The IoT (Internet of Things) is rapidly entering every aspect of our lives. From using smart devices to building smart cities, the IoT holds the vast potential of transforming businesses, as well as our lives. The application of IoT on the industrial level is termed Industrial IoT. Also known as Industry 4.0, IIoT is embraced by almost every industry to streamline its operations. This connected technology is no longer confined to manufacturing operations. At present, the healthcare industry is implementing IoT applications to achieve improvement in healthcare facilities, testing, and medication. With IoT, the interactions between doctors and patients are no longer limited to personal visits. The major application of IIoT in healthcare is the use of IoT-enabled devices that allow healthcare professionals to remotely monitor the condition of patients.
IoT refers to any device that uses an internet connection to transmit or collect data, as well as exchange information with other devices. Consumer IoT devices such as Amazon Alexa or smart home appliances are already used by thousands of people. Now with the industrial application of IoT, hospitals and healthcare professionals are exploring IIoT uses to overcome challenges faced by the industry. Several hospitals and clinics have already started the use of connected devices to improve healthcare facilities. IoT in healthcare is not entirely new as some devices such as smart thermostats, automated lighting, security systems, and other sensors are already being used to enhance patient care, comfort and safety. Besides improving healthcare facilities for the patients, IIoT also helps hospital management to ensure smooth functioning.
Applications of IIoT in Healthcare
The Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare has vast potential and its applications can benefit patients, their families, physicians, hospitals, as well as insurance companies. Healthcare-specific IoT devices are not same as the traditional IoT devices. Sometimes, the healthcare-specific medical IoT applications are referred to as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
The medical industry is increasingly using connected devices to monitor health vitals, get alerts, oversee medications, and automate critical processes. All these connected medical devices help in improving efficiency, ensuring accuracy, reducing costs, meet compliance requirements. Here are the top IIoT applications that are transforming the healthcare sector.
IIoT for Patients
The most widely used application of IoT is a remote patient monitoring system that allows physicians to monitor patients’ vitals remotely and take prompt actions to save lives in event of a medical emergency like heart failure, asthma attacks, and more. Smart medical devices are connected to a smartphone app that collects health data and delivers this information to the doctor. The wearable IoT devices like blood pressure and heart rate monitoring cuffs and glucometer can gather health data such as blood pressure, oxygen, and blood sugar levels, ECGs, and more. Doctors and even insurance companies use this data to provide remote medical assistance. In addition to this, wearables like fitness bands can also alert patients about appointments, calorie count, exercise checks, etc. The remote monitoring application is immensely beneficial for old-age patients who need to keep a track of health conditions. An alert is sent to the family member and healthcare provider when a change in the normal health condition is detected.
IIoT for Doctors and Hospitals
Remote monitoring not only helps patients get timely treatment but also makes data analysis easier for physicians. Analyzing data collected manually from multiple devices can be tedious and prone to human error. But with IoT-enabled devices, physicians gather data, reports, and analyses. This helps in taking quick decisions that are less prone to errors. IoT healthcare applications help physicians practice, prevent, and diagnose medicine more easily. With real-time data, it becomes easier to track present conditions, as well as analyze past treatments and diagnoses of a patient. This helps in providing accurate treatment without the possibility of error. Improved services result in the satisfaction of the patients.
Besides doctors, IIoT also helps hospitals to connect with patients proactively. Healthcare clinics and hospitals are using IoT-enabled devices for improving their services. The sensors help in tracking the real-time location of medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders, wheelchairs, nebulizers, and other monitoring equipment. It also helps the hospital management to track staff and deploy nurses and technicians at different locations. Moreover, IIoT is used for maintaining hygiene, as well as pharmacy inventory control.