We have briefly looked into IoT in Healthcare in my previous blog post on the industry, but it was only a quick look. The world of never-ending gadgets that can help you look after your health is enormous, and the market for all things smart is only growing.
Internet of Things can and will bring so many advancements to healthcare, this is just a matter of time. For those who don't know what IoT is, it's basically "things" that are packed with sensors and another tech, but their biggest advantage is that they are able to speak to each other, exchanging data in real-time. We still have a long way to go, but with so many sensors already built-in in our smartwatches, bracelets, and even phones, there are a lot of ways they can be used for good. IoT devices enable doctors to monitor patients, providing easy access to their current condition. They can also alert relatives or concerned healthcare providers of any emergencies that might occur.
Heart Rate & Blood Pressure
Being one of the easier things to implement, remote monitoring is definitely something that will make hundreds of lives easier — from both sides. Doctors will be able to adjust treatment plans with ease, tracking patients' health at any time, and patients will get a chance for a faster recovery. Even now your smartwatch can collect such data as heart rate and blood pressure, the most basic but highly valuable metrics. With only these many of the illnesses can be caught early and prevented altogether, and if not, at least help with the recovery. How will it work? After receiving data, the device will forward it to the application on your phone, where your doctor can review it. One of the biggest concerns at this stage is security: there will be too much sensitive data transferred and any breach will put people's lives in danger.
Diabetes has always been a real struggle for people. The most difficult and somewhat tedious thing about it is constant glucose monitoring, but it's not even the worst part of it. Glucose levels fluctuate a lot and periodic testing only helps so much. Continuous Glucose Monitors or CGMs can help to mitigate or get rid of the fluctuations completely. On a whole new level would be automatic insulin pumps which can measure your blood sugar, calculate the amount of insulin needed, injecting it throughout the day.
There are thousands of people suffering from respiratory illnesses, and in times of COVID, they have to be twice as careful and caring about their health. The biggest problem, as always, is failing to adhere to the treatment plan, which leads to worsening of the condition and sometimes even death. Doctors can do only so much, as there is no way to control how the patients use medication, be it wrong or right. Smart Inhalers would be a miracle — imagine if people with asthma could track their inhalations and doctors could see how often they use their medication, adjusting the dosages if needed.
Assisting the Elderly
When the elderly are left without any supervision, many risks arise. Emergencies can happen at any time and there is no guarantee that they will be able to call 911 themselves. Apple has done a pretty good job with their smartwatches. They included a feature that can alert any chosen relatives and call an ambulance if the watch detects a fall and the person is not responding. Preventing the cause of some of these emergencies is a priority though. Older people often have a lot of prescriptions and bad memory, so devices like smart speakers would be a great thing to have.
We have come a long way in preventive medicine throughout the years, but there are still so many advancements that we are about to have, it's kind of dazzling what we'll be able to do. Just imagine all of the smart devices connected into a seamless network, gathering your health data. Doctors will be able to catch many diseases early on, and I believe that with machine learning and AI, smart devices will be able to do that as well. It is much easier to prevent something than treating it, so we'll surely see some advancements in preventive medicine in coming years.