How Can IoT Be Utilised To Enhance Healthcare, Including Telemedicine, Medical Device Connectivity, And Remote Patient Monitoring?
IoT refers to the interconnection of physical devices, such as sensors, medical equipment, and other devices, that can collect and exchange data without human intervention. IoT can enhance patient care, improve treatment outcomes, and increase efficiency in healthcare.
A study by HIMSS Analytics found that,
This article explores how IoT can enhance healthcare, including telemedicine, medical device connectivity, and remote patient monitoring.
It enables healthcare professionals to provide consultations, diagnosis, and treatment to patients remotely, without needing in-person visits. IoT can provide several solutions for telemedicine, such as remote consultations, telehealth apps, and wearable devices.
The use of telemedicine in the US increased by 154% in the last week of March 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: FAIR Health)
Remote consultations enable doctors to diagnose and treat patients without visiting the hospital. Telehealth apps allow patients to track their medical condition and receive healthcare services remotely. Wearable devices, such as fitness trackers and smartwatches, can monitor a patient’s vital signs and send alerts to healthcare providers in case of any abnormalities.
Medical Device Connectivity
Medical device connectivity refers to the interconnection of medical devices, such as infusion pumps, ventilators, and monitoring equipment, to a central data collection and analysis platform. The benefits of medical device connectivity include improved patient care, reduced medical errors, and increased efficiency.
IoT platforms, such as GE Healthcare’s Mural Virtual Care Solution, can be utilized for medical device connectivity. The platform enables healthcare professionals to monitor and manage medical devices remotely, track patient data, and provide real-time patient feedback.
The application of Medical Device Connectivity has been increasing exponentially, with patients getting more convenience and facility and more accurate data.
According to a study by Frost & Sullivan, medical device connectivity solutions are growing at a CAGR of 17.2% and are expected to reach $2.18 billion by 2025.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring refers to using IoT devices to monitor patients remotely, such as tracking their vital signs, medication adherence, and overall health status. Remote patient monitoring provides several benefits, such as early detection of health issues, improved patient outcomes, and reduced healthcare costs.
IoT solutions, such as VitalPatch, can be utilized for remote patient monitoring. The VitalPatch is a wearable biosensor that can monitor a patient’s vital signs, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature, and send alerts to healthcare professionals in case of any abnormalities.
A survey by KPMG found that 46% of healthcare providers have implemented remote patient monitoring programs, and 59% plan to expand or implement such programs in the next three years.
Challenges and Risks
Although IoT provides several benefits in healthcare, it also presents several challenges and risks. IoT devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks, and patient data can be compromised if breached.
Another concern is interoperability, as IoT devices from different manufacturers may not be compatible.
Regulatory compliance is also a significant issue, as IoT devices must comply with various regulations and standards, such as HIPAA and FDA guidelines.
IoT provides several solutions for enhancing healthcare, such as telemedicine, medical device connectivity, and remote patient monitoring. These solutions offer several benefits, including improved patient outcomes, increased efficiency, and reduced healthcare costs.
However, there are also significant challenges and risks associated with using IoT in healthcare, such as security and privacy concerns, interoperability issues, and regulatory compliance.
As the technology continues to evolve, healthcare providers need to consider these challenges and implement appropriate measures to mitigate the risks associated with IoT. With proper planning and execution, IoT has the potential to revolutionize healthcare and transform the delivery of patient care.
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