Living on the go requires quick remote data access, high mobility, and flexibility. These days, the demand for remote healthcare is significant. Patients are expecting to get personalized services, better experience, and improved care. 

Challenges of the healthcare industry

In 2020, C-suite executives of healthcare organizations will continue addressing the challenges caused by the rapid global changes. Digital transformation comes first in strategy planning for the upcoming year. When it comes to evaluating the current situation of the industry, these challenges are of top priority for the medicine of the future:

  1. Incorporating all healthcare initiatives like population health management, remote health monitoring, and others.
  2. Providing a personalized approach and better customer service to retain patients.
  3. Reducing the number of medical errors.
  4. Advancing EHR systems to streamline workflow management and patient care. 
  5. Dealing with disrupting organizations that increase the competition on the market.
  6. Seizing new opportunities offered by innovative technologies. 

Applying the right technology is one of the critical means to solve the current problems of global healthcare. However, the level of technology adoption differs from country to country. The different extent of adoption is mainly caused by diverse regulations, governments’ attitude to the digital transformation of public health services, and allocated budgets for implementing new technologies. 

In this article, we will uncover the benefits of IoT adoption in healthcare and present an excellent example of how this technology implementation contributes to the development of the healthcare industry.

What is medical IoT? Why is it important for healthcare? 

The Internet of Things impacts our lives in different ways. Today, people can control diverse household appliances and machines with their smartphones, drive smart cars providing the shortest routes, or track daily activities with a smartwatch. IoT is a super-intelligent environment, a massive network with connected devices, which collect and share data about how they are used. 

In healthcare, IoT is used to help patients become more connected and clinicians to identify and meet the patient’s needs more efficiently. With data science, AI, and comprehensive data, the potential for personalized preventative care, seamless patient experience, and other innovations is limitless. With modern IoT software solutions, healthcare can improve patients’ lives significantly. Below are more advantages of healthcare IoT.

Benefits of IoT for healthcare

The entire global system of healthcare can be improved with IoT. The usage of smart connected devices can improve the mobility and productivity of medical personnel, speed up patient data processing, reduce error risks, and decrease healthcare costs. Below are the top advantages of IoT implementation for healthcare: 

  • Improved disease management. When patient health is monitored continuously, doctors get real-time data; that’s why diseases can be treated before they get out of hand. 
  • Improved treatment. Connected healthcare solutions and virtual infrastructure provide all the needed data to make an accurate diagnosis for treatment. 
  • Advanced emergency care. Improved automation allows for robust emergency support services.
  • Higher patient engagement. Wearables remind patients to take medicine as prescribed and execute other actions to improve health. 
  • More accurate data. The automated collection of data reduces the number of medical errors. 
  • Decreased healthcare costs. With timely signs and alerts of possible health issues, patients can prevent these issues from arising. 

IoT and healthcare: Areas of applications

The work within the IoT is an excellent boost for humankind. The Internet of Things allows health workers to capture real-time data continuously and get to better patient outcomes. Let’s see how IoT can be used in healthcare. 

IoT-fueled clinical trials are a driving force of Pharma development.

Increasing the accuracy and productivity of clinical research and accelerating the products’ time-to-market stay critical issues for the global Pharmaceutical industry. Innovative technologies allow addressing the challenges and empowering patients to report outcomes of therapy via e-PRO devices (electronic patient-reported outcomes). This method is an alternative to traditional visit-based data capturing. The Internet of Things helps build a robust ecosystem that provides capabilities for remote monitoring, recruiting patients, enhancing medication adherence. Study sites get alternatively new means to collect and process patient data without compromising accuracy. 

The main idea behind the digital transformation for clinical trials lies in engaging patients and undertaking disease research programs by using IoT-powered platforms. 

IoT enabled clinical trials

The usage of IoT solutions can reduce operational expenses, improve the quality of data received within trials, accelerate patient enrollment, and monitor patient data remotely. 

IoT provides the needed interoperability between devices, services, and interfaces in healthcare. 

The Internet of Things can enhance medical services in healthcare centers, hospitals, and homecare by connecting smart devices to a specific network. It is something that motivates people to monitor their health better. Wearables are an affordable tool for collecting data without the need of human disruption, and one of the most popular Internet of Things applications in healthcare. The data captured from the wearables go further to a database that allows for remote monitoring. Such a mechanism of data collection is intended to solve the communication issues between patients and doctors as well as to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and the efficiency of treatment.

To connect diverse resources offered by the IoT technology, it is needed to create a platform that could provide intelligent interfaces, physical devices, and services incompatible with each other. The required interoperability can be reached by creating an interface that doesn’t require users to take care of where their data is stored. The model described is what we call middleware.  

IoT middleware

Usually, middleware works as an intermediary between devices and IoT applications in healthcare. IoT platforms guarantee smooth interaction between providers and consumers, offering such features as interoperability, flexibility, and security.

IoT-powered solutions help deliver emergency medical care services more efficiently.

During emergency transportations, doctors have access to electronic medical records (EMRs). These records are designed to capture, store, and process patient data using the IoT patterns. Below are some of the most popular IoT-based processing systems for enhancing emergency medical care:

  • Crowdsensing-powered detection of road congestion 
  • Federated electronic medical records
  • Medical case files and patient emergency data

Here is how a standard care delivery powered with the medical Internet of Things may look like:

IoT emergency care

The Internet of Things in healthcare helps improve remote patient remote monitoring (RPM).

IoT helps monitor the condition of patients with the help of individual sensors. Sensing devices can monitor and control the health of patients from the moment they arrive at the clinic, collect, and update data about them, without involving medical personnel.

Smart sensors that are used in medical facilities are often located in hospital beds or are worn by patients at home. For example, individual sensors can measure the pressure on the mattress and help to correctly distribute it so that the patient does not have ulcers. Look at what sensors can be used for remote monitoring: 

Remote patient monitoring iot

The data received from sensors is then sent to health facilities and analyzed by doctors to provide appropriate treatment plans. 

Internet of Things healthcare examples: Using IoT for clinical trials

Recently, our team developed a platform for gathering clinical evidence in healthcare, clinical trials in particular. The solution collects biometric data on activity and sleep from participants and transfers it smoothly to sponsors and sites. The platform is a next-gen solution as it allows for remote monitoring with the minimum tech burden on all the stakeholders of a trial. 

The implementation of IoT helped our customers to reach groundbreaking results like reducing the cost and duration of trials, decreasing the set-up time to 5 minutes only, and improving algorithms for activity and sleep. Some researchers have already shown interest in Verisense and started using it for their clinical trials and research. For example, Irish researchers from Letterkenny use the platform to study fatigue caused by breast cancer. As you can see, today, IoT serves as a powerful tool for exploring diseases and helping people fight against them. 

Read more about Verisense here

Top predictions for IoT in healthcare for the next few years

Have you ever wondered how the patients will experience health care and how the clinicians will deliver it in a few years? What role will IoT play in keeping the most critical functions of medical care online? Today, the Internet of Things improves the access of people to quality care and helps clinics reduce costs by monitoring patients, equipment, and staff. However, the possibilities the IoT brings are limitless. 

Delivering healthcare to the patient site is already the best way to collect data, track health, and manage chronic diseases. This data can be integrated into EHRs so that clinicians can monitor patients remotely. Telemedicine will soon become a more common thing. Augmented reality using digital images is one of the hottest IoT technologies today. It can be used to treat addiction and various phobias. Doctors can use AR to learn anatomy or test surgical techniques. 

With the help of AI, computerized machines can mimic human thought processes. Combined with NLP, it can provide clinical decision support. The possibilities of AI are also limitless. Robotics helps doctors perform surgery.
According to Gartner, the IoT in healthcare will feature one of the highest growth rates in 2020. It is predicted that it will grow by 29%. And the main advancements are expected in chronic conditions monitoring. Branessenceresearch says that the healthcare IoT market will be more than $10 billion by 2024. Based on this data, we can see that the Internet of Things and healthcare will go hand in hand with innovation and the global adoption of new technologies.

DICEUS develops intelligent platforms providing secure connectivity with the Internet of Things medical devices. Our solutions can have diverse functionalities interacting smoothly with each other. To make your operations fast and easy, we can integrate cloud platforms with other systems you have. Feel free to consult with our experts, and they will provide you with the best-suited operation scheme for your IoT healthcare solutions.