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Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing to gain popularity, particularly in the sphere of healthcare. The benefits of IoT wearable devices for healthcare are numerous. They are helpful for transitioning from reactive to predictive medicine, especially for chronic conditions. Chronic patients are significantly more likely to visit the emergency rooms and are more likely to receive long-term medical care because they are unable to proactively manage their illnesses and keep up with their care plan. By integrating IoT wearable devices in cases like these, doctors can monitor patients and provide them with more comprehensive care. This ability to remotely monitor patients using the IoT will allow for great improvements to patient care and healthcare operations as a whole.
A study was recently conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) involving 357 patients with head and neck cancer. One group of these patients used a Bluetooth-powered blood pressure cuff and a mobile app to track their symptoms – researchers observed fewer severe symptoms among these patients whose conditions were monitored regularly. These diagnostic devices can provide continuous monitoring and prevent symptoms from worsening.
Most Commonly used Medical Devices in Hospitals
Medical devices that are used in IoT applications in medical facilities fall into three main groups:
Wearable IoT Devices
The first group is wearable devices, which include devices that monitor blood pressure, EMG temperatures, blood glucose, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. A wearable medical device can collect data on physiological and biochemical parameters, which is crucial in cases of patients with chronic illnesses or those who need to track a specific physical activity.
Implantable IoT Devices
The second group is implantable devices that can provide support for certain vital organs and simultaneously monitor vital signs. Implantable systems can replace missing biological structures, sustain damaged biological systems or improve existing biological structures. This category includes the implantable infusion pump, cardiac pacemaker implants, and neurostimulators, as well as glucose monitoring devices or smart pills. Implantable devices are often used by patients with chronic diseases or elderly patients.
Medical Monitoring and Control Devices
The third group is electronic devices that monitor medical equipment conditions, machine learning, treatment plans, and other healthcare services that are not directly related to real-time health monitoring. These connected medical devices may include asset trackers, humidity/temperature/occupancy monitoring sensors, or analytic tools based on artificial intelligence. This type of connected device allows clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities to have better data security, lower operational costs, more quickly process collected data, and improve regulatory compliance.
How Can Wearables Benefit the Healthcare Industry?
Internet of Things (IoT) in medical and healthcare simplifies physiological data collection, monitors the intensity of human physical activities, improves medical treatments, among other advantages. Healthcare technologies using IoT, especially wearable technology, can help medical practitioners follow IoT trends in healthcare and also optimize remote monitoring care for the global population. With IoT in the healthcare industry, care providers can automate regular analyzing processes, and be able to pay more attention to the important things that require human intervention.
Wearables collect large amounts of data that help the physician determine the correlation between health conditions to be dealt with efficiently. Heart disease treatment has benefitted from the study and monitoring of fitness data by wearable trackers. This system lets physicians monitor the daily intake, calories, and daily activity of patients and can instantly store the data of patients on medical records and online databases. These devices can help health organizations collaborate remotely to simplify and improve healthcare processes.
Better Access to Patients’ Health
Smart healthcare IoT devices can help doctors and surgeons improve their performance by collecting and analyzing health data remotely. When connected to the cloud, IoT devices can provide real-time insights into various symptoms. Moreover, the technology can allow remote care. For example, IoT-enabled hygiene devices can be activated when a patient’s health condition is compromised. By providing accurate and timely information to healthcare professionals, IoT technology in healthcare can reduce errors and increase patients’ confidence in the quality of their care.
Better Patients’ Medical Compliance
With remote patient monitoring devices and healthcare IoT applications, chronic patients can better comply with healthcare providers’ prescriptions. By ensuring that medication is taken regularly, healthcare providers can control the changes in conditions of their patients more objectively and effectively in terms of treatment. Wearable technology can help patients in a number of ways, including providing regular notifications for medications they are taking. Additionally, wearables can constantly track vital patient data and, based on the data collected, a smart device can send reminders for pills based on glucose levels or application of necessary inhalations.
Smart healthcare using IoT can even help simplify diagnosing. By allowing patients to self-diagnose their own health conditions, IoT healthcare solutions can help hospitals reduce the costs associated with their care. IoT in healthcare can provide the right insight to make more justified decisions about a particular treatment based on patient data collected. It can also reduce the healthcare costs spent on payments for additional visits to the healthcare providers, as well as costs for on-site healthcare services. With the ability to diagnose patients remotely, healthcare will be more optimized and responsive.
Quicker Reaction of Healthcare Providers
The main impact of IoT in healthcare is the facilitation of processes. By using IoT technology, doctors can monitor the health of patients in real-time. In some cases, IoT wearable devices will send messages to other IoT devices for further analysis or data storage. For example, if someone has an infection, they can quickly contact the healthcare provider by pressing a button, which will enable contact trackers and alert other patients and medical staff in the building. The health industry will benefit from this information since it can help reduce the cases of internal epidemics in healthcare institutions as well as reduce danger for patients. Additionally, if a patient is undergoing surgery, IoT devices will be useful to track the progress of their condition and send reminders for the administering of oxygen or other medications. These wearable IoT devices can monitor even the smallest deviations from the norm, and provide all the necessary information to take quick action, if necessary.
With the introduction of IoT wearable devices, doctors can monitor a patient’s heart rate, glucometer readings, calorie count, and other vital signs. This information can help doctors better manage patients’ health and safety. It can also help doctors monitor the compliance of medications with treatment plans. With IoT solutions, healthcare is more efficient, user-friendly, and advanced.
What is the State of the Healthcare Wearable Market Today?
Currently, the wearable technology market is expanding progressively. A lot of large and global companies create wearable devices for the healthcare sector to improve patients’ and clinicians’ experiences. With a largely untapped market, it is essential for players to develop and market new products. The major players in the market are global companies like Apple Inc., Samsung, Fitbit, and even Philips. For example, with its recent acquisition of a health-tech company, Apple Inc. has secured a dominant position in the global healthcare wearable market. Another example of an IoT device is the medication dispensing service of Philips, which automatically dispenses medication in pre-filled cups. The companies are strengthening their market positions through various strategic collaborations and partnerships.
Besides this, there are several niche wearable markets that are predicted to flourish in the near future, including glucose-measuring and blood pressure devices. These wearables have the potential to monitor a person’s health from anywhere, making them an excellent solution for people with chronic diseases.
The recent IoT in healthcare case study by McKinsey Global Institute shows that the wearable market is projected to hit $30 billion in 2027, with the number of wearable devices expected to reach more than 1 trillion by 2022. This is an exponential growth rate, which will require proper security measures. As a result, the healthcare industry needs to be prepared for these changes and adapt quickly. It is necessary to invest in a secure and reliable system that can support the use of wearable technology in the future.