Advantages and Drawbacks of Internet of Things in Healthcare

The healthcare sector is of paramount importance to the modern state. The continual advancement of technology and therapeutic solutions has rendered the industry highly dynamic. One such advancement is the Internet of Things (IoT), a cutting-edge innovation in the healthcare sector.

To maximize its applicability and use cases in healthcare, business owners must understand how to make the most of IoT in healthcare and the benefits and challenges of using it. Additionally, they must also know how it’s changing medicine and how any new technology can help make a much larger difference than expected.

When Asked to Define IoT, What Do You Say?

The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to a system in which everyday objects are equipped with electronics (such as sensors and software) that enable them to connect to each other and exchange and receive data. If collected and analysed securely, the vast amount of data available in the healthcare sector could potentially lead to a considerable improvement in the quality of care provided to patients.

How Is the Internet of Things (IoT) Impacting Medicine?

When considering healthcare, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to bring about numerous changes. Wearable devices can now be used to gather essential data such as heart rate, activity level, sleep habits, and more. This gathered information can be used to detect any potential health issues. Furthermore, IoT can be used to remotely monitor patients, enabling those in remote regions or with limited mobility to receive the same level of care as those who can travel.

IoT is also changing the way doctors and medical professionals use medical devices. For example, many hospitals use IoT-enabled devices to track inventory and streamline operations. Some medical devices now even connect to the internet and share data with healthcare providers in real time. This allows for more accurate diagnosis and treatment of patients while also allowing for more time spent actually speaking with patients.

The Value of Internet of Things in Medicine

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to revolutionise healthcare. One of its key benefits is the potential to improve medical treatment. This could be achieved through a variety of means, including but not limited to:

  • IoT devices can be used to track the vital indicators of a patient, such as their heart rate and blood pressure. In addition to monitoring the patient’s condition, these devices can provide real-time alerts to their caretakers if their medication needs to be altered.
  • The Internet of Things offers a potential solution to improve hospital asset management. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags can be used to track surgical tools and other equipment, and sensors can be used to monitor the whereabouts of medications and other supplies.
  • Furthermore, Internet of Things (IoT) technology could help healthcare establishments to reduce their energy consumption. As well as monitoring and regulating the environment for patients and personnel, smart sensors can also monitor and adjust factors such as temperature and air flow.
  • IoT-enabled tools can help to enhance patient security in healthcare facilities. For example, biometric scanners can be used to control access to restricted areas and video surveillance cameras with AI can be deployed to monitor activity.

The implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in healthcare settings has the potential to provide real-time data on patients’ vital signs and improve overall operations. To capitalise on these opportunities, security measures must be put in place to ensure the safety of the data. Additionally, there are supplementary gains that could be gained from the use of IoT in healthcare, such as:

  1. Successful treatment of patients
  2. Save money
  3. Diseases are diagnosed sooner
  4. Care coordination has been improved
  5. The patient’s level of participation has increased

Internet of Things (IoT) Security Threats in the Healthcare Industry

The Internet of Things (IoT) holds the potential to revolutionize healthcare, but there are significant obstacles to overcome. Cybersecurity is a major concern due to healthcare facilities’ need to remain up-to-date with the ever-changing threat landscape. The proliferation of connected devices increases the risk of compromise and must be addressed accordingly.

Another challenge is interoperability. For IoT devices to be effective, they need to communicate with each other and other hospital systems. However, many IoT devices are proprietary and use proprietary protocols, which makes integrations difficult.

Also, there is currently a lack of standardization in the healthcare industry, which makes it difficult to develop and implement IoT solutions. For example, there is no standard way of collecting patient data or managing medical devices. This lack of standardization makes it difficult to develop applications that remain usable across different hospitals.

Below are a few other challenges that need to be addressed before the healthcare sector can widely adopt the technology. These include:

  1. Issues of data privacy and security
  2. The importance of cross-platform compatibility for technological products
  3. The possibility of making mistakes
  4. There is a potential for cyber assaults.
  5. Disappointments with the Regulatory Process

Recent Internet-of-Things Medical Technology

The utilisation of IoT devices in healthcare is increasing rapidly, due to the potential to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. Predictive analytics, which can help to prevent hospitalisations, is one example of the impact these devices are having.

These devices will undoubtedly only continue to become more popular and widespread in the healthcare industry in the years to come. There are many different types of IoT devices used in healthcare today. Some of the most popular include:

  • The use of pressure ulcer-preventing smart beds
  • Instruments worn by patients to monitor their vital signs
  • Instruments for monitoring patients remotely
  • Implantable medical devices that use the Internet of Things

Wearable devices and smart beds can contribute significantly to improving patient care and optimising healthcare operations. For example, wearables can provide real-time vitals data, while smart beds can help to reduce the risk of complications for patients who are confined to bed. Remote patient monitoring technologies can also help to reduce hospital readmissions.

Some New Internet-of-Things Devices Already in Use in Medicine

  • Utilizing Internet of Things (IoT) technology, the Philips Remote Patient Monitoring System facilitates remote patient monitoring by the care team, which has the potential to enhance health and reduce hospital readmissions.
  • The Medtronic MiniMed 670G Insulin Pump is a pioneering device which utilizes Internet of Things (IoT) technology to automatically adjust insulin dosage in response to changing blood sugar levels. This can significantly improve an individual’s glycemic control.
  • GE Healthcare Vscan Extend is an example of an IoT-enabled portable ultrasound system, providing enhanced diagnostic data accessibility to improve patient care.

The healthcare sector has seen a rise in the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices for everyday applications. It is anticipated that, as technology develops, IoT will be increasingly utilized in more inventive and meaningful ways.

IoT: An Improvement or a Distraction?

The potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve healthcare, from individual treatment to population-level management, is vast. However, in order for it to be widely adopted, there are a number of cybersecurity issues that must be addressed, including cybersecurity threats, incompatible systems and a lack of standardisation.

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