The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the way we live tremendously. Worldwide, billions of devices are already connected to each other via the Internet, sharing and collecting meaningful data. Especially for the healthcare industry this means innovations in medical devices, medicines, patient information and patient monitoring. In short, the new technologies react quickly, save money and lives.
Time-consuming examinations and tests in the laboratory are gradually becoming a thing of the past. The reason for this is the Internet of Things, because sensors in smartphones, watches, fitness and medical devices provide accurate real-time information. And best of all, doctors and patients can be physically separated from each other in order to obtain medical advice. One also speaks of location-independent patient monitoring.
The 24/7 doctor
Is it possible to receive medical care without a doctor being physically present? The Internet of Things makes it possible – especially older patients benefit significantly from it. The use of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) aims to monitor and care for the elderly and the sick within their own four walls. In addition, IoT technologies are used such as fall sensors that are incorporated into carpets or door thresholds, surveillance cameras that detect when the person is not doing well and motion sensors in beds. Another technology is telemonitoring, which enables medical professionals to control patient values in real time regardless of location and to react accordingly.
Prevention comes first
In addition to convenient patient monitoring, the Internet of Things can identify health problems at an early stage and avoid long-term consequences. In the wellness and fitness industry, smart watches, pedometers and fitness bracelets store valuable data and provide information about blood pressure and blood sugar. In medicine, so-called “activity trackers” check if patients follow the recommendations of doctors and physiotherapists and sensors in the refrigerator and in scales provide information about the patient’s diet behaviors and weight.
With the help of different apps on the market, initial forecasts can also be made from home. With this skin cancer app, for example, you can identify changes in your moles from an early stage. If black skin cancer is detected promptly, it is more likely that it will be cured. The app doesn’t replace a screening by a specialist but it helps to detect skin changes. You can download the app for free in the App Store.
No, you don’t have to swallow sensors, at least not yet. However, during treatment with medication, sensors can be worn on the body to control the effect of the medicine given. By using an app, patients can access the data themselves and also give doctors permission to check it. It can also be used to determine if patients are taking their medication as prescribed. Thanks to the IoT, not only the treatment methods for patients have improved, but also medical devices and facilities. Damage to expensive devices can be recognized in advance and malfunctions or incorrect operation can be avoided. Manual checks are replaced by remote sensors and doctors also have the option of locating devices within the hospital. Therefor the devices are easier to find in emergency situations – the patient can be treated more quickly and as we all know acting in time can save lives, which once again makes the Internet of Things a hero.
The message is clear: patients, doctors and medical technicians should definitely take advantage of the new technologies.