The Medical Internet of Things

The health care industry, like every other industry today, is jumping on the connectedness bandwagon. Recent trends indicate a higher rate of adoption for technology driven healthcare, and The Internet of Things is quickly becoming the Medical Internet of Things. Here’s one example: Philips launched a wearable device for chronic illness last year in partnership with Netherlands’ Radboud University Medical Center. Using this proposed COPD device, Philips collects data from patients at home and reports them to health care professionals through the company’s HealthSuite Digital Platform. This wearable device collects data such as physical activity, heart rate variability, heart rhythm, sleep quality, sleep apnoea, respiratory indicators and more after patients leave the hospital.

But to fully understand what our digital future holds, we must first understand what the Internet of Things is and how the health care industry can derive benefits from it.

Internet of Things in Medicine

According to tech experts, the Internet of Things (connected devices and apps) is becoming more and more an integral part of our everyday life, and that includes health care. Many companies and health care providers are showing interest in using connected devices and apps to make their primary product/service more accessible.

Wearable devices have made it possible for health providers to monitor a patient’s health remotely using actuators, sensors, and other mobile communication devices. These devices are more popularly referred to as the Internet of Things for Medical Devices or IoT-MD. They help by transmitting a patient’s vitals onto a secure cloud-based platform via a gateway. The data collected is stored, combined, and analyzed on these platforms.

Applications of IoT-MD

In order to improve quality, the Internet of Things for Medical Devices is quickly becoming more sophisticated. Connected medical devices are able to help health care professionals provide exceptional care to patients that results in better clinical outcomes, but in a more cost-effective way. These devices are used for:

  • Elder care and pediatric care
  • Personal health and fitness management
  • Chronic disease management

Consider the following examples of two IoT-MDs. One is designed for patients, while the other is for designed for medical practitioners:

iHealth BP5 (for Patients): This wireless blood pressure monitor makes it possible to check blood pressure at any time, from anywhere. It also allows patients to instantly share the collected data with their caregiver. Using the free iHealth mobile app (compatible with iOS and Android), patients can track and measure systolic/diastolic blood pressure numbers several times a day.

Medscape (for Health Care Professionals): This app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Developed by WebMD, Medscape is extensively used by physicians, nurses, medical students, and health care professionals for clinical information. This free mobile app already has more than 4 million registered users. It provides fast and accurate clinical information.

Benefits of The Medical Internet of Things

  • Improved patient outcomes
  • Reduced cost of care
  • Disease management in real time
  • Improved quality of life & user experience

While health care professionals are struggling to improve patient outcomes, the Medical Internet of Things manages a cost-effective and timely response. Connected healthcare – The Medical Internet of Things – has the potential to have a massive impact on our rapidly aging population, as cloud computing, big data, and mobile technology, and all other related technology, continues to evolve.

What IoT-MD are you currently using? What advantages do you see in the future with further development and adoption of IoT-MD by health care providers?

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