The advancement of Internet of Things (IoT) and smart medical technology is continuing to break barriers and enhance patient healthcare. Here are five examples of the ways smart technology is improving healthcare, currently in use today:
Decreased wait times at the emergency room
We’ve all experienced, or at least heard someone else’s experience, of a horrible time waiting for hours in an emergency room. However, hospitals across the country are beginning to apply smart technology and the IoT to improve patient flow. Sharp Chula Vista Hospital in San Diego, CA introduced teletracking GPS-like bracelets to monitor the locations of patients, staff, and equipment. Doctors found that many of the delays came from difficulty locating specific patients, finding certain equipment, or waiting for a room to be cleaned. After launching teletracking, their emergency room wait times decreased from 60+ minutes to less than three minutes. It’s a highly productive system that many other hospitals are seeking to implement.
Remote Health Monitoring (Telemedicine)
One of the most distinct and widely adopted uses of the IoT in healthcare is remote health monitoring — also known as telemedicine or telehealth. In addition to reducing costs and preventing in-person visitations, it eases the burden of travel by sparing patients the inconvenience of commuting to and from an appointment. If someone has restricted mobility or relies on public transportation, this option can make a tremendous difference.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) also enables more patient-provider interaction at a lower cost. Patients are fitted with smart medical devices that transmit data wirelessly, and alert providers of any concerns. Patients can remain at home as long as possible, and potentially avoid the additional cost of nursing facilities and reduce the number of emergency visits. The smart medical devices include home healthcare equipment, like heart monitors and infusion pumps. Medication administration is also supervised with smart technology, so the healthcare provider knows when the patient fails to appropriately take the prescribed medication. Smart technology is improving healthcare and can even detect when a patient has fallen or is injured at home, sending an immediate alert to a caregiver or emergency responder.
Prevention of Critical Equipment Failure
Hospitals require state-of-the-art hardware and software to function smoothly, and they rely on equipment that is used to save human life. These devices are at risk from deteriorating due to age, power outages, or system failures that could result in life or death. Philips’ IoT solution, called e-Alert, intends to solve this problem. Instead of waiting for a device to fail, e-Alert virtually monitors medical equipment and notifies staff ahead of time if detects a problem. This decreases the probability of costly downtime while also reducing the impact on patients.
Enhanced Prescription Monitoring
One of the most impressive breakthroughs in healthcare and IoT involves monitoring your prescription medication intake through a platform called Proteus. It seems like something out of a science fiction novel, but this allows pills to contain tiny sensors which transmit a signal to a patch on your body or a mobile device, which guarantees that you’re taking the right dosage and using it correctly. This allows patients to remember if/when they need to take their medication and can be helpful for doctors when recommending future prescriptions. Patients can view their personal information on a mobile app to manage their intake and improve their habits.
Focusing on Chronic Disease
Recurring health issues are a common problem for many, but significant breakthroughs are being made to treat these issues due to IoT advances. There isn’t one particular application or device that’s responsible for treating chronic disease; it’s a combination of mobile connectivity, wearable technology, and analytics. Smart watches like Fitbit use the IoT to track your individual health. This data can then be shared with your doctor to assist in a solution to your recurring health problems.
Constant Evolution in IoT- Smart Technology is improving healthcare
The IoT could possibly affect every human on the planet at least once during their lives. Its expansion has already dramatically transformed the healthcare industry in the past decade, and it’s certain that it will continue to evolve as technology advances. How far do you think these advances could go? What are your thoughts on how IoT and smart technology is improving healthcare? Share with us on Twitter @LTronCorp.