Leveraging Internet of Things to revolutionize Healthcare and Wellness

Increased health awareness has led to the emergence of 'self-care' and 'healthcare advisor' disciplines. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle has fueled innovation that plays a key role in moving the point of care from the hospital or the physician's office to the patient's home. Delivering on this vision with the help of enabling technologies requires regularly capturing information related to a person's health, lifestyle, and other vital parameters and sharing it with caregivers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a platform that enables the real time capture of information, facilitates collation and analysis of this information and provides the ability to share it with various stakeholders to create a connected environment. This much needed disruptive innovation will help resolve the industry's current challenges and drastically improve health outcomes at lower cost of care.

Assessing IoT Prospects in Healthcare:
IoT is a disruptive innovation which bridges interoperability challenges to radically change the way in which healthcare will be delivered, driving better outcomes, increasing efficiency and making healthcare affordable. Industry analysts predict that the ability for patients to take more responsibility of their health and the promotion of preventive measures are capable of disrupting current care delivery and will shape the future of healthcare.

There is stronger focus on the ‘meaningful use’ tenet of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which focuses on using certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology to improve the quality and efficiency of care and promote consistency of care. These factors make it crucial to capture information about patients or members continuously at various stages. Today’s healthcare world therefore needs to focus on delivering personalized care to individuals. In this context, IoT harnesses people centricity with technology to deliver enhanced results.

How Does the Internet of Things Help?
The impact of home-use medical devices and mobile healthcare applications that make up the IoT has been increasingly felt in the healthcare market. Apart from their use in managing health, they have also been used for disease prevention and fitness promotion. Some of the applications of IoT are:

  • Chronic Disease Management: IoT bridges the gap through the use of devices that monitor a patient’s physiological conditions (such as blood pressure for hypertensive patients, blood glucose levels and weight for diabetics and so on). The periodic data sent in by these devices could be used to perform different analytics.
  • Remote Clinical Monitoring and Assisted Living: This degree of automation enables providers to transfer the tasks of routine monitoring and field administration to remote monitoring personnel, thus saving cost. Additionally, remote monitoring has successfully demonstrated results such as decreased member move-out rates and increased staff productivity.
  • Wellness and Preventive Care: The advent of IoT, necessarily as wearable technology, has made health supervision convenient. Such continuous availability of data allows the user to analyze and correlate many parameters, the possibilities here are endless.

The healthcare industry is undergoing a huge transformation in a bid to move towards affordable, accessible and quality care. New applications and use cases, a result of cutting edge technology innovations, are being developed to address changing industry needs. Standards organizations are also working towards building communication compatibility among the wide range of devices that have operated independently thus far.

In order to maintain a competitive advantage, organizations will have to leverage the potential of IoT and adopt IoT driven systems and processes. This model of healthcare, which heavily relies on patient participation and subsequent data analysis by microprocessors and microcontrollers, is set to change the way health services are delivered. The customer centric transformation is being fuelled by the need for innovation and disruption in healthcare. IoT is here to stay, and will continue to evolve fast, leading to impactful and positive changes for all stakeholders in the healthcare industry.  

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