In many countries around the world, patients live miles away from the nearest hospital. In fact, a 2018 study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) revealed that less than a third (29%) of the total population of sub-Saharan Africa, and around 28% of the women of child-bearing age, lived more than two hours from the nearest hospitals. The situation also makes it difficult for healthcare providers to visit patients with chronic conditions.
This issue can be solved via remote patient care powered by the Internet of Things (IoT).
Connectivity empowers healthcare professionals to write prescriptions and measure a patient’s biometrics using sensors and wearable devices that connect to the cloud and update data in real-time. In some instances, IoT devices can be used to enable ‘face-to-face’ consultations over the Internet so that healthcare professionals can get the information they need to prepare care plans while patients are making their way to hospital. And live video and audio streaming can even be used to monitor a patient’s condition.
Equipped with a new wealth of learning’s from the past year, the IoT is set to dramatically improve and reshape the healthcare industry as we know it. Some of the issues that IoT is addressing across the healthcare industry include:
Enabling preventative medicine: IoT-backed technologies enhance communication between healthcare providers and patients. Medical professionals can use the data generated from these wearable IoT devices to identify changes in a patient’s condition and address issues before symptoms become obvious.
Improved hospital management: IoT has simplified and streamlined the back-end functions of hospitals and healthcare facilities. IoT makes it possible to track hospital staff members, equipment and hospital assets in real-time. Similarly, medical transportation companies can also equip their vans and ambulances with sensors that allow for real-time tracking.
Better transparency for insurers and patients: Health insurance companies are also reaping the benefits of IoT. These companies are increasingly using health monitoring devices to improve claims processes by allowing them to collect a wealth of data and explain their decisions to customers or potentially rule out any false claims.
Augmenting surgeries: In operating theatres, IoT sensors are being deployed to collect, transmit and analyse data so that connected robots can perform surgeries. These connected tools and IoT applications can also be used to streamline the tasks medical staff have to perform to keep patients safe before and after surgery.
The Internet of Things is redefining the healthcare industry. And it’s not just healthcare. Driven by enhanced automation, data collection, and analytics, we are only just starting to witness the truly transformative nature of this network of connected objects. Want to find out more about how emerging tech is transforming the world as we know it? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, below.