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Wearables, IoT, and Healthcare

DZone's Guide to

Wearables, IoT, and Healthcare

This compilation of use cases in the healthcare field is a gold mine for the ambitious IoT developer and touches on the uses of wearables.

· IoT Zone ·
Free Resource

Technology in the last few years has enabled us to closely monitor our health. From wristbands that track heart rate and steps to personal blood pressure checkers to body fat-measuring weighing scales, wearable technology in healthcare is changing the way we process our biology.

Meanwhile, one of the benefits of IoT in healthcare is that it allows for personalized attention from medical professionals. With IoT, devices also help in counting calories, check blood pressure levels, remind patients of their appointments, etc.

Now you might be thinking that these are the exact same things that wearable devices can do, so what is the difference? Wearable devices are a part of the broader/collective term Internet of Things.

Here are a few ways how IoT healthcare solutions and wearables are reshaping the way hospitals function.

Location-Based Real-Time Services

Through IoT, healthcare professionals can track patient whereabouts. This is particularly useful when an injured person is coming in for urgent medical assistance. Additionally, within the hospital, medical apparatuses such as defibrillators, scales, wheelchairs, monitoring devices, etc. can be tagged with IoT sensors to locate them easily. IoT devices help in real-time environmental monitoring as well – such as checking room temperature.

Improve Patient Experience

IoT devices help in improving the patient experience. Due to their seamless connection between devices, patients can control the room temperate and lighting, communicate with their friends and family via video calling, and call nurses via intercom. IoT also allows for easy access to patient information from the cloud by medical staff, provided they are stored therein to begin with.

Hygiene Compliance

For hospitals, preventing infection is imperative. And given that thousands of sick and infected patients walk-in every day, how do hospitals follow strict hygiene? Practicing hand hygiene is one of the best ways of preventing infections. Hand hygiene monitoring systems help in setting and detecting a degree of cleanliness among healthcare and medical staff. The simplest function of hand hygiene IoT devices is to beep whenever medical staff comes in close proximity of a patient bed without washing their hands. The communication between these hand hygiene monitoring systems is in real time.

Remote Monitoring

Remote monitoring of health is a crucial application of IoT. Constant monitoring helps in giving adequate healthcare to patients. Globally, many individuals die as they do not receive timely medical attention. IoT can help solve this. IoT devices can apply complex algorithms and analyze them. This helps in providing better medical attention and care to patients in remote areas – usually places where doctors cannot physically go.

Monitoring also cuts down on costs. It prevents misdiagnosis and hospital readmission. This is an advantage for senior citizens. And as IoT devices and wearables are simple to use, patients can go about their daily routine without much trouble.

IoT in healthcare should also further the scope of research. IoT devices simplify workflows through proper analysis.

IoT also includes healthcare apps. They provide cutting-edge personalized solutions and diagnoses to patients based on their symptoms. Apps can be used to remind patients to take their medication. They also help and increase medical compliance.

Risks of IoT in Healthcare

Although IoT and wearables are considered a boon for the healthcare industry, there are many challenges that companies should address. The first and possibly the most serious of challenges is privacy. As most of the data is being moved to the cloud, it wouldn’t take long for private and sensitive data to fall into the wrong hands.

If shared inappropriately, patient health information can ruin careers and damage reputations of organizations. In addition, expanding, digitizing, and streamlining of healthcare processes are likely to strain data centers.

As monitoring services and apps fill the healthcare market, it is getting incredibly difficult for data centers to handle the influx of information. This is because monitoring services are usually coupled with predictive analysis, which means that a lot of computing power is required by both the clinician and patient. If a data center does not possess the dexterity to handle such computing loads, it would result in dissatisfaction from both sides.

IoT devices and wearables function by communicating with other devices. If this communication is not secure, it can lead and cause data leakage. Industry standards need to be followed when creating a mHealth app.

Conclusion

IoT devices and wearables are here to stay. Their popularity and usage are expected to significantly rise over the next few years. And as healthcare providers are constantly trying to increase their offerings, it is safe to say that both IoT and wearables will become a big part of the healthcare industry. However, organizations that develop mHealth apps should aim to follow industry standards during the conceptualization stages itself.

Topics:
iot ,healthcare ,wearables ,sensor ,data analytics ,use cases

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