Internet of Things in Healthcare: Features and Opportunities
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The market of the Internet of Things is growing fast. Eventually, people delegate more and more tasks to smart devices. According to Statista, user spending on the Internet of Things has doubled since 2017. Medicine is an important area of IoT application. The use of the IoT in healthcare makes treatment more accessible and simple. Let’s discuss the future of the market and top healthcare areas that require new solutions.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things or IoT is a system of interrelated, internet-connected devices that communicate over wireless networks automatically. It allows users to forget about routine tasks and manage their daily activities through smartphones. In the long term, the results of IoT implementation will significantly restructure economic and social processes. Eventually, these processes will require no human intervention.
Here are some areas where IoT is used:
IoT healthcare market: Size and perspectives
Initially, investors and engineers considered medicine a slow and conservative area. That’s why integrating IoT in healthcare took so long. However, it turns out that medicine faces an uncountable number of challenges, and this number has grown over the years. Besides, the healthcare industry has to continuously improve patient safety and minimize risks through multiple means, including through the usage of IoT.
What influences the market growth?
- COVID-19 was one of the key factors that influenced the development of IoT in medicine. It has contributed to the creation of hundreds of quality products related to patient monitoring, room control, and more. This reduced the risk of a specific infection. Now, IoT devices in medicine are becoming more widespread.
- Insurance companies and investors also made a great contribution to the development of the healthcare market. They are interested in developing new analytical solutions for preventive purposes.
- Manufacturers are also interested in improving IoT healthcare devices and producing innovative solutions. They understand the value of not only the treatment but also the collected data, as well as the high level of security. Hence, they help develop the field of medical devices.
What awaits us in the future?
Now the market of IoT in healthcare is growing as fast as other areas of business related to medicine. According to Markets and Markets, the global healthcare IoT market will grow from $72.5 billion in 2020 to $188.2 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 21%. Although the market is large, it lacks simple and useful solutions. Some people are still skeptical of machines, so it’s crucial to create products that convince customers of the value of IoT-based products. The combination of modern technologies and an abundance of opportunities allows the IoT in healthcare market to grow rapidly and replenish with new products. The result is a comfortable treatment and healthier people.
IoT in healthcare: Top areas used
One of the key success factors of a medical and any other startup is a correctly chosen niche. Here are some promising areas of IoT in the healthcare industry that could become your business ideas:
Let’s take a closer look at some examples of IoT in healthcare.
Personal health monitoring devices
Most medical IoT devices are used to monitor patients to know when they will need help. These technologies can be used for:
- Tracking blood glucose levels. 1 in 10 people suffer from diabetes, making such smart medical devices vital for many people. The CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) constantly controls glucose indicators and sends the collected data to smartphones, so patients don’t need to go to a laboratory or buy a special glucometer. Besides, these mobile devices can share collected information with healthcare professionals and patients’ families.
- Monitoring heart condition. Нeart rate checks do not protect people with health issues from rapid changes in their condition. Conventional continuous cardiac monitoring devices require patients to be constantly connected to wired machines. Conversely, medical devices for heart rate monitoring allow patients to move freely, while their heart health is kept constantly under control. According to Trail Runner, these devices are 90% accurate.
- Managing mental health. IoT devices can also be useful for those who are prone to anxiety or depression. These devices monitor patients’ heart rate, blood pressure, and even eye movement. Besides, special medical apps regularly ask patients about their condition. Clients stay calm and notice deterioration in its early stages.
- Producing smart contact lenses. Wearable devices powered with IoT technology will help people see better. They can also be integrated with other digital health services. For example, they allow customers to take pictures just by looking at the object. These technologies can turn human eyes into powerful tools for interacting with the world.
- Hand washing notifications. Previously, such devices were not in-demand, but now more hospitals are implementing them. Wearable sensors detect the level of hand contamination and notify patients to wash them. Certainly, such devices cannot wash hands instead of their owners, but CleanLink experts argue that such technology can reduce the spread of infections by 60%. Thus, they can also lower healthcare costs.
These examples of IoT devices have beneficial consequences: healthy patients, better treatment, and safe life. With thorough idea development and competent execution, they are radically changing people’s lives.
Keeping track of all equipment, especially in large clinics, is challenging. The lack of good monitoring systems can lead to sudden breakdowns, which can at best affect the company’s financial performance and, at worst, the health of patients. IoT sensors embedded in equipment lower these risks. They notify the hospital staff of malfunctions in a tomograph or an increase in temperature in a refrigerator with biomaterial. Healthcare providers are able to react quickly and fix problems with minimal harm, also improving patient care.
During the pandemic, disinfection solutions have been especially relevant. The Internet of Things allows medical devices to monitor the condition of rooms and, if necessary, disinfect them, freeing personnel from this task. Thus, hospitals and clinics maintain a healthy microclimate which is good for patient health. Such solutions can be used not only in a medical facility but also in other public places such as cafes, cinemas, shops, malls, etc.
Managing healthcare organizations
The rising automation makes lives easier. In medicine, it’s a way to remotely track medications, keep medical records, and monitor available medical equipment for procedures and research. Software applications can be useful to patients. They help navigate huge hospital complexes and find the needed wards or medical professionals. Organization management products can be useful across all patient care industries.
Virtual wards and hospitals
To reduce the burden on medical personnel, virtual hospitals have been opened in many countries. For instance, doctors at RPA Hospital in Australia use pulse oximeters that measure blood pressure and oxygen saturation and armpit patches that measure temperature. Thanks to such devices, both parties are exposed to less risks to their health. Additionally, they can react to changes in time and take emergency treatment measures.
Examples of medical technology application
Many projects that entered the Internet of Things market on time have become in-demand all over the world. Here are some interesting startups to guide and inspire you.
MedAngel. Ambient temperature control sensors
Some medicines get spoiled at high temperatures. Artificial intelligence technology in medical field allows MedAngel IoT sensors to monitor temperature and environmental conditions in a healthcare facility and alert the user if they are near a critical point or if medications have already been spoiled. This project is essential for those who take heat-sensitive drugs, improving health conditions and simplifying the treatment process.
Medicsen. Automatic drug delivery system
Such health systems consist of implanted wireless IoT medical devices and external drug delivery devices. They monitor a person’s vital signs and regulate the amount of medication injected. Users have access to individual personalized data. Predicted glucose levels based on patient personal health information could help to avoid potential risks during the device operation.
Elfi-Tech. Self-test devices
A patient monitoring system with self-test options allows patients to check their blood, urine, etc. and monitors patients’ indicators. Hence, people do not have to waste time queuing at medical centers, especially if they have to control these indicators all the time. Test results are immediately available in the app connected to the tester. The device non-invasively measures skin blood flow, blood flow velocity, coagulation, vascular status, and relative cardiac output (RCO) in addition to pulse and movement.
Self Care Originals. Smart healthcare systems
Systems detect symptoms of an asthma attack, heart attack, or epilepsy before they start. They automatically notify owners and designated trustees to alert them of dangerous changes right after the detection. They work in conjunction with the app and web portal and help asthma patients set medication reminders, collect data, and manage treatment plans.
InPen. Smart injectors
Smart pens-injectors automatically record the time and size of the medication dose used. They immediately recommend the next dose. The devices interact with smartphone apps that store and share information to help patients calculate medication dosage and get analytic reports.
Benefits of IoT in healthcare
The use of IoT in healthcare has countless benefits. Here are the main ones:
- Significant improvement of treatment outcomes. The reason for this is the high accuracy of the data collected by IoT devices. These devices allow medical workers to accurately monitor the conditions of patients and implement the necessary treatments.
- Medical errors are minimized. Patient information can be quickly collected and sent to experienced doctors or to cloud platforms. AI-based algorithms can also help make decisions based on existing data.
- Cost savings. With IoT in healthcare, non-critically ill patients will be able to stay at home, while IoT devices track and send important information to the healthcare facility. Consequently, patients will not have to stay in hospitals for too long, and doctors will be able to direct their efforts to the treatment of the severely ill.
- High level of safety. This is especially important during the pandemic when it’s necessary to protect the sick as well as the medical staff. IoT devices allow medical personnel to monitor the condition of patients and medical facilities while minimizing contacts between them. For example, these devices can provide information about the cleanliness of the air and the regularity of room cleaning.
- Future-oriented solutions. Initial investments in this area involve implementing IoT infrastructure, installing devices, and training employees to work with software systems. However, after creating an IoT ecosystem, medical workers can easily integrate new gadgets as they are developed. A smart hospital with IoT support will be years ahead of similar institutions equipped with standard solutions.
How do you choose an IoT solution development company?
If you want to provide your patients with valuable medical tools, choose your IoT contractor carefully. Here are some of the essential factors to consider when choosing a development company to work with:
Contractor’s areas of expertise
Surely, before looking for contractors, you will have decided on a business problem that you need to solve. For example, you want to treat a certain disease or help patients track certain metrics. Look for similar projects in the potential partner’s portfolio and search for expert articles on the company’s blog.
Feedback from other clients
Find out what other customers are writing about the product and its creator, your future contractor. You probably won’t find a review for a project equal to yours. Nevertheless, you can learn more about skills and the company’s level of customer service. This will help you find an effective partner.
The users of your solution will be patients. It would be helpful to find their reviews on the products of your potential partners. This will give you some useful insights that will help you make a final decision when choosing a contractor.
Think about tomorrow: what other tasks might you want your product to do? How can you expand your audience? What other benefits can you bring to people? Discuss the answers to these questions with your potential partner. If both parties are ready for long-term and fruitful cooperation, the result will be an invaluable solution that benefits you and your clients for many years.
We have extensive experience in engineering for the healthcare industry. We design, develop and optimize innovative solutions. With Azoft, more than 50 medical companies have already achieved success. We are sure that healthcare is one of the most rewarding fields of use of the IoT in healthcare. People value modern medicine and want to be healthy. If you offer them the right and quality product, they will choose you instead of your competitors. Have an idea for a MedTech project? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will be happy to create it with you.