According to Gartner, it is estimated that 14.2 billion connected things will be used in 2019 and this number will reach 25 billion by the year 2021. Business Insider Intelligence has predicted that $2.5 trillion will be spent on healthcare industry in the next five years. In view of these trends, experts have predicted that 87% healthcare industry will adopt IoT. IoT has expanded the world of connected things and 161 million devices will be used in hospitals, clinics, and medical offices by 2020. Let’s delve deeper into the concept of IoT before we move on to Internet of Medical Things or IoMT.
IoT enabled device consists of the following elements:
- A sensor or a device
- Connecting unit
- Data Processing unit
- User Interface
The sensor helps in retrieving data or necessary information from the environment. This data includes temperature in the surrounding area, distance, and time to name a few. Subsequently, the data or information is sent to the cloud with the help of a wired or wireless connection. Wired connections take place through Ethernet cables whereas wireless communications are through Bluetooth, WI-FI, Satellite Communication, etc.
The next step comprises of using Machine Learning or decision-making algorithms that yield the requested output by processing the data retrieved.
Lastly, the user interface comes into picture and the output is sent to the end-user. Typically, the interface resembles an app on mobile devices, tablet, and PC.
With that said, we shall now understand the numerous challenges prevalent in the healthcare industry:
- Prompt diagnosis of diseases and avoiding mortality due to delayed treatment.
- Health monitoring and caring
- Difficult diagnostic techniques
- Creation of a conducive environment for the patient
- Maintenance of accurate measurements and medical diagnostics
- Identifying data loss and optimization
How IoT Metamorphoses the Healthcare Industry?
It is intriguing to know that 8.5% of the global population is aged 65 or more. This figure is expected to reach 17% by 2050. Moreover, global life expectancy is estimated to increase by eight years approximately. It has seen a surge from 68.6 years in 2015 to 76.2 years in 2050. There has been a dramatic increase in the occurrence of chronic diseases and conditions, owing to which the present healthcare industry will have to enhance its technologies. Everyone is looking forward to better healthcare services. Consequently, it has become incumbent upon the healthcare professionals to overcome the challenges and ensure a pleasant experience for the patients.
Here’s how IoT will transform the healthcare industry:
- Digital Advancement in Healthcare
Over the next 10 years, it is predicted that the number of connected medical devices will increase from 10 billion to 50 billion. According to Cisco, an IoT device will create a huge data pool of 847 Zettabytes (ZB) per year. With IoT, human-oriented data such as medical history, medication allergy, results of the laboratory tests and personal information will be digitized to be a part of electronic health initiative. Healthcare professionals will be able to make better decisions pertaining to patient care by understanding the myriad of big data available from the connected systems.
- Machine Learning for Healthcare Practitioners
Machine Learning (ML) helps to achieve Artificial Intelligence (AI) wherein algorithms are used for analysis of data and deriving conclusions through it. Healthcare providers and device makers are connecting AI with IoT to build better medical applications and devices. This will pave new avenues for person-centric care for patients, hospitals, and the healthcare industry. Consequently, the healthcare treatments will get more proactive instead of being preventive.
A great example of AI-enabled medical IoT application is an autonomous “nurse”. This technology has the capability to resolve the questions of the patients as it has access to the Internet and an enormous amount of data. The robotic nurse will also be able to determine the patient’s mood with the help of the facial recognition feature. Accordingly, it will adapt its behaviour and reaction. Moreover, these bots will help the patients remember to take the medication and an appointment with the doctor. It is a great achievement to incorporate this technology in hospitals and have robotic nurses who can communicate with the patients and help nurses with their routine job that includes administration of medicines, maintenance of records and making the patients understand about their health issue. Having these autonomous nurses will be of great help in cases when the nurses are overburdened beyond the human potential.
Another example is of WCE (Wireless Capsule Endoscopy) that implies that the patient is asked to swallow a small capsule camera to record the patient’s internal organs. Such a diagnostic procedure is extremely valuable in warranting diagnostic accuracy as it can even capture the parts of the gastrointestinal tract or internal bleeding in that area which is difficult to visualize using conventional diagnostic methods. The additional advantage of WCE is high patient compliance as it is a painless procedure.
Laser sensor based applications and connectivity module can guarantee accuracy in measuring distance, which is especially useful in replacement surgeries or implantations.
We can look forward to noticing a transformation in the way patients are examined and treated. With machines sharing the responsibility of humans, it will be possible to have an exclusive approach for each patient.
- Reinvention of new Possibilities for Telehealth
Remote health monitoring or Telehealth is getting quite common nowadays. Patients are more comfortable when healthcare facility is provided to them at home. IoT has made it viable to have a huge range of biosensors and medical wearable’s which in turn provides the doctors with data from their remote patients. Access to this data helps to detect patterns and get information about the patient’s prognosis. IoT, Big Data, and Analytics Software have helped to achieve all these far-fetched dreams.
There has been a dramatic change in the way healthcare industry functions. All thanks to the technological advancements and the adaptability of the patients as well as health care personnel who have accepted the usage of medical IoT devices for their health needs. It ensures better treatment prognosis with competitive solutions. IoT has considerably enhanced the patient experience through better management of diseases as well as medicines. Have you noticed a shift in the way healthcare was being offered? Do share your experiences with us. We would look forward to hearing from you.