IoT in Healthcare and Its Top Benefits, Challenges and Applications

iot in healthcare

Did you know the global IoT healthcare market is projected to reach $530 billion while the revenue will reach 135 billion U.S. dollars by 2025?

There are plenty of technologies, such as AI, ML, AR/VR, etc., creating a buzz in the healthcare industry. As a result, these technologies became widely popular in healthcare, albeit some of them turned out as mere gimmicks or overhyped.

But, the one technology that has not just become popular within the healthcare segment but also transformed the industry is IoT. The healthcare industry is growing with the advent of the Internet of Things. The technology allows the industry to bring in new tools and workflows, helping them provide better care of patients and improve efficiencies at reduced costs.

So, if you are exploring the potential of IoT in healthcare, then this article is for you. We have brought you detailed explanations of the top applications of IoT, its benefits and challenges in the healthcare industry. But first, the IoT in the healthcare market first.

IoT Market and Other Stats to Understand Its Progress in Healthcare

According to Business Insider, the digital healthcare market will reach $500 billion by 2025, while the Internet of Things in healthcare will reach $534 billion by 2025.

The revenue segment is also expected to grow rapidly, with 24 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 to $136 billion in 2025.

Image Source: Statista

The stats given here have said it all, and you must have understood the potential of IoT in the healthcare sector. Now, let’s explore the core parts: Its benefits, applications and challenges.

Benefits of IoT in Healthcare

IoT comes with considerable benefits in the healthcare sector, from patient care and time management to reduced error and effective management. Installing IoT devices into your medical, healthcare or pharmaceutical business can be beneficial. Let’s explore;

Better Patient Care Experience

Imagine a patient comes to a clinic, and he does not have to stand in a queue to get their appointment booked. In other cases, a patient with chronic diseases needs 24/7 monitoring and reporting to get better treatment. In yet another case, a patient needs to be kept under constant watch so that he can be attended to fast in the case of a medical emergency.

IoT connected devices are the answers to these issues. IoT enables hospitals and clinics to provide real-time monitoring to needy patients. The devices will keep patients under constant watch and create reports on a daily basis. Besides, it will alert doctors instantly if any medical emergency occurs with the patient. Similarly, IoT can do a lot of things to provide better care and experience.

Reduces Human Error

If you are running a large hospital or clinic, you must have a large workforce to handle mundane tasks. However, there are times when errors occur. But, when it comes to patient care, committing errors can be fatal. For that reason, being entirely dependent on human resources can harm your business. IoT connected devices can handle this task smoothly without committing any error.

No doubt, IoT connected devices for patient monitoring can bring an overload of data, though those data can be utilized for better diagnosis. With IoT enabled tools, doctors can keep track of patients and their activities and reaction to the diseases.

Streamline healthcare system

With the integration of IoT-connected devices and software, hospitals or clinics can streamline their work process. There are plenty of tasks in hospitals that consume a lot of time for doctors and other staff. At the same time, they can be easily automated using the right technology —IoT connected devices.

Most importantly, IoT can also help doctors to carry out smooth and processed surgery by arranging all the proper equipment they need.

Control Over Environment and Staff

Like IoT-connected devices transform workplaces into smart offices, the healthcare industry can also turn their space environment into patient, staff and doctors friendly. For example, hospitals can control temperatures, electricity consumption, and more by integrating connected devices.

Besides, IoT devices, such as wearables, determine that the doctors and staff follow healthcare working standards by tracking if they are washing their hands regularly.

Top Challenges of Integrating IoT into Healthcare

No doubt, IoT is a boon for the healthcare industry, foothold immense potential to transform the sector, but it does not come without challenges. You may have to face challenges, though you can do away with them by taking precautions. So, let’s understand the challenges of IoT in healthcare.

Data Security and Data Privacy

Security was not the core focus area for the IoT system. As a result, it lacks in many security-related factors, such as;

  • Architectural issues
  • Lack of encryption
  • Easy to access control
  • Lack of resources
  • Wide range of devices
  • No broad experience
  • Breach through physical devices
  • Composite ecosystem

IoT in healthcare involves plenty of sensors to measure temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, Oxygen level, and various other things. Unfortunately, these devices may lack data protocols, and that poses a huge security risk.

Hospital information, including patients and doctors’ essential data, can be hacked and misused.

Data Handling and Resource Management

The IoT applications, whether it is remote monitoring of clinical operations or others, are data-centric. In contrast, data coming from various sources may not be helpful for analytical and insight purposes. The data mix and come without segmentation. It will impact the decision-making process. How will you make any right decision if you don’t have the facts or insights at hand?

Higher Costs

Whether it is to develop an IoT application and create the proper infrastructure, you may have to spend money. However, it will be completely worth the costs if IoT applications are implemented prosperity. Besides, when you receive data from plenty of resources, you may need a highly configured computing system to segregate those data.

Top IoT Applications in Healthcare

IoT app development is on the rise, not just for healthcare but various other sectors, including manufacturing, product and service sectors. There are plenty of IoT applications used in the healthcare sectors alone. They are used for different purposes, reasons and treatment. Hospitals choose to implement IoT devices based on their needs. Some decide to improve their infrastructure, staff management, space management or inventory management, just like smart office tools, while some choose to provide better care for their patients and doctors. Here are the top IoT applications primarily used in the market;

  • Remote temperature monitoring
  • Health and Medical data transferring tools
  • Sensors to ensure air quality
  • Tracking devices for drug effectiveness
  • Vital signs data capturing
  • Sleep time tracker/monitor
  • Smart band
  • Healthcare charting
  • Computer vision technology
  • And, more

Similarly, there can be plenty of devices and applications used in healthcare to provide better care and manage the hospitals and clinics smoothly. Let us make this easy for you to understand. IoT in healthcare can be divided into three main categories;

  1. IoT applications for patients
  2. IoT applications for doctors/physician
  3. IoT applications for hospitals

1. IoT applications for patients

Devices like IoT enabled wearables (including fitness band) and other devices like cuffs and glucometer to monitor heart rate, Sp02, blood pressure and more. With these IoT connected devices and applications, patients can easily track their calorie count, monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and track daily exercise. All you need is to have the right equipment and IoT applications.

2. IoT applications for doctors/physician

IoT has plenty of applications for doctors to monitor their patients remotely, track their health, provide minor diagnoses remotely, and more. Devices like wearables and monitoring equipment help doctors provide medical treatment to patients in need. In addition, these devices help doctors and physicians keep them attentive and more focused while treating patients with serious illness. For example, IoT devices let them be more watchful and get an instant alert if any patient needs immediate attention.

At the same time, IoT devices also help doctors keep themselves protected. For example, it will track if they regularly wash their hands (with the use of wearables).

3. IoT applications for hospitals

There are numerous IoT applications for hospitals that can help them track medical supplies, inventory and much more. For example, with IoT tagged sensors, hospitals can track the real-time location of medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, defibrillators, nebulizers, etc. and manage the usability. In addition, IoT connected devices, such as hygiene monitoring, will help staff and patients get infected.

Final Words

The use of IoT and its connected devices are vivid, no matter what industry you want to use it for. For example, in healthcare, IoT connected devices can be a lifeline, no just for your business success but also for the betterment of patients. So, we hope you get the most out of the IoT technology by implementing it into your hospitals and clinics.

IoT in Healthcare and Its Top Benefits, Challenges and Applications
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