IoT in Healthcare: Benefits, Use-Cases and Challenges
With each passing year, the demand for quality healthcare solutions by people across the globe is increasing.
Due to this, the healthcare sector has started adopting the latest technologies. Out of which, IoT became highly adopted by the healthcare industry and is now known as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
The main reason why IoT in healthcare has become widely accepted is that it offers numerous benefits to patients, doctors, hospitals, and healthcare insurance companies.
According to GlobeNewswire, the IoT healthcare market is anticipated to reach $446.52 billion by 2028. It will grow at a CAGR of 25.9% from 2021 to 2028.
Considering the above statistics, if you are planning to integrate IoT and wondering how IoT can be useful to the healthcare industry, then you have reached the right place.
Here, in this blog, we are going to discuss all the benefits, use cases, applications, and challenges of IoT in the healthcare industry.
Benefits of IoT in Healthcare
Here are some of the benefits of IoT for the healthcare sector:
Concurrent reporting and monitoring
Real-Time monitoring of patients with the help of connected devices can solve various serious issues in case of an emergency such as heart attack, asthma, etc.
Using real-time monitoring of any disease or illness of patients is possible via a smart medical device linked to a medical app on smartphones. Here, connected devices can fetch relevant information about patients and send it to the doctor via the internet.
In short, IoT devices gather and transfer health data, which consists of blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, oxygen, etc.
Here, all the IoT healthcare devices are interconnected, which means they can be programmed to provide instant help as and when needed.
Data Collection and Analysis
A large pool of data that healthcare devices send within a few seconds to the real-time app is difficult to store & manage if access to the cloud is not available.
Moreover, healthcare providers not only face difficulty in acquiring data from different devices and sources but also in analyzing the same.
However, when all the things are connected with the IoT device, it becomes efficient for a doctor to gather, report, and analyze the data continuously as they don’t have to store the raw data.
All the things happen in the cloud, and doctors or healthcare service providers only get the final reports along with charts.
This helps doctors or healthcare service providers to enhance their decision-making process and also make fewer mistakes.
Better Connectivity and Economical
The Internet of Things in healthcare is responsible for the continuous exchange of information, better communication between different machines, and much more.
By using different connectivity protocols such as Bluetooth, Wifi, Zigbee, etc., a healthcare expert can easily detect various diseases in patients with ease and discover new and effective treatment methods.
Moreover, a properly established technology reduces the cost by accessing superior quality tools & techniques, better distribution, planning, and lowering unusual doctor visits.
Consider the massive amount of data that is collected in the IoT cloud of patients with various illnesses. This data can be effectively used as a statistical study that supports medical research.
A study that would have taken years to collect the data can be completed efficiently by extracting information from the IoT cloud.
This is not only time-saving, but it also saves a lot of money, which would have been required to conduct the study.
This will broadly impact medical research and allow for greater and better medical treatments to be introduced.
Until now, we have gone through the different benefits of IoT in healthcare.
Now, we will go through different use cases of IoT in the healthcare sector.
Use-Cases of IoT in Healthcare
IoT in healthcare is very useful in providing seamless experience to the users and saving time for hospitals, doctors, etc.
Due to this, various leading tech giants like Google, Tencent, etc are investing in IoT healthcare industry.
As of now, we will look at the three main use cases of the Internet of Things in healthcare.
Hospital Information Management System (HIMS)
IoT will transform the entire healthcare management system. HIMS fetches and maintains all the essential information such as medical records, details regarding patients and doctors. Also, it offers the latest recent information regarding any appointments, hospital rooms, etc.
Apart from this, HIMS also offers various benefits that we have discussed earlier, such as remote patient monitoring, drug management, data analysis, etc.
Various companies have already developed a HIMS and they are providing these systems to various people involved in the healthcare industry.
Remote Medical Assistance
At the time of emergency, patients can instantly contact a doctor that lives miles away using the mobile apps.
By integrating various mobile app development solutions in healthcare, doctors can check patients and identify diseases simultaneously.
For example, the blood pressure and temperature wearable is a small smart device that can be worn on the wrist that will help to monitor the heartbeat, blood pressure, and body temperature of the patient.
The high and the low indicators can be set at particular levels, when reached, will send out an alert to the app in the smartphone of the patient or caregiver, so that the patient can get the required medical attention right away.
Moreover, various healthcare delivery providers plan to develop machines that deliver drugs as per the prescription and disease.
Data about these patients is gathered by linking various devices with each other.
Monitoring Staff, Patients, and Inventory
Security is the most critical issue that is faced by the majority of hospitals across the globe. To handle security in the best possible manner, one has to monitor a lot of things in the hospital, such as staff members, patients, hardware, doctors, and much more.
This work can be handled with ease in the case of smaller institutions; however, it is challenging to look after different things in large hospitals that possess different buildings along with a lot of patients and staff members.
Many reputed hospitals around the globe are opting for IoT and real-time GPS services to improve the monitoring process. IoT is a powerful, efficient, and affordable method of tracking regular activities at hospitals.
Improved drug management
IoT has released several talking devices that alert patients about medications that they require to take regularly. This enhances the timely delivery of drugs, especially to older people suffering from blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc.
Here, there are pills that consist of microscopic sensors that send a message to a device that is framed in the body to make sure patients take the required dosage.
Hence, IoT healthcare devices enrich the healthcare experiences of patients.
As per GMInsights, the mHealth market size was about $56 billion in 2020. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30% between 2021 to 2030.
Mobile Healthcare solutions are also referred to as the mHealth apps & are available on the leading app stores like Play Store or Apple App Store.
Healthcare IoT apps can be used mainly in two cases: regular treatment or emergency. There are various categories of mHealth apps available in the industry; these are as follows:
- Fitness Apps
- On-Demand Doctor Apps
- Mental Health Tracking Apps, etc.
For more information you can get the list of the best healthcare app ideas.
Electronic Healthcare Records System (EHR)
One of the best IoT use cases in healthcare is EHR. This system offers real-time information immediately and securely to all the authorized people.
EHR systems can store all the relevant information about the patients and share as an when needed with different specialists to obtain enhanced treatment.
EHR system provides a wide range of benefits to patients as well as doctors in the healthcare sector. For instance, doctors can check the latest lab test reports and the entire history of the patient’s disease. On the other side, patients with lifestyle diseases can reach out to doctors anywhere & anytime.
After looking at the three use cases of IoT in the healthcare sector, now we will go through some trending and upcoming applications of the internet of things in the healthcare industry.
Applications of IoT in Healthcare
A wide range of applications in which IoT can be integrated are given below:
Wearables are small smart devices that can be used in sync with a smartphone app that monitors the health of a patient in real-time.
These head-mounted smart devices can be worn throughout the day to enhance the mood. The moddable sends out low-intensity pulses to the brain that helps to elevate the mood of the wearer.
This device would be a boon for people who depend on antidepressants.
This device can be worn throughout the day and will not have the usual side effects that accompany the use of antidepressant drugs.
These are the newest hearing aids that enhance the quality of life in people who have hearing loss.
Moreover, the approach following which IoT powered devices have offered hearing aid solutions to the people is highly valuable.
Currently, hearables have the ability to stream files and improve the operations similar to biometric sensors. Hearables are synced with an app in the smartphone of the person wearing it, which will allow the person to control and enhance the real-world sound with equalizer, filter, and other features.
To know more, check out this blog on how voice command apps impact the healthcare industry.
These are small capsule-sized IoT sensors that can be ingested by the patient to help the medical team monitor the body’s irregularities and blood levels to determine if the medications have been taken as prescribed.
This can be particularly helpful for elderly patients whose medications can be tracked.
IoT is an emerging field in the digital world and is slowly gaining momentum and reaching out to remote areas of the world.
Its scope is wide and research is being conducted to bring out even more user-friendly devices that will enhance the quality of life.
Its application in the healthcare system is manifold, with many digital companies investing largely in the development of new IoT enabled devices using computer vision technology.
Smart Glucose Monitoring & Insulin Pens
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases that is usually found in adults. This disease needs constant monitoring and governance of treatment.
A Continuous Glucose Monitor(CGM) is mainly a device that allows all the patients suffering from diabetes to track their glucose levels for some days at a specific time by recording readings frequently.
One of the other well-known devices that can be useful to diabetic patients is smart insulin pens.
These pens enable the users to record the time, overall amount instantly, and the kind of insulin infused in a dose, suggesting the best insulin for a patient at the correct time.
All these devices are connected to a mobile app that can hold a massive amount of data.
This is beneficial for patients as it allows them to measure their insulin dose, and enables users to save their meals and blood sugar levels and to check whether the food & insulin consumption are affecting the blood sugar levels.
Asthma is yet a common disease that has affected a lot of users all across the planet.
Connected inhalers allow the users to monitor their data and have better handling over the symptoms and treatment.
Various big companies such as Propeller have created sensors connected to the inhaler or Bluetooth spirometer.
This device connects easily with a smartphone app that provides all the details such as potential reasons of symptoms, monitor effects of rescue medication, and offer specific forecasts.
Blood Coagulation Testing
A Bluetooth powered coagulation system enables the users to monitor their blood clot tests instantly.
In the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart attack, etc., it is beneficial to know the blot clot level.
IoT in medical allows all the diabetic patients to track blood coagulation systems regularly, which helps to keep the patient under therapeutic range to reduce the risk of bleeding or stroke.
The patients will be able to share their blood clot testing reports to the healthcare experts.
Lastly, the device enables users to insert comments in their tests, reminds them to carry out tests, and mark results based on their target range.
Eyes are one of the most powerful organs in the human body. Tears hold a thin layer above the eye to operate it with ease. By merging two things: sensor and contact lenses, it is possible to know in advance the symptoms of various diseases.
Contact lenses built using IOT enables to identify tear glucose level and the possibility of diabetes in a person at an early stage.
Moreover, it is expected that doctors can provide medication for an eye instead of using eye drops.
Similar to various other applications of IoT, eyeball tracking will get a lot of traction in the next few years.
Medical Waste Management
Medical Waste can cause mass infection. Hence, it is highly essential to resolve this problem wisely and effectively. Automated medical waste system management can help to cope up with this problem.
Here, sensors can be integrated into all the dustbins in the hospital and they notify when the trash is full. Later the robot collects the trash and throws the dump at the safe place.
This is one of the best IoT applications that will be useful for hospitals around the globe. Currently, also a vast number of hospitals are using this kind of app as it helps to maintain a clean environment in the hospital and allows staff to focus on other important tasks.
With each passing day, robotic surgery is becoming highly complicated. Researchers are connecting various devices using the internet.
To mention in detail, doctors have started performing various surgical operations with the help of the IoT robotic devices.
Doctors can look after operations with better handling and accuracy. These robotic devices allow doctors to perform tasks from faraway places that save the lives of people at different places.
Moreover, a surgery that takes a lot of time is really difficult for doctors to handle and this can be solved with the robotic device.
Nurse Assistant Robot
Union of the internet and robots is offering innovative solutions to the healthcare industry. Robots can assist nurses in various things; hence, this is one of the best applications of IoT in healthcare.
Robots can be useful to enhance overall treatment.
Apart from this, Robots can assist nurses in a vast number of tasks, like giving equipment or other things whenever needed.
Nurses can communicate well with the patients and make them more comfortable. They can also program a set of commands in the robots which can perform automatically. Whenever a patient is discharged, robots can clean the entire room efficiently.
All people want to keep their body fit. However, not all people are going for regular fitness checkups because it tends to be pricey. A smart body scanner is one of the best applications of IoT in Healthcare as it provides details about bodily changes by comparing a lot of things.
A smart body scanner is built by merging four important things: 3D mirror, 3D cameras, weigh scale, and a mobile app. All things are meant to perform different things.
3D Camera initially takes 360-degree images of your entire body and then sends all the data to the IoT app. Weigh scale rotates your entire body for several seconds to calculate sufficient details of your body.
With the help of this equipment, various details of your body like fat, circumference, etc. will be generated. You will be able to check these things in your app.
Apart from this, the IoT application will also provide a detailed graph that allows you to compare the current status of the body with previous ones.
Challenges of IoT in Healthcare
Although various benefits come with the use of IoT enable devices, there are various challenges as well that come with new technology.
Varied standards and protocols
A whole lot of healthcare devices that are used in the healthcare system now are IoT enabled. Multiple devices are integrated to monitor a single patient at times. The variance in the standard and protocols of the various devices makes it difficult to integrate and interpret it.
Security and Privacy
We know that the data between a doctor and a patient is bound by doctor-patient confidentiality. The easy availability and access of the data can compromise the security of personal health information of both the patient and the doctor.
There is a possibility of cybercriminals misusing this data to create fake IDs to get access to drugs that can be later used for selling or use data to file fraudulent insurance claims.
Various devices are used with technology, but not all of which may have the same communication protocols and standards. This can lead to a tremendous amount of data to be aggregated, all of which may not be effective in interpreting sensibly.
Global Healthcare Regulations
IoMT is not yet approved by the leading global healthcare bodies around the globe. This will take some more time and a wide number of innovations would be at a halt because of some legal formalities.
We hope that you have understood all the essential things related to IoT in Healthcare. Also, the healthcare industry is reaching new heights due to the adoption of IoT by leading hospitals across the globe.
Now, if you are also looking forward to joining the IoT healthcare market, then you can contact us. We at Guru TechnoLabs, a well-known IoT App Development company, have years of experience in building healthcare apps for clients across the globe. Hence, we can deliver you the best IoT healthcare solution.
You are welcome to share your project requirements, and we will provide you a free quote.