Mark, my neighbor, a senior citizen lived a happy life enjoying his morning walk, watering the garden and reading his favorite books. His favorite pastime was playing with Joy, his pet dog. In the middle of the night on Oct 3, 2005, there were a bunch of emergency vehicles at his doorsteps, and I ran out to see if I can jump in and assist. Mark is being carried on a stretcher. He had a heart attack! Thank God, he is alive and out of danger due to timely care provided by the professionals. How did this happen? He is all alone and was almost unconscious when the emergency professionals arrived. Thanks to innovations in Medical IoT! His wristband connected to an emergency system saved his life. A simple technology, but a profound effect!

Welcome to the new age of ”Technology Transformation” – Evolution of IoT.

‘Internet of Things’ in short known as IoT, is the network of various objects connected via the Internet which enables human and object interaction embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and actuators.

Adoption of IoT across industry verticals is increasing at a rapid pace. Will healthcare be an exception? Of course not! In fact, the application of IoT in healthcare space is on a much larger scale than the other verticals- from wristbands, insulin pumps to pacemakers. According to World Health Organisation(WHO) report, IoT in healthcare is supposed to strike the target of $117 billion in US market by 2020, and the days are not too far. Come, let’s take a journey to understand the immense benefits of IoT in healthcare.

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Real-time tracking of patients’ activities is no more a distant dream. It is a reality now.

The patient’s behavior is observed for 24/7 through connected devices, and the doctors could even contact through live video or audio calls. This method helps in fast recovery of patients as they are regularly monitored and treated promptly.
Apart from regular health monitoring of patients, Neonatal monitoring of newly born babies in NICU is also enabled through IoT.

There is a sea change in the applications of IoT in Healthcare. Be it the smart wristbands like fitbits that track your pulse rate, physical activity for example stairs climbed, walking speed, calories burnt, distance travelled, sleep hours and glucometers to measure your blood glucose level. The tracker keeps continuous records of the information collected and observes health and fitness on continual basis.

The simple tracker is mostly wearable on wrist, ankle or waist. At times of emergency, the tracker or the monitoring IoT device sends instant alert messages to the associated hospitals, care managers and families for timely responses.

Now, what do you do with the terabytes of these healthcare data generated across the globe? Thanks to the rapid advancement of Predictive Analytics for healthcare. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models predict the various health parameters of a patient well before it occurs. What more can one ask than saving many precious lives? Days are near where you can see IoT gadgets can define your lifestyle.

Predictive Analytics with the help of IoT is a boon to Healthcare industry across the globe. The data collected by many IoT devices are used to predict the health risks of the patients such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Attack and even some advanced AI solutions for retinopathy condition which is the primary cause of adult blindness for the majority of the population.  Another main application is in anomaly detections of accurately predicting and treating cardiac diseases.

“Embedded devices will become much smaller, less expensive, and less intrusive as a result of miniaturization and digitilization,”
said Rashid Bashshur, Ph.D., senior advisor for eHealth for the University of Michigan Health System.

High-tech pacemakers- the pacemaker with the Internet of things contribute to life-saving benefits in patients, who require frequent checkups and remote monitoring. This kind of pacemaker shares the valuable information with the connected physicians instantly for better and fast response.

Robots are an integral part of complex surgeries these days. Internet of things regard ‘robots’ as ‘things’ and enables multiple robots interconnection to do incredible tasks in healthcare. IoT based Robots even serve patients in assisting in their mobility. For example, two versions of Kompai robots were developed for helping weak and older adults as caregivers. The latest Kompai 2 is an improved version of IoT and Big Data technology. The robots act as caretaker, companion, storage device and transfer useful data to the clinicians. In future, the IoT connected robots will have the capability to interact with the real world as well as the virtual world, and it will be a massive milestone in the healthcare industry.

“When a powerful biometric monitoring program that keeps track of your vital signs every second of the day and is accessible to you, your personal medical community and sophisticated computational power and software that can not only help you view the information and understand it, but also compare it to vast sets of other data so that it becomes not just an indicator of health or sickness, but even predictive — we will live much, much longer,”
-says David-Michel Davies, executive director of the Webby Awards.

Conclusion

IoT is becoming an integral part of Human life rapidly. It is transforming the Healthcare landscape from a reactive to a proactive and preventive approach. The result, many lives saved due to timely care, reduced healthcare cost, render intelligent and informed care to the patients and improved quality of life for the global population. Individuals other than patients also benefit from IoT connected health devices to maintain physical fitness. When considering the previous method of medication, risk factors of IoT are comparatively small. With the technological development, introducing more IoT devices in healthcare will build a healthy society. So undoubtedly IoT is going to be the mainstream in the healthcare industry and do you think we can live without it anymore?