Internet of things (IoT) has gained significant popularity in recent years. It’s applied nearly in every field of business. Healthcare is not the exception of the list. Hospitals are those places that always need to improve their services in order to cover the needs of a larger number of people and cope with new challenges arising every day. In-patient and out-patient healthcare use IoT technologies to monitor the condition of the patients, organize productive communication between the hospital employees, and prevent diseases via control over specific health metrics. Internet of things not only takes the medical science to another quality level, but it has also established the brand-new field in high-tech, called the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). This is an interactive system of different gadgets (wearable and stationary) which are connected to each other, collect and process the data for specific needs via the mechanisms of the related software. With IoT, software development for business also gained changes, as the clients from the field of healthcare are constantly looking for more sophisticated solutions. Hiring additional employees to cope with rising demand for in-patient services proved to be not a good solution, as hospitals try to optimize their resources. Applying new smart equipment, on the contrary, gives doctors the possibility to control the process of treatment in different patients simultaneously. That’s become possible with the help of different sensors and monitoring equipment, which allows check the vitals of a patient in the distance mood and make decisions immediately if something changes spontaneously.
Now, let’s analyze the most visible advantages of applying IoT in the healthcare:
1) Effective data management
Data management in healthcare is quite a difficult area, as the information must have multiple access on different levels: departments of the hospital, laboratory, medical staff, and patients. To optimize the quality of services and save the time of the patients, their personal records must be absolutely reachable 24/7 and always up-to-date. So, IoT is called upon to collect the information on the patient’s condition from different inner sources, form the general health history of the patient integrating the data from different departments of the hospital, update it due to the changes and results of new examinations, and make it available for the patients online.
2) Automation of the routine tasks
IoT business automation has gained a wide usage to improve the quality of communication between the hospital administration, doctors, and other allied specialists. Wearable gadgets allow colleagues to be in touch and constantly get the updates on the patients’ condition. Besides, business automation for hospitals with the help of IoT increase time-efficiency in the fulfillment of routine tasks. As we know health records are one of the most sensitive types of data, that demands attention and accuracy during its entry and processing. Even a small mistake can cause lethal consequences, as in the field of healthcare our lives are on the line. To eliminate the human factor, these processes are given to the machines, that help save time and control the accuracy of the storing data. IoT is widely used to create sophisticated metrics for monitoring the state of in-patient and out-patient clients.
3) Patient experience
Software development and IoT have gained such a popularity in healthcare, as they help improve the quality of user experience. Clients nowadays lack time to call the hospital on every minor issue and wait in the long queues in the clinics. That’s why many hospitals all over the world apply IoT technologies to reduce patient waiting time and gain the client’s loyalty. Successful experience shows from 15% to 60% of the waiting time reduction in different hospitals. Doctors’ late arrivals and patients’ early coming are reimbursed by the timely patient ticketing and proper patient distribution. Again, the other strategy which had been used before IoT was the increasing of hospital human resources. It showed little profitability, as the profit from waiting time reduction was difficult to compare with the increasing operation cost of hiring and maintaining additional staff. The other improvement brought by IoT is the increased convenience of some healthcare services. For example, e-prescription of the medicine to permanent patients, who previously had to visit the hospital each time they needed the new prescription, for example, diabetes patients and other people suffering from chronic diseases. Now, with the help of new technologies, what they need is just to send the request to their doctor and get the new prescription online.
4) Drug management
Out-patient drug management needs serious control, as many patients have to take different kinds of medicine simultaneously. Age and general health condition of the patients play an important role in the quality of medication. Some patients simply get a lot of stress, the others need constant reminders and the overall control of the dose and frequency of the medicine taking. If the patient continues the therapy at home, outside of the hospital, it’s usually difficult for the doctors to have everything under their control. For such situations, the IoT provides additional options for both patients and doctors. Wearable smart devices can be tuned to remind about the time of medication and the dose in order to avoid forgetting or too long intervals between the drug intake. On the other hand, specific digital mechanisms allow doctors to have constant access to information on the dose and frequency of medication. Elderly patients sometimes can’t control their own medication, that’s why this function falls on the shoulders of their family members or social workers. Not being a specialist in the field, these people need additional instructions on the process of therapy. Here gadgets and software with the installed medication plan are indispensable. For many patients, who can’t live without certain medicines, IoT not only improves the quality of life but also helps to save the life.
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