How IoT is Influencing Healthcare

How IoT is Influencing Healthcare

 

 

The Internet of Things or IoT, by definition, is a technology that connects multiple devices to create a network much like the internet. Over the past decade this technology has been applied to many fields, but none more vital than healthcare. In healthcare the application of IoT is quite versatile, covering quite a few aspects of healthcare including patient care and supporting doctors and other medical professionals. While IoT has the ability to save millions of lives as part of the healthcare industry’s technical complement, it is not without drawbacks. So, let us take a look at some of the things that IoT could revolutionize in healthcare and the challenges it could pose.

 

 

IoT and Healthcare Monitoring

Today there are several devices, wearable or otherwise that are being used for monitoring several aspects of the human body. From our heartbeat rate to the ph levels in our blood sweat and urine, the traditional hands-on methods of diagnosing are way behind us. We can do a lot of monitoring on our own using these devices. The monitoring devices also serve as a vital tool for doctors to keep track of their patients’ health when they are in the hospital as well as after they are discharged. With IoT such devices can now be connected and provide medical professionals with all the data might require often in a compiled manner so they have access to every aspect of it. Furthermore, these devices when connected could come in handy during emergencies such as heart attacks or strokes by relaying the information to emergency services and facilitating the dispatch of necessary vehicles and personnel.

IoT in Medical Research

With monitoring technology growing exponentially at a steady rate, research has become considerably effective and more fruitful. Using the data received from patients and healthy test subjects, researchers can now craft medical solutions more effectively with a minimal chance of failure or side effects. IoT helps to enhance this process by facilitating the collection of data in real time and allowing it to be analyzed immediately, irrespective of the patients’ location. When it comes to drug testing, mobile IoT applications keep track of the patients’ behavior and body vitals while intimating them to take their medicine on time and double checking whether they have actually done so.

Enhancing Infrastructure Management

IoT’s application in the actual healthcare process has been quite useful so far. But, another aspect of healthcare where IoT is applied is infrastructure and budget management. Healthcare has always been an expensive affair and all the technological updates that the industry has had so far have only complicated things. IoT to this end helps out by analyzing all the infrastructural needs of an institution based on patient population, the frequency of consultations and the effectiveness of treatment imparted. Furthermore, healthcare facilities are now capable of accessing patient information and helping them out remotely using the connected devices, which saves a lot of time on infrastructure. Most services that can be offered remotely are surely bound to help ease the financial burden both for the healthcare providers as well as the patients.

Inventory management is also done using IoT today and this is proving to be an effective method of managing resources for healthcare institutions as well as pharmaceutical dispensaries. Keeping track of all the medical supplies that are dispensed to patients is by no means an easy task no matter. For large scale facilities, this is an even bigger issue due to the volume of cases they deal with and the frequency of emergency cases among them. Lack of proper monitoring could also lead to overcharging patients for supplies that had not been used on them.

The Roadblocks

Today there are several factors that pose a challenge for the healthcare community while implementing IoT as part of their service module. Most of these stem from the fact that the healthcare sector is not yet quite familiar with the technology and its use hasn’t spread across the globe as with other verticals such as retail.

Security

In the digital age, security is an issue everywhere and for an industry like healthcare where the healthcare data of millions if not billions of people are stored, the fallout could be drastic. It is estimated that a very high percentage of connected devices in the healthcare sector has been exposed and are extremely vulnerable to threats. According to experts the reason for this is the lack of understanding of IoT and its requirements by the top management of the healthcare centers. Most healthcare facilities tend to overestimate their own infrastructures and their capabilities and become oblivious to the actual things needed to support connected devices.

Multiple Device Integration

For IoT to function effectively in a healthcare system it is prudent for the integration of multiple devices functioning on a myriad of different platforms including mobile. Since IoT is a relatively new addition to healthcare, there is a lack of uniformity in protocols and regulations applied by various device makers which can lead to discord on a large scale. This is an issue that exacerbates the use of IoT in healthcare.

Scalability

For IoT and supporting devices to grow in the healthcare sector, the application of this technology must achieve a global level. The only issue here is that, today we are not even close to this scale. Many countries developed and developing alike still use primitive healthcare tools especially when it comes to patient data and medical records. This could stunt the growth of IoT to a great extent.

Conclusion

IoT undoubtedly has been a vital technology for healthcare. Its use have allowed doctors and patients to co-ordinate better and has also sped up the healthcare delivery system in countries where it is employed on a comprehensive level. But, its various shortcomings, most of which could be attributed to the lack of expertise and exposure to the technology, are the cause for some serious concerns. Security in particular is a menacing issue that needs to be resolved immediately. The good news here is that various IoT companies and the various governments are trying to coordinate to bring their respective healthcare systems up-to-date.

How Big Data is Revolutionizing Healthcare

How Big Data is Revolutionizing Healthcare

The healthcare industry is by no means a vertical that is to be taken lightly. Ask any medical practitioner and they will tell you that the nerve-wracking moments that they go through every day in the OR and ER are not for the faint-hearted (no pun intended). Beyond the life or death situations that the industry has become so well accustomed to, there are several processes that revolve around the pre and post-treatment phases. Given the ever-growing population today there is a dire need for a system that will help ease these processes and allow some room for medical support staff to work with. This is where Big Data comes in. In an age where data governs most aspects of human activity, there is a lot that big data can offer to the healthcare sector.

Big Data in Healthcare Research

The amount of data collected during healthcare treatments and procedures is a gold mine for researchers. Apart from the data collected in hospitals, there are several other means through which data can be gathered. The basic devices we use today such as the heartbeat monitor, the calorie counter, and so on, most of which are either available or integrated into our smartphones. Such data once analyzed could be transmitted to various medical institutions where professionals could arrive at diagnosis and treatments for various potential and incipient ailments. The vast amount of data from various sources allows medical professionals to perform a comparative analysis of various different symptoms displayed by each of them.This could in turn aid in the creation of a more comprehensive treatment. This also keeps doctors updated on whatever ailments they are dealing with and will not be left in the dark when they stumble upon a new symptom.

big data technologies in healthcare

Healthcare Records

One of the most difficult tasks after the treatment process is maintaining patients’ records. Again the massive population today make things infinitely difficult for professionals that maintain records. Even countries with well-established healthcare systems face issues related to this more often than one would care to anticipate in such a field. Mistakes in records have ranged from financial irregularities to complications in treatments and medication given. To resolve this big data has proven to be quite an effective tool. However, this is a process that is easier said than done, as integrating Electronic Healthcare Records into any healthcare systems is quite a daunting task with various drawbacks of its own. The benefits of EHRs far outweigh the efforts many institutions have to go through to adopt them.

There are several efforts being made by many countries to make this a mandatory part of the global healthcare community. Doing so would allow healthcare to be delivered more smoothly. Furthermore, such a system would allow doctors to get better insights on patients who were previously receiving treatment in other institutions or countries.

Clinical Trials

Big data plays a huge role in modernizing many of the methods in which clinical trials are carried out and allow researchers to get the most out of the data acquired therein. Big Data is used to pick the most suitable candidates for the trials. The desired traits that researchers are looking for are sorted out using big data. Likewise, the effectiveness of medication and the areas that they are most likely to affect are also determined using big data. Big data has been used a great deal in finding a cure for the so-far unconquerable cancer.

Wearable Healthcare Devices

There is no deficiency of wearable devices today that are capable of doing a great many things that would ‘make our lives easier’. From blood pressure to heartbeat there is a device you can wear in some form or the other that can monitor each and every one of your bodily functions. These devices are capable to transmit data directly to doctors or the institutions they represent. With advancements in IoT and automation, in the near future, it is quite possible we could have these devices connect with other publicly available healthcare automatons.

Data Security

With cybersecurity being the menace which it is today, data vulnerability is an issue that plagues every industry and healthcare, in particular, could incur huge losses on all levels. It is hard to imagine the horrors that could be unleashed if personal medical and insurance records are hacked, not to mention payment details such as credit cards associated with them. Big data is the key here and quite often could play an instigating role in the data breaches rather than dissuade them. So ultimately when it comes to records big data is a technology that the healthcare industry must tread carefully with.

IBM Watson

The application of IBM Watson in the healthcare sector was quite a revolutionary step. The AI which uses big data to derive various solutions. IBM Watson uses natural language processing and machine learning to help healthcare institutions arrive at the most optimal treatment for the symptoms that patients may display. Watson has access to a comprehensive database of medical records pertaining to previous treatments, clinical trials, personal updates from physicians and researchers on various ailments and so on. While there is a certain margin of error with the diagnosis and hypothesis provided by Watson, it predicts the level of success in the treatment based on that data as well. This is quite a useful tool which in the hands of a seasoned physician could be leveraged to a successful degree.

Conclusion

Big Data today brings a lot of promise for the healthcare sector. In the years to come, there are various possibilities that could be brought to life through the use of big data. However, it potential for security threats and so on is something that we must all be cautious of before jumping fully into the technological development bandwagon. This, as a matter of fact, is a risk that most healthcare sector leaders are well aware of and are to a certain degree prepared to address with caution. Only time will tell how much this seemingly life-changing technology could come to influence our lives.

 

Man doctor with mobile phone

How Is Mobility In Healthcare Changing The Face Of Patient Care?

Mobility is rapidly gaining grounds across diverse sectors. When it comes to the healthcare sector, there’s simply no denying the significance of mobility solutions. With ever-increasing number of individuals suffering from serious ailments such as cardiac diseases, stress, and diabetes, the need, and demand for effective healthcare have shot up considerably.

It is here that technology plays a vital role. By creating endless opportunities for both patients and medical experts, tech innovations lead towards better intensive and provisional care. With mobile innovations and enterprise mobility revolutionizing every crucial sector, the medical service industry isn’t quite far away from its effects.

How is mobility in healthcare changing the face of patient care

Statistical insights

Stats have shown that the Smartphone is perhaps the most popular device used by doctors apart from the stethoscope. Another statistics reveals that a whopping 30% of Smartphone owners will use wellness applications by the end of 2015.

Statistics also suggest that 1 out of every 3 people will have health applications on their Smartphones. Quite naturally, that speaks a lot about the significance of mobility solutions in healthcare. With feature-rich Smartphones and devices with them, patients will enjoy access to the best treatments.

How is it bringing about the change?

Mobility Solutions revolutionize the healthcare sector in ways more than one. From facilitating patient care and clinical collaborations to hospital administrations, mobility solutions leave remarkable impacts at various stages in healthcare. The following points will help you develop a better idea.

  • Emergency care: Patients can receive effective emergency care assistance whenever they need it the most. Mobility apps will help them stay connected to emergency medical teams.
  • Patient care: From perfect medical administration to patient monitoring, mobility apps will enable successful and amazing patient care services.
  • Hospital management: Mobility solutions are not just for intensive care. Administrative tasks such as billing, insurance claims, and discharge processes are also quite important.

Other than these areas, enterprise mobility is also bringing about crucial changes in other avenues such as clinical collaboration, workforce management, and community care. On that note, it’s high to take a look at its impacts on patient care.

Transforming processes for the better

When it comes to offering the best treatments to patients, mobility solutions make things easier for medical professionals, doctors, and practitioners. From intensive care to post-operative healthcare guidelines, mobility solutions support every stage and process. Some of its impacts include:

  1. Reductions in operational expenses: Both practitioners and patients do not have to bear the brunt of operational expenses.
  2. Healthcare on the go: Even if you are travelling, mobility apps will keep you informed about your health goals and food habits.
  3. Real-time monitoring: Whether it’s a special symptom or disease you have or the dietary practices, healthcare mobility apps will offer real-time monitoring of your ailments as well as food habits.
  4. Smooth connections: With highly functional mobility apps, you won’t face difficulties while connecting to your doctor or the insurance agent.

Parting thoughts

In a nutshell, mobility solutions in healthcare have emerged as crucial necessities and not just a trend. Let’s see what the future has in store for these solutions!

Great Patient Experience With Mobile Apps

Healthcare, for most part is defined as the practice in medicine and public health. However, in recent years, it is an industry that has been fast growing and projected to reach the 26 billion dollar mark by the year 2017. As of today, more than 97,000 health and fitness related apps can be downloaded from app stores of iOS and Android. The penetration of smart devices has not just narrowed down the gap between healthcare and patients but has also been helping medical professionals transform several aspects of clinical practice. According to a report by Greatcall, around 52% of smart phone users across the globe use their devices for some kind of health and fitness related information. This ranges from apps that provide information about common problems to first hand feedback about the health of the user.

Research points out that 86% of medical professionals believe that apps have been instrumental in getting more knowledge and feedback about a patient’s conditions. Further, 96% patients say that healthcare apps have been helpful in improving their lifestyle and making them more responsible towards their fitness, diet and other related conditions.

Great patient experience with mobile apps

Mobile technology has been experiencing a high adoption rate and the graph has always been on the steeper side. According to a 2011 survey, the mobile health industry was a $718 million market in the US alone. Across the globe, users have come to accept the role of mobile apps in their health. As such, there are several ways healthcare apps has been benefitting the stakeholders.

Increased medical compliance

Healthcare apps can ensure that patients adhere to prescriptions. Few patients are in the habit of going through or understanding the reports they receive. A mobile platform for the same makes it a lot easier for this dissemination and convenient for the doctors to communicate the needs. From simple things like reminders to take in the routine medicines to timely documentation of results, mobile apps have acted as timekeepers and consultants.

Improved post treatment results

Apps have been a convenient medium for doctors and medical institutions to discharge instructions and cross check prescriptions. Medical accuracy is a matter of patient safety and mobile apps for the same have been showing provoking results. During a discharge, a patient receives a load of information related to post-treatment and after care. Mobile apps can help recall this information more easily.

Patient access to medical information

Put in the simplest way, patients can be their own doctors, especially when lifestyle maintenance and home-care is concerned. Apps like heart rate monitor, calorie burning information, diet control (Carbodroid is a popular example), etc, give patients first hand information about their condition and make them move in the required direction. Further, apps can also act as a database of reports when patients are looking to download information about their tests.

Improve healthcare standards

With so many users having some kind of fitness and health related app on their phones, a lot of information is uploaded on the web. This can give doctors and medical research professional the required data to track and understand the population’s health information in a whole.

To conclude, mobile apps have been a burgeoning area in the healthcare industry and with time, the implications will continue to grow. 

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