Healthcare has always been at the forefront of innovation, so it makes a lot of sense that the industry has been rapidly adopting the Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, experts predict that the global spending on healthcare IoT will reach $337.41 billion by 2025 (growing at a CAGR of 28.2%).
We are also already starting to benefit from this innovative technology in healthcare with a wide variety of wearable devices, supporting mobile applications, and other IoT-related technologies.
These technologies combined together can help people access better health and wellness while improving their overall quality of life.
While health IoT’s role is growing considerably within hospitals and clinics, it isn’t limited to healthcare institutions. In fact, it can also be as simple as smart pedometers like Fitbit wristbands that track fitness levels (and help you achieve your health fitness goals).
So how are connected devices enhancing our lives and overall health? Let’s take a look.
IoT is already playing a key role in patient monitoring. By leveraging IoT technologies, medical practitioners can now monitor their patients in real-time even when they’re away from the healthcare facility.
This approach can free up hospital beds and also help patients recover from the comfort of their own homes. This can also go a long way to enhance patient experiences and help healthcare providers keep overhead costs down.
It’s also not surprising that this innovation has had a significant impact on rural healthcare as now patients can access the same level of care through IoT and telemedicine. The same technology can also be used to improve disease management and drug adherence.
IoT technologies can also help physicians make more informed decisions based on real-time data. This can have a direct impact on better treatment and patient outcomes.
As the data collected from these smart devices and sensors are much more accurate than information provided by the patients themselves, it also helps medical professionals provide better care while minimizing errors.
Increased Operational Efficiency
Just like in other industries, IoT can play a key role in optimizing operations within healthcare facilities to make the whole process highly efficient. Again, this approach can lead to considerable savings.
According to a recent survey conducted by Accenture, 42% medical payers and 33% of medical providers stated that they benefited from significant cost savings by leveraging remote patient monitoring.
For medical providers, in particular, IoT enabled 42% to access significant cost savings as a result of wellness and prevention.
However, all this doesn’t have to be limited to medical devices. In fact, enhanced efficiency through IoT can also come in the form of real-time tracking of inventory which can ensure that the facilities don’t run out of specific medical supplies.
Connected devices like wearables are continuously generating data in real-time. All this information can be then be analyzed to provide highly personalized recommendations for a variety of wellness-related activities.
These recommendations are also highly like to be more relevant as they’re based on specific user data that was collected by these smart connected devices. It’s also probably much more accurate when compared to general human input.
For example, the Apple Watch paired with the Health App can analyze your data along with the information available in large health databases and derive some valuable insights. In fact, the Apple Watch can detect sleep apnea with 90% accuracy, hypertension with 82% accuracy, and abnormal heart rhythm with 97% accuracy.
These types of technologies can also be leveraged to set goals, develop new habits, and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.
The role of connected devices in health and wellness will continue to evolve and grow for many years to come. However, to remain relevant, healthcare providers need to come up with innovative ways to protect themselves from data breaches.
While a data breach can have a significant impact on privacy and the reputation of the organization, corrupted data can also have significant consequences when it comes to patient treatment and outcomes.
This means that healthcare IoT must always strive to stay one step ahead of bad actors who might initiate a security threat. This can be achieved by taking advantage of new technologies like the blockchain and edge computing.
IoT’s role in healthcare will continue to grow and become more prominent in the near future. While we’re already enjoying the benefits listed above, you can also expect to see plenty more in the months and years to come.
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