Last Updated | June 2, 2022
It’s very important to understand IoT before heading into a discussion about its applications and benefits in the field of medicine. IoT stands for Internet of things but what does it mean?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to gadgets that are connected to the internet and can be controlled or used to transfer data. This comprises internet-connected gadgets in homes, businesses, factories, farms, and cities. Smart fridges, printers, webcams, meters, speakers, telephones, washing machines, headphones, and wearables are all examples of these gadgets.
These devices establish a network in which actual items – “things” – are internally connected and may “speak” by transferring data from sensors, software, and other technologies and exchanging it with other devices and systems over the internet. Today, there are about 7 billion connected IoT devices. By 2020, this number is predicted to reach 10 billion, and by 2025, it will reach 22 billion.
Physical Internet of Things devices all across the world collects and share data. It’s now feasible to turn everything, from a dental implant to a tractor, into a part of the Internet of Things, thanks to the emergence of super-cheap computer chips and the ubiquitous presence of wireless networks. Connecting all of these objects and attaching sensors to them adds a layer of digital intelligence, allowing them to convey real-time data without the need for a person. Finally, the Internet of Things is integrating the digital and physical worlds to make the fabric of the world around us even smarter and more responsive.
Now the point of concern is how can IoT do wonders in healthcare practice. As we all know the healthcare industry is in a desperate position. Healthcare is more expensive than it has ever been, the world’s population is aging, and the number of chronic diseases is rising. What we are nearing is a world in which most people cannot afford basic healthcare, a big segment of society will become unproductive due to old age, and people will be more susceptible to chronic disease. Then, can we say that the end of the world is expected very soon? Not to worry, IoT app development can help you out.
While technology cannot prevent the population from aging or remove chronic diseases overnight, it can make healthcare more accessible by providing people with cost-effective medical services.
Medical diagnostics account for a significant portion of hospital costs. Medical checkups can be moved from a hospital (hospital-centric) to the patient’s home using technology (home-centric). The correct patient outcomes will result in lower hospitalization costs. The Internet of Things (IoT), a new paradigm, has broad applications in a variety of fields, including healthcare.
The full implementation of this paradigm in healthcare is a shared goal since it allows medical service providers to work more effectively and patients to receive better care.
There are numerous advantages to using this technology-based healthcare strategy, including improved treatment quality and efficiency, as well as improved patient health.
We’ll go over each of the key telemedicine types in-depth below:
- Store and Forward Telemedicine:
This is also referred to as “asynchronous telemedicine.” And, understandably, many people wonder which type of technology is used in asynchronous telemedicine.
Well, store and forward telemedicine work similarly to email in that patients share medical information such as lab reports, x-rays, and other health-related information with healthcare providers, who then share this vital information with specialist consultants such as radiologists or physicians who are located in another location.
So, when it comes to asynchronous telemedicine, what type of technology is used? It’s not unlike how we communicate ordinary emails; however, the significant distinction in this situation is that the platforms used to share such sensitive information have built-in security mechanisms and are HIPAA compliant, ensuring the confidentiality of patients’ records.
By providing easy and secure data sharing, store and forward telemedicine make it easier for patients, healthcare providers, and specialists to engage and collaborate remotely. The method allows patients to see the best doctors for their treatment, even if they are in different parts of the country. Certain experts, such as radiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, and others, use this strategy relatively frequently.
- Remote Monitoring:
Another essential and extensively used type of telemedicine is remote monitoring, which allows patients to self-monitor their health using various technology equipment that can measure and record vital signs. Patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and others are particularly fond of this technique. Such patients require regular vital sign monitoring, and they can use advanced telemedicine technologies to record, monitor, and exchange their vitals with healthcare experts as needed.
Remote monitoring is not only a more cost-effective solution to treat chronic conditions, but it’s also more dependable and enhances patient care quality.
- Real-Time Interactive Services:
The real-time interactive services are last in line for our main form of telemedicine. Surprisingly, this is one of the most common forms of telemedicine (in fact for most people this is the only approach to telemedicine). Nonetheless, patients can consult doctors and specialists one-on-one via video conferencing (which is where the term “real-time interactive” originates from).
This method allows people to contact doctors immediately for consultations, exactly as they would in person. Patients can ask doctors questions about their concerns, and doctors can monitor any disease symptoms directly. The method employs HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software to assure patient data security and confidentiality.
Role of IoT in telemedicine:
Even though IoT can benefit practically any business, organization, corporate office, manufacturing sector, smart home, and so on, healthcare is no exception. Healthcare, on the other hand, maybe the primary benefit (refer to the facts and figures section for better clarity).
Healthcare executives can secure the growth of telemedicine by taking advantage of IoT’s offerings. For example, improved patient monitoring, real-time health tracking, and much more. Even with so many services and facilities, most healthcare companies are concerned about “what are the benefits of IoT in telemedicine?” So, let’s take a look at the top IoT benefits in healthcare, particularly telemedicine.
IoT-enabled wearable gadgets play an essential role in helping doctors to access vital data. Doctors can acquire patient health reports every second, allowing for better and more efficient healthcare. Senior adults can receive healthcare from doctors and hospitals without having to leave their homes. IoT devices will not only assist people, particularly senior folks, in improving their health, but they will also be beneficial to persons with impairments. Similarly, there are many other ways IoT is revolutionizing telemedicine.
Top 5 Benefits of Using IoT in Telemedicine:
We can already see how technology is transforming healthcare, making it less reliant on humans (and hence less vulnerable to human mistakes) while also becoming more patient-centered. The following are the primary advantages of the Internet of Things for healthcare organizations:
- Lower Costs:
Healthcare practitioners can monitor patients in real-time with IoT technologies and connected medical devices integration. Because of the efficient data collection and management, there will be fewer unnecessary doctor visits, hospital stays, and readmissions.
- Better patient Experience:
Patients become more engaged in their treatment when they are connected to the health care system via the Internet of Things, and clinicians enhance diagnosis accuracy because they have all of the relevant patient data at their fingertips.
- Better Management of Drugs and Medicine Adherence:
IoT technologies allow hospital employees to spend less time looking for drugs, track supplies and medicine, and monitor hospital hygiene procedures, all of which help to minimize hospital infections. IoT healthcare monitoring systems assist patients to stick to their treatment programs and doctors track medication compliance.
- Reduced Errors and Waste:
Using IoT for data collection and workflow automation reduces waste (such as unnecessary tests and expensive imaging), lowers system costs, and reduces errors (especially the ones related to the human factor).
- Improved Outcomes of Treatment:
Healthcare solutions that employ big data and are connected via cloud computing can provide caregivers with real-time data that can be used to make informed decisions and provide evidence-based treatments.
How does IoT work in telemedicine?
Instead of visiting doctors in hospitals and clinics, telemedicine technology allows patients to have smooth connections with healthcare experts using technology protocols. Users can discuss medical issues and symptoms via internet portals, emails, and video conferencing after telemedicine is implemented.
Patients can get diagnosis reports, learn about treatment choices, and get prescriptions from doctors. In some circumstances, medical records and gadgets can be read and administered remotely by healthcare personnel. Interactive medicine, remote patient monitoring, and store and forward are three types of telemedicine.
When a patient suffers a cut, for example, they can plan virtual sessions with a healthcare provider to explore treatment options. Furthermore, patients can communicate with healthcare providers digitally while on vacation. In addition, patients can have virtual sessions to discuss birth control alternatives.
Remote healthcare services were first offered using landline lines in the 1950s. With advances in technology, there are now a variety of options to deliver telemedicine, including video software solutions and applications for improved management. On the contrary, it is critical to remember that telemedicine is insufficient for emergency and severe cases at this time.
There is a range of IoT-based applications in telemedicine that support doctors in a variety of ways, including real-time detection of changes in patients’ vital signs. Here is the list of applications that various IoT devices provide:
● Remote patient monitoring
● Glucose monitoring
● Heart-rate monitoring
● Hand hygiene monitoring
● Depression and mood monitoring
● Parkinson’s disease monitoring
● Connected inhalers
● Connected contact lenses
● Robotic surgery
Many software companies are ready to design customized software and apps for medical practitioners at their demand such as:
- HL7 Interface
- EHR Integration Software
In the healthcare and medical industries, telemedicine is a powerful and rising concept. It’s all about helping patients and healthcare providers to communicate more efficiently through digital channels. It is claimed that the technology has reduced the necessity for in-person visits to hospitals and clinics. Telemedicine, on the other hand, entails sharing medical and healthcare data. For this aim, standards are required to ensure that only compliant information is shared with patients, so for this purpose software like HL7 comes to your rescue.
Click here to get more details about: Telemedicine Startup Costs
What is the current situation of IoT in telemedicine?
From making diagnoses to giving treatments, medicine has long been driven by data. Thanks to the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things, healthcare is now taking a huge stride forward in the collecting and processing of high-quality data (IoT).
The internet of things (IoT) can be defined as a device (or a network of devices) that connects to the internet and allows data to be transferred to whoever needs it. On a broad scale, the Internet of Things consists of billions of devices and sensors transmitting a constant stream of data, such as those found in a supply chain. Access to better, more accurate, and real-time data improves decision-making for corporate leaders across all industries.
A similar idea applies to healthcare IoT, which can keep patients linked to their care providers after they leave the doctor’s office or the hospital. There are a variety of uses, including continuous blood glucose monitoring, CPAP treatment for sleep apnea, and transmission of important patient data from the ambulance to the hospital, to mention a few.
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The global portable and remote patient monitoring market has been constantly growing. It is predicted to increase at a single-digit compound annual growth rate from 2020 to 2027, reaching approximately $43 billion globally, according to one research estimate.
How can IoT benefit telemedicine and healthcare?
IoT has done wonders in the field of healthcare, it not only benefits the physicians but also provides endless advantages to the patients. With the use of the Internet of Things in healthcare physicians can achieve the following benefits:
- Higher Returns:
Scheduled time slots save a lot of time, while virtual appointments reduce the number of no-shows. As a result, telemedicine allows doctors to see far more patients than they could in a traditional clinic. More appointments equal more money. You are only limited by your ability to work because telemedicine is worldwide and someone somewhere in the globe always needs a doctor.
- Flexible Hours:
Doctors can pick their own working hours and stretch them out throughout the entire day with telemedicine. There is no such thing as night and day because daytime exists in every time zone.
- Increased Efficiency in Diagnosis:
Telemedicine software allows for interaction with third-party software and devices, such as Glucometers and Fitbits, to provide data directly to doctors, assisting them in making timely diagnoses and streamlining decision-making.
Because you don’t have to run your physical practice every day, telemedicine equals lower costs. You might not even need a clinic if you’re the right kind of doctor.
- No-Risk of Infections:
Doctors are not susceptible to viruses from their parents because there is no physical touch between them and the patient, and this characteristic of IoT has proven highly valuable during the Covid-19 outbreak when doctors were in high danger of infection.
Similarly, IoT has also benefited patients up to a greater extent:
- Better Health Outcomes for Patients:
Virtual appointments are more convenient for patients, whether they are regular health visits or follow-ups on past sessions. This was not the case when their only choice was to make an appointment and visit the doctor in person. Attending visits regularly is associated with improved overall health.
- Improved Access to Medical Attention:
Patients can receive great healthcare even if they are in a remote place with no healthcare institution. All they need is a smartphone. Patients in remote places now have much easier access to expert medical care because of telemedicine.
- Reduced Exposure to Illness:
This is particularly true in the current situation, where people are being advised to stay at home to avoid being exposed. A hospital is the one place where all germs congregate, therefore avoiding one lowers your chances of contracting an infection.
- Faster Further Testing:
If additional testing is required, such as blood work or an MRI, the patient is not required to return to the doctor for more visits.
- Saving Cost and Time:
When physical visits to the doctor become unnecessary, time is saved that can be spent on anything else. It also saves money on things like transportation.
What is the impact of IoT in telemedicine and healthcare?
The Internet of Things will be everywhere. It has significant healthcare potential, particularly in telemedicine. Not only may IoT lower the number of patients admitted to hospitals, but it also allows clinicians to give effective care to patients both remotely and on-site. Doctors can deliver trustworthy treatment, and patients can receive prompt treatment, thanks to technological advancements. It can be the most life-saving aspect for elderly folks.
Why is it important in Telemedia solutions?
Telecom businesses can use IoT to provide business insights, maintain safety at remote sites, and monitor equipment. IoT solutions are being implemented in a variety of industries, including agriculture, retail, and utilities, to increase worker productivity and safety. Similarly, the introduction of IoT in telecom firms will demonstrate its ability to improve business processes and produce more revenue. According to research, the Internet of Things may produce $1.8 trillion in revenue for mobile network operators. Telecom businesses must develop novel techniques and apps to monetize IoT solutions to take advantage of these new income potentials.
What is the best example of IoT in telehealth?
While remote patient monitoring—that is, IoT devices that collect patient data such as heart rate and body temperature—is the most well-known example of IoT in healthcare, there are numerous other applications.
IoT in healthcare has numerous fascinating possibilities, spanning from consumer applications to hospital use cases. Here are ten of the best instances of IoT in healthcare that we’ve seen so far.
1. Patient Management of Asthma and COPD
2. Improved Regulation of Diabetes
3. Medication compliance
4. Patient Health Monitoring
5. Provider Monitoring of Patients
6. Elder Care and Independence
7. Maintaining Cleanliness Standards
8. Ingestible Sensors
9. Robotic Surgeries
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