologies, sensors and implants that support a meaningful integration in the patient’s life.
Patients will no longer be the only ones depending upon the healthcare technologies of the near future. Healthcare providers and nursing teams will depend on IoT solutions and devices that sense are able to sense the patient’s requirements, automate the processes (ensuring a timely delivery) and analyze outcomes to make the “care” process faster and more personalized. Even delivery networks like hospitals will benefit from IoT solutions to reach operational efficiency like tracking personnel movement and reporting.
What does this mean for the technology challenged patients
Here lies another core advantage with the “sensing” technologies. IoT will break the barrier in connecting to tech-challenged patients that have always made it difficult/irrelevant to deploy technology in healthcare. Smart devices and wearable technologies of today are intuitive enough to understand the interactions of a patient with his/her environment and generate feedbacks and reports that help doctors and ‘care’ providers. A better and real-time reporting of patient status will not just boost the confidence of healthcare providers in delivering treatment but also increase the potential of positive output. This ‘humanization’ of technology will offer a better and longer life that we have been dreaming for since a long time now.