In 2023, many industries have experienced advancements due to various trends, but healthcare has seen particularly remarkable progress due to the need for swift and effective responses to the global health crisis caused by COVID-19.
Consequently, we have observed a rise in the utilisation of telemedicine as a method of social distancing and containment. Artificial Intelligence-driven algorithms have been employed to quickly evaluate the infection, propose possible treatments and formulate a vaccine. Furthermore, we have identified unusual robotic healthcare assistance applications.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly being adopted as a promising technological innovation. During the epidemic, the advantages of smart 5G-powered thermometers for monitoring patients with fever, as well as smart wristbands and rings that collect vital indicators such as heart rate and blood oxygen levels, have been clearly demonstrated. The data gathered in this way can be further analysed.
As impressive as the applications of the Internet of Things (IoT) have been to date, the future of this technology looks even brighter, with some signs of progress already visible. Let us take a moment to reflect on some of the most notable examples.
Machines with Displays that Can Be Worn
The use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices for patient monitoring is becoming increasingly prominent within healthcare. I recently discussed the use of smart thermometers, wristbands and rings to monitor vital signs. It is clear that this technology is not just a passing trend, as its applications are truly remarkable.
For example, a specifically designed IoT device may be utilised for remote glucose monitoring by regularly and automatically measuring the levels at pre-defined intervals and transmitting the data to a central monitoring device. In addition, there are hand hygiene monitors that act as a helpful reminder for physicians to clean their hands before and after attending to patients at risk of infection.
The mood monitors and Parkinson’s disease trackers have been significantly advanced. The former are ‘mood-aware’ devices which are capable of monitoring physiological data (such as pulse rate and eye movement) and inferring the user’s emotional state. Parkinson’s disease sufferers no longer need to spend long periods being monitored by healthcare professionals, as there are now dedicated monitors designed to help manage the symptoms associated with the illness.
These devices offer more than simply aiding patients with their symptoms. Healthcare professionals need to collect data so that they can use Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered solutions to gain a deeper understanding of the causes of certain changes.
Portable, Swallowable Sensors
As wearable devices are only able to record external information, their capabilities are limited. In contrast, certain diagnostic procedures require a more intrusive approach, such as the use of a camera and probe to investigate the esophagus and stomach, which can be uncomfortable and time-consuming. Researchers are exploring edible sensors as a possible alternative.
Imagine a miniature sensor, no larger than a pill, that can track your vital signs from within your body. This would enable healthcare professionals to monitor a range of indicators, such as the pH level of the stomach, to detect any developing health problems, including cysts, internal bleeding and tumours.
Businesses are collaborating with leading IoT specialists and leveraging IT staff augmentation to create an ingestible sensor that can be consumed and then expelled or dissolved once its purpose has been fulfilled. If they continue to make progress, we may anticipate the first edition of these sensors to be available in the near future.
Medical Equipment Implanted Inside the Human Body
Devices which are not taken orally can also be utilised to monitor internal health. Additional Internet of Things devices are currently being developed to address other widespread problems which require in-body monitoring.
By utilising real-time air quality readings and alerts when conditions deteriorate, intelligent inhalers may offer improved quality of life to millions of asthma sufferers. This could enable physicians to monitor attack frequency and environmental elements in order to identify triggers.
Smart contact lenses offer a range of healthcare possibilities, including providing vital signs and special considerations to surgeons during surgery. Furthermore, they can be beneficial to patients with difficulty seeing clearly in varying lighting conditions, as the lenses automatically adjust to the environment, providing cues to aid vision focus.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is offering exciting opportunities in healthcare, particularly in the form of robots that are able to travel internally to carry out sophisticated treatments. This technology could lead to shorter hospital stays, less scarring and quicker patient recoveries, as surgeons are able to perform procedures with extraordinary accuracy.
It is no joke: robotic technology has been trialled successfully in various medical applications, such as removing malignant tumours and performing eye surgery with impressive precision. Although it is not yet commonplace, the healthcare sector has a strong and beneficial relationship with robots, and it is likely that robotic technology will be widely adopted in the near future.
For Success, IoT Integration Is Essential
By connecting all of the aforementioned gadgets, as well as other Internet of Things (IoT) devices, into a smart network, their value is increased. Healthcare IoT devices could potentially have a greater impact on medical practices and patient wellbeing if integrated with other solutions, such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, 5G and Edge Computing.
By combining real-time monitoring capabilities with analytical algorithms, a more advanced digital environment can be created that provides a more comprehensive understanding of the human body, its illnesses, maladies, and diseases. This is advantageous not only because it helps us to gain a greater insight into how our bodies operate, but also because it has the potential to save lives by providing essential data that enables more effective and efficient healthcare.
In conclusion, healthcare IoT devices must progress beyond basic connection to ensure the deeper integration that would enable them to provide improved service to patients and optimise care delivery. Thanks to the technological advancements made during the pandemic, we are now closer than ever to achieving this vision.