IoT stands for Internet of Things and refers to objects or devices that are connected to the web and capable of collecting and exchanging data. As you’d expect, that data is stored, analyzed and shared via the internet.
If you’re wondering what it has to do with the healthcare industry, IoT essentially makes things more efficient. Healthcare data can save time, physical energy and operating costs. And due to the nature of IoT, it can be extremely useful in the healthcare industry.
How does any of it improve the medical industry? Patient records, on-site resources and billing paperwork can all be stored in the cloud. This makes the content accessible from anywhere both to clients and healthcare professionals. It’s not difficult to imagine why this would be more convenient and accessible than a traditional paper trail.
And that’s just one example out of many. The Medical Internet of Things includes systems such as wearables, central monitoring platforms, asset management tools and more.
There are several other ways IoMT is being used, offering benefits galore as well.
Wearables and Healthcare Apps
When you hear the term “wearable” you most likely think of smartwatches, fitness trackers and similar devices. But in reality, wearables can be so much more than that:
- Google is creating a contact lens that can be worn to monitor blood glucose levels.
- A company called mc10 has developed a biometric stamp that can be used to monitor a patient’s vitals remotely.
- There are even researchers at the University of Buffalo working on a unique necklace that can analyze the sounds of the wearer’s chewing and swallowing and then tell them when they’ve had too many carbs. How insanely awesome is that?
Ultimately, modern wearables and healthcare apps will allow patients and healthcare professionals to remain connected at all times. In addition, they can make the healthcare process more efficient for professionals. Imagine a wearable headset — like Google Glass — that allows doctors to examine documents and resources instantly, without having to travel to a library or sort through medical reference materials. The same tech could be applied for use with patient records and personal history.
Again, it’s easy to see the benefits from this technology. Making jobs easier for healthcare professionals will be good for everyone.
A hospital or medical facility can only house so much equipment and gear. This can lead to crucial pieces of technology being shared and used constantly. In an emergency, this means service techs and nurses have to locate the equipment. It can take time, especially if the aforementioned equipment is in use.
Through modern IoT systems, this problem can be easily solved. The equipment is accounted for — and tracked — via a central computer system. Tech support, nurses and doctors can all tap into this system to see when and where the equipment will be available. IoT allows this to happen through tablets and mobile devices remotely so the staff can do it from anywhere on the property.
This is particularly important when it comes to equipment that requires off-site calibrations and servicing. This is something resource teams need to plan out. They need to ensure they have enough equipment on hand to cover items sent out for calibration and servicing. The only way to do this is with an asset management system like we are talking about. One can also track medicine and supplies, patients, hospital staff, rooms, equipment and much more.
The obvious benefit of IoT being used for asset management is entire healthcare facilities become more efficient. Not just that, they also become more aware.
How Cloud Technology and Big Data Factor In
Finally, we have the cloud and big data tech that will be used to store this influx of new data and information collected from medical equipment. It will also breed an entirely new field, that of IoMT security. Needless to say, this information and data will need to be securely protected, and it will also need to remain private, accessible only to authorized parties.
Modern technologies will need to tap into a larger collection of data, which is where the cloud and big data systems come into play.
What most don’t realize is that big data also includes the analytics necessary to handle collected information and act. Modern systems will need to read and analyze this data, and feed the relevant content to doctors and health physicians. These individuals will need constant access to patient health records and history, medical references, supply counts and inventory, and more.
The data and cloud storage systems are going to drive the facilitation of modern medical devices so it all comes full circle. Without big data and cloud tech, the other applications — such as wearables and asset management systems — would not be possible.