Published On: Mon, Aug 21st, 2017

Internet of Things Healthcare: Smart Control of a Dental Chair and Other Ideas

When it comes to the Internet of Things, healthcare is both one of the most promising and at the same time most delicate areas of its application. After all, healthcare involved processing personal information, and many people may feel that IoT makes it too easy to access. It deals with human health and well-being, which means that everything should work flawlessly. IoT development projects take much time to think of every possible detail thoroughly to get the safe and successful solution. Nevertheless, healthcare IoT is very much a thing already, it already makes medical service faster and more convenient – and it is only a beginning.

screenshot of video health care workers

Let’s take a look at a few situations where it makes a difference.

1. Smart Control of Medical Equipment

Smart remote control of medical equipment has long been a very important challenge for the medical industry, but only with the advent of the IoT, it could have been made widespread and convenient. It is far from being a fringe application – for example, the Healthcare Internet of Things Company has recently developed software for one of the oldest (with more than a century in the industry) and best known dental equipment manufacturers that allows a new model of a dental chair to be remotely controlled via a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

2. Closed-Loop Insulin Delivery

Here we are talking not just about insulin delivery, but any kind of medical equipment that gathers information about the patient and alters its activity based on the received data. In this excellent example of patient’s initiative – Dana Lewis, who lives with Type 1 diabetes, hacked into her own CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) and her insulin pump, connected the feeds from both devices using self-written software and managed to control her blood sugar more efficiently and effortlessly than ever before. If it can be done using jury-rigged software, imagine what can be achieved with professionally written tools.

3. Activity Tracking

The lack of trustworthy information about the patient’s activity is what often makes it difficult to define which treatment courses are more and less effective, whether the current treatment works and so on. The use of activity trackers to gather lifestyle date about patients can lead to more efficient treatment both in terms of individual patients and medical science in general.

4. Treatment Plan Control

Another problem doctors often face is the lack of adherence to prescribed treatment plans on the side of a patient. Some people forget to take their medicine while others omit to do so deliberately. Devices like inhalers can be equipped with sensors to gather the data about whether a patient actually uses his medicine at prescribed intervals and smartphone apps can be developed to remind them about the need to do so on time.

5. Reduced Number of Errors

A continuous and accurate collection of data, automated workflows and a huge amount of statistical information available for doctors will lead to more efficient operating of hospitals, fewer errors in all stages of treatment and less waste.

6. Adjustable Monitoring

Daily cost for patients, especially those who have to stay at the hospital during their treatment, is extremely high (over $1800 in the United States). New monitoring systems developed by the Internet of Things companies can allow a huge percentage of patients to undergo treatment at home while still receiving immediate attention of healthcare professionals via the use of remote systems. This can dramatically decrease the expenses both for them and the healthcare system.

7. Early Intervention

Too often medical science fails to save a life or prevent harm simply because doctors came into the picture too late. Devices that can monitor a person’s daily activities can go a long way towards saving his or her life: by noticing a sudden drop of blood pressure, changes in heartbeat and so on. Not only people who live alone but also active individuals (e.g., hikers) can benefit from this.

As you may see, potential (and current) applications of the IoT in healthcare are limited only by the ingenuity of the inventor. This is progress – we will see more and more of it in the near future.

Author: Melissa Burns

image by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from Flickr Creative Commons.

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