Numerous sectors have witnessed progression owing to diverse trends by the year 2023; however, healthcare has made exceptional gains mainly due to the urgency to provide rapid and efficient solutions to address the worldwide health emergency triggered by COVID-19.
As a result, we have witnessed an increase in the adoption of telemedicine as a means of promoting social distancing and disease control. The use of Artificial Intelligence-based algorithms has expedited the diagnosis of infections, recommended probable remedies and developed vaccines. Moreover, we have discovered uncommon applications of robotic healthcare assistance.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly gaining traction as a promising technological advancement. During the pandemic, smart thermometers powered by 5G technology have proved to be advantageous in monitoring febrile patients. Moreover, smart wristbands and rings collecting vital signs such as heart rate and blood oxygen levels have demonstrated clear benefits. The data obtained in this manner can be further analysed.
Despite the impressive accomplishments of the Internet of Things (IoT) so far, its potential for the future looks even more promising, with clear indications of progress already emerging. Let us pause for a moment and examine some of the most significant examples.
Wearable Machines Equipped with Displays
The integration of Internet of Things (IoT) devices for monitoring patients is becoming even more prevalent in healthcare. As discussed earlier, the use of smart thermometers, wristbands and rings for monitoring vital signs has gained significant attention. Undoubtedly, this technology is more than just a short-lived trend, given its remarkable applications.
One particular instance is the employment of an exclusively tailored IoT device for remote glucose monitoring. It regularly and automatically measures glucose levels at predefined intervals and then transfers the data to a central monitoring device. Furthermore, there are hand hygiene monitors that serve as a helpful reminder for physicians to sanitize their hands both before and after attending to patients at risk of infections.
The development of mood monitors and trackers for Parkinson’s disease has been notably enhanced. The former, called ‘mood-aware’ devices, can monitor physiological data (e.g. pulse rate and eye movement) and deduce the user’s emotional condition. Parkinson’s disease sufferers no longer have to endure long periods of monitoring by healthcare professionals, as dedicated monitors have now been devised to help manage the symptoms associated with the condition.
These devices provide more than just support for managing symptoms in patients. Healthcare professionals must obtain data to enable them to utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tools towards gaining a more profound comprehension of the roots of specific shifts.
Sensors That Can Be Swallowed and Carried Around
Since wearable devices are only capable of capturing external data, their potential is restricted. Conversely, some diagnostic procedures necessitate a more invasive method, such as utilizing a camera and probe to examine the esophagus or stomach, which can be arduous and lengthy. In view of this, researchers are investigating the viability of ingestible sensors as an alternative.
Envision a tiny sensor, comparable to a pill in size, that can monitor your vital signs from within your body. This would allow healthcare practitioners to supervise various indicators, such as the stomach’s pH level, so as to detect any impending health issues, including tumors, cysts, and internal bleeding.
Companies are joining forces with top IoT experts and adopting IT personnel augmentation to develop an ingestible sensor that can be ingested and then discarded or dissolved once its mission is accomplished. With further advancements, we can expect the first available edition of these sensors soon.
Implanted Medical Equipment Within the Human Body
Apart from oral devices, there are other devices that can be used to monitor internal health. More IoT devices are currently under development to target other prevalent issues that necessitate in-body monitoring.
Intelligent inhalers could provide better quality of life to millions of individuals suffering from asthma by using real-time air quality readings and alerts when conditions worsen. This facilitates physicians to oversee attack frequency and environmental factors to pinpoint the triggers.
Smart contact lenses present an array of healthcare opportunities, such as providing vital signs and unique instructions to surgeons during procedures. Furthermore, they can assist patients who struggle with clear vision in different lighting conditions, as the lenses auto-adjust to the surroundings and offer cues to assist with visual focus.
The healthcare sector is replete with thrilling prospects with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), most notably in the form of robots that can traverse internally to execute complex treatments. This technology has the potential to shorten hospital visits, reduce scarring and hasten patient recuperation, as surgeons can perform procedures with exceptional precision.
It may sound paradoxical, but robotic technology has proven to be effective in many medical procedures, including the removal of cancerous tumors and performing meticulous eye surgery. Though not yet prevalent, the healthcare sector shares a robust and advantageous association with robots, making it highly probable that this technology will become widely embraced in the foreseeable future.
IoT Integration is Crucial for Success
Integrating all the aforementioned gadgets, along with other Internet of Things (IoT) devices, into a sophisticated network elevates their worth. Healthcare IoT devices can have a more significant impact on medical procedures and patient health if integrated with other solutions, such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, 5G, and Edge Computing.
When real-time monitoring capabilities are fused with analytical algorithms, an advanced digital ecosystem is formed that offers a better understanding of the human body, its afflictions, disorders, and illnesses. This is advantageous not only for gaining deeper insights into our body’s workings but can also potentially save lives by offering crucial data that contributes to more efficient and effective healthcare.
To provide enhanced service to patients and refine care delivery, healthcare IoT devices must advance beyond basic connectivity and achieve deeper integration. With the technological advancements made during the pandemic, we are now closer than ever to realizing this goal. Improvements in this direction are essential, and the ongoing progress of IoT solutions will bring about significant benefits for the healthcare industry.