The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to revolutionize the health-care industry. With IoT it is possible to connecting smart gadgets and wearable devices to the technology infrastructure of hospitals or doctor’s offices, which would enable a kind of predictive maintenance for humans, or predictive health care. Devices strapped onto or even embedded in patients can feed a continuous stream of data that can alert healthcare professionals to an impending heart attack, stroke or other potential incident.This ability to monitor a patient 24/7/365 provides an unprecedented quantity and quality of data that improves diagnoses and care.
Technology trends that can revolutionize Indian Healthcare
Mobile healthcare applications : The global healthcare industry is quickly recognizing the benefits of mobility-enabled applications and data. Mobile technologies can help support healthcare providers with data anytime-anywhere, reducing medication errors by as much as 75%. Mobile technologies can also make a significant difference to other areas within the healthcare sector such as remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, education and awareness, training of healthcare workers, disease management, compliance with taking medications, locating a pharmacy / hospital, or availability of health records and medical tourism.
Patient Care with context : Better patient care by recording and monitoring patient records and reducing the risks of infections, all without any human intervention. Physicians get the benefit of proven, best practice knowledge with a database of thousands of current evidence-based guidelines that can help lead to patient care specific to each patient’s context.
Greater Operational Efficiency with better insights : Capturing both Remote Monitoring Data and Service Data with the use of smart, connected device drives up operational efficiency. Patient diagnostics and information is tracked real-time without the need for human intervention, significantly reducing the time spent by doctors, lab operators, and hospital staff.
Healthcare Asset Tracking & Management : Improve Staff Efficiency, Increase Equipment Utilization and Lower Operational Costs with Automated Asset Tracking and Management.
Health-care in Indian Economy
With India’s enormous population, high rates of poverty, and limited resources, the health-care system is hard-pressed to serve the Indian people.India has inadequate health-care infrastructure and a shortage of human resources. It has trouble treating the seriously ill and has little chance to provide preventive care. Empowering technology applications can disrupt Indian health care by extending care to more citizens, improving quality of care, and reducing the cost of care. Remote health services take advantage of mobile communication to emerging technologies such as advanced genomics which promise better results through customised, targeted medicines for individual patients.These technologies together could create $25 billion to $65 billion a year in economic value in 2025. On top, this would be the incalculable blessings of less disease,more live births and surviving infants, fewer deaths per year, and longer life spans.
9 technology-based services that can transform health care in India
- Remote health care – Access to expert medical advice via video chat over mobile Internet
- Technology-enabled health workers and health-care centres – Health workers and government health-care centres using cloudbased apps to manage patient enrolment, diagnosis, treatment, medication, and follow-up
- Automated inpatient care – E-learning and simulated learning to shrink training time for nurses; smart ICU systems for reminders, protocols, alarms, and recording patient data
- Electronic medical records – Easily accessed and consistent medical histories and clinical decision-support systems for improved care across locations and over time; accessible to patients with a variety of providers.
- Low-cost medical devices – Affordable point-of-care diagnostics and mobile diagnostic capabilities for local health workers through easy-touse medical devices that leverage low-cost Android smartphones
- Remote monitoring – Low-cost portable monitors that track health parameters; advanced drug delivery systems that provide customized dosing and remote monitoring
- Big data disease tracking – Detection and mapping of disease outbreaks; prevention and containment of epidemics; planning treatment capacities; tracking of progress using smartphones and social media
- Genomics-based medicine – Cheaper and faster gene sequencing to identify patients at risk for serious diseases; tailored therapies based on genetics of patient/tumour
- Detection of counterfeit drugs – Unique serial numbers, electronic tagging, and tracking technologies used at each stage of supply chain to detect and reduce counterfeiting.
Addressing barriers to technology adoption
Adoption of new delivery models and processes in health care is held back not by a lack of technology, but by human and institutional factors—resistant to change in how care is delivered, the ways in which medical professionals and institutions operate, and how different stakeholders in public health work together. As a result, many pilot programmes remain localised and do not scale up. In addition, health-care professionals have limited understanding of technology. Even now, the public health system struggles to use available technologies. Change is also frustrated by the number of stakeholders in health care. Separate health authorities operate at the national and state levels, and no simple system coordinates the efforts of government, NGOs, health-care experts, and technology companies.
To overcome these obstacles and take advantage of empowering technologies to improve Indian health care, action will be needed by government and policy makers as well as by the private sector. Governments could start by making use of technology to improve the capabilities of existing public health centers a top priority. India has more than 175,000 public health centers (primary health centers, sub-centers, community health centers, and district hospitals), and the number will grow by 2025.
Today, many public health facilities lack computers and diagnostic equipment—or even reliable electricity. At a minimum, health centers should be equipped with Internet access, tablets or smartphones for health workers, and solar or battery-based electricity supply.These simple setups can enable the use of clinical decision-support systems, attendance monitoring, health worker management systems, video-based remote consultation, and low-cost diagnostic devices. Similarly, existing high-priority national health programmers to reduce infant and maternal mortality and to curb HIV and polio,for example, can benefit enormously from technologies such as disease mapping and remote diagnostics.
Certain applications of IoT in Health-Care
Apple Watch – A wearable technology that can monitor heart rate and the output data could be connected to hospital’s systems. An algorithm that could detect a pattern which can indicate you about the heart attack you are going to have. The hospital’s systems would alert you through a text message or phone call to tell you to strap on your defibrillator vest. An ambulance would be called to your home and the hospital would be alerted to have a cardiologist standing by. This is truly using streaming, real-time, mobile data for predictive health care.
Artificial pancreas – This is an example of IoT taking place inside the body with implanted sensors that analyze your blood and communicate with an implanted pump device that can administer the correct dose of insulin. This kind of closed-loop application can potentially revolutionize the lives of patients who suffer from some loss of organ function–in this case, people with Type 1 diabetes.
Smart Pacemakers – A smart pacemaker can help to identify when a person’s heartbeat becomes irregular. It can be more effective in preventing further heart damage than standard pacemakers .These highly programmed pacemakers reduced by 26 percent patients’ risk of death, hospitalization for heart disease and permanent irregular heartbeat. This can also inform medical staff if a patient’s device is failing or if other vital signs have changed with the help of smart sensors. Pacemaker manufacturers can monitor the performance of their devices and use IoT data to design better devices for the future.
Deep Learning Drones – Patient data from IoT sensors also benefit others if it is collated and analyzed in deep learning algorithms. For example, an algo could look at 5,000 photos of skin lesions and can learn which ones indicate skin cancer. That way, using an app, you could take a photo of a worrying mole on your skin. An algo then compares your photo to its database. If it looks likely to be skin cancer, the app could alert your dermatologist’s office which would then call you to make an appointment.This kind of diagnostic application could be very useful in parts of the world where medical care and expertise are scarce. If patients do not have to travel tens or hundreds of miles to receive a diagnosis, more can be treated. Drones could deliver emergency medicines for those with treatable diseases.
Healthcare – Innovations to inspire your thinking
The variety of wearable devices and associated mobile applications presents a unique challenge to the medical community as to how it should best access and incorporate fitness device data in their patient records. To bridge the divide between medical and fitness data, a US-based company has developed an mhealth API that provides a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant approach to integrating patient data from both medical and fitness devices for evaluation by doctors and their patients. This platform is already compatible with data from more than 80 fitness and medically-certified devices and their associated applications including wearable devices, connected weight scales and other home monitoring devices. This represents an important step forward in the consumerisation of healthcare by providing a secure, standardised means of utilizing data from wireless health devices.
Growing field of applications such as Vsee, Vidyo, TelemedicineIM and Secure Telehealth that offer the medical community a secure means of video calling with patients. Utilising a broad array of connected devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, these applications provide substantial benefits to medical practices and patients by limiting patient travel for in-person appointments. Use of such platforms can increase the total number of patients evaluated in a day by as much as 40% with even greater potential in the future.
Humans are probably most interested in the use of IoT to save or prolong life. Wearable, implantable technology along with drones is going to revolutionize healthcare, moving closer to a model in which IoT sensors monitor your health continuously. This reduces the number of expensive and unnecessary clinic visits, saves patients and hospitals money, and can save lives.
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