The last couple of decades have seen extensive research in technological upgrades across all key industries. This, of course, includes a great deal of innovation in healthcare services. Specifically, the Internet of Things (IoT) has demonstrated vast application potential that is proving to be particularly revolutionizing in connectivity. This, in turn, unlocks new opportunities for enhancing clinical research, delivering care, expanding the palette of services that can be made available, and more. Below, we explore some of the advantages of IoT in the complex field of patient diagnostics.
1. The Next Big Data Revolution
In the late 2000s, when cloud computing was coming of age, “the big boom of data” was set into motion and has since driven some of the fastest technological advancements to date. An essential enabler for all things IoT, cloud computing has provided the processing power that is required when collecting and analyzing large amounts of data.
The possibilities of today allow for a multitude of sensors to focus on and relay scores of key patient data. IoT enables unprecedented collection and connectivity, which supports researchers and physicians in delivering ever faster and more accurate diagnoses, as well as carefully adjusted treatment — timely diagnosis and a correctly individualized approach to treatment have a direct impact on the quality of patient recovery.
2. Highly Refined Clinical Research
Data collected in real-time allows for highly refined clinical research — an ecosystem of specialized sensors, apps, and devices can work together to enhance understanding of existing patient and diagnostic data through analyzing real-time activity in a complex array of settings and situations.
In fact, sensors can collect environmental information along with physiological data, thus enhancing the quality and precision of understanding the health conditions of the patient. Furthermore, IoT makes it possible not just to reach more patients but to reach more patients at a time, which significantly increases research efficiency. Consequently, with enough data and the necessary processing power, mining this wealth of information can uncover new actionable insights and pave the way for faster, more accurate diagnoses.
3. Reduced Diagnostic & Care Costs
Patient diagnosis is seldom straightforward. It is still too often the case that identifying the ailment or abnormality at fault is only possible through extensive physical analysis in the hospital. Moreover, patients might be required to stay in the hospital throughout the administration of treatment.
Consequently, healthcare costs add up, strain builds upon healthcare staff and facilities, and the limited capacity of the healthcare infrastructure is not used at optimal efficiency. Unfortunately, this affects not only healthcare infrastructure in large urban centers but is particularly hard on patients and facilities in rural or otherwise remote locations.
Healthcare IoT (HIoT) can take at least some of the strain off physical clinics and hospitals if properly integrated with health monitoring and diagnosis procedures. Miniaturized devices, much like the smartwatches we are largely accustomed to by now, can transform healthcare from a hospital-centric system to a patient-centric one.
Clinical analyses and physiological information such as temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose, partial pressure of oxygen, electrocardiograph (ECG), electroencephalograph (EEG), and more, can be performed and collected remotely without the in-person participation of a healthcare professional. Subsequently, IoT can facilitate the communication of clinical data to any healthcare center, no matter how remote the point of data collection.
4. Diagnostic Data Security
Of course, responsible IoT design can ensure that data communication between patients and healthcare providers is not just comprehensive and efficient but also highly secure. Combined with the processing power of cloud computing, healthcare IoT can provide patient privacy and data security through all stages of the HIoT ecosystem: data collection, transmission, processing, and storage.
As a breakthrough to the age of quantum computing is approaching, healthcare stands to benefit greatly from IoT adoption. Along with machine learning, artificial intelligence, and high-end computational algorithms for analysis and prediction, we could soon achieve significantly superior data security, smart connected networks of hospital and supporting services, and real-time analytics over IoT data streams that can radically improve the process of patient diagnostics. We could also transform traditional methods and inefficient, unstructured data systems into streamlined flows of information across the healthcare spectrum. This would lead to discovering new knowledge, vastly improving early detection, enhancing the quality of life, and more.
5. With Wide IoT Adoption Come Great New Opportunities
With technological advances already making headway at the fastest pace yet, countless new possibilities might be closer in the future than we anticipate: wearable tech as an effective diagnostics tool for elderly and frail patients at home; future trends such as Bio-IoT, Nano-IoT, or the Internet of Nano Things opening up new avenues of timely diagnosis and care for neonatal or even prenatal patients; smart thorough scanning that yields a human digital twin to be used instead of even minimally invasive physiological investigations; and much more.
As technology is increasingly integrated into processes, patient records, and diagnostics, medical care is undergoing rapid changes. Though it might not always seem so from the outside, healthcare is one of the most complex and rapidly adapting fields of IoT application and has the potential to drive major breakthroughs across its own, as well as related fields, in the years to come.
If you want to build a digital health product that can improve people’s lives, but are not sure where to start, contact the SMEDIX team and let’s start working on your product.