IoT in Healthcare Sector
Home > Blog > IoT in Healthcare: Trends, Benefits, Use Cases & More

IoT in Healthcare: Trends, Benefits, Use Cases & More

02 Jan 2023

The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming an increasingly important aspect of several industries. The healthcare industry is no exception, and its impact on the vertical is multiplying. It helps optimize workflows for healthcare providers and doctors through medical IoT devices.

Though when we think of IoT in healthcare, we mainly talk about smart sensors and, eventually, smart hospitals. Yet the solutions go way beyond this. IoT enables healthcare organizations to offer personalized, accessible & precise healthcare services. From remote health monitoring to transmitting real-time alerts, we’re witnessing the varied IoT applications for the healthcare industry.

In this post, we will discuss the importance of IoT in healthcare through trends, benefits, use cases, used technologies & much more. So, let’s get started!

Table of Contents:

What is IoT in Healthcare?

It refers to a network of inter-connected medical devices, software applications & hardware infrastructure. Based on the exchange between specific devices equipped with built-in sensors and other tools.

The digital healthcare transformation has led to the emergence of the medical IoT or simply the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

IoMT deals with smart, sensor-supplemented devices from the medical vertical. They enable the collection & monitoring of patient information to treat them better.

While IoT-based healthcare services are popular & accessible, they get implemented across clinical processes. The factors driving the growth of the Internet of Things in healthcare include:

  • Increasing focus on patient-centric care delivery
  • Higher usage of smartphones
  • Easy availability of high-speed connectivity & networking solutions
  • Proactive digital health initiatives by governments across the globe
  • Enhancement in the usage of technologies like artificial intelligence, big data & robotics that combine with IoT to offer innovative healthcare solutions
  • Fast adoption of cloud computing facilitating the implementation of IoMT
  • A rise in consumer health consciousness
  • Higher demand for remote health monitoring (post covid pandemic)
  • An increasing need to lower healthcare costs

The data collected from IoT-based devices is vast & opens up enormous opportunities. So, which segments in Healthcare utilize IoT?

Healthcare Segments Utilizing the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

IoT benefits many sub-segments of the healthcare sector. However, we will focus on the three crucial elements.

  • Patients: Provides access to remote, better & quick healthcare services
  • Healthcare Providers: IoT-based home monitoring equipment & wearables help physicians connect with their patients and provide treatment consultation.
  • Healthcare Facilities: Enable automation of their administrative operations & optimize processes. It enhances staff productivity & offers cost-effective yet better healthcare services.

Benefits of the Internet of Things in Healthcare

IoT healthcare applications and intelligent devices are aimed at helping three primary user groups: 1) medical specialists, 2) patients & 3) medical institutions.

Below are some of the vital IoT benefits in healthcare for the user above. They include but are not limited to the following:

Cost-efficiency

  • Remote health monitoring & care with IoT devices & apps cut costs for patients. It reduces hospital stays & frequent doctor visits by allowing non-critical patients to stay at home.
  • Healthcare facilities benefit by streamlining & automating many activities & enhancing their staff productivity.

Improved Treatment

  • Enables physicians to make evidence-based informed decisions and bring about absolute transparency.
  • The statistical data collected from IoT devices help medical care better align with the patient’s real problems. The doctors gain greater visibility for better diagnosis & healthcare planning.

Early Disease Diagnosis

  • Supports clinicians to diagnose diseases in their early stages or even before the disease develops with first symptoms, thanks to the analytical capabilities of IoT.
  • The doctors get real-time data via continuous patient monitoring to make proactive care decisions.

Reduction in Errors

  • IoT captures data generated through devices to enable smooth management of healthcare operations.
  • The automated data collection & analysis results in reduced diagnostic errors & better, faster healthcare outcomes.

Personalized Care

  • The IoT devices, apps & wearables can be tuned to remind patients about their doctor appointments, calorie count, exercise level, and more.
  • IoT specifically benefits elderly patients & people living alone by enabling an alert mechanism. It informs their family members & healthcare providers about the disturbance in their routine.

How Does the Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT) Work?

Usually, IoT products work in four stages. They are all interconnected regarding how the data is captured or processed.

  • Phase 1: Interconnected Device Deployment: It would include sensors, actuators, monitors, detectors, and camera systems that collect the data
  • Phase 2: Data Digitization: To aggregate & convert the digital form of analog data received from sensors & other devices
  • Phase 3: Cloud Migration: After the received pre-processing & standardization, the data is moved to the cloud data center
  • Phase 4: Insight Extraction: The application of advanced analytics to this final data after management & analysis helps bring about actionable insights
How Does IoT Work in Healthcare?

Need IoT Solution for Your Facility?

We can help you build a custom solution that offers cost efficiency and enhances productivity.

Type of IoT Devices Used in the Healthcare Industry

We can classify the types of IoT devices based on their use. They include:

  • Diagnostic IoHT devices: They help doctors make quick & accurate diagnostics. It includes monitors for glucose, heart rate, hand hygiene, depression, etc.
  • Preventive smart devices: Like fitness trackers that help users lead a healthy lifestyle & prevent disease. They also contribute patent data for analytics leading to the evolution of preventive medicine.
  • Treatment-focused devices: They simplify and improve the overall treatment process. Examples include ingestible insulin pumps & sensors, medication dispensers, etc.

Examples of IoMT devices include:

  • Wearables: Comprises external medical devices like smartwatches, fitness bands, etc. They could be highly complex, like a temporal artery thermometer connected to a smartphone.
  • Implantable medical devices: Physicians place these devices into the bodies of patients with critical diseases & monitor medical vitals with the help of software. For instance, doctors implant a pacemaker in the patient’s chest to control the heartbeat.
  • Stationary medical devices: These are the IoT-powered devices used in healthcare facilities. They automate & streamline some clinical tasks, thus helping doctors focus on more critical tasks requiring human intervention.

IoT Use Cases in Healthcare

While there are many applications of IoT in healthcare, we’ve listed some of the crucial ones here.

  • Emergency Care: The outcome of emergency care depends on the quality of data received & information collected when the patient is on the way to the healthcare facility. Utilizing IoT devices for data collection or transmitting data in real-time helps the emergency staff prepare & provide better & quick medical assistance.
  • Remote Health Monitoring & Care: The medical IoT devices collect patients’ data (heart rate, temperature, etc.) not physically present in the hospital but at a remote location like a household. Doctors can obtain data via custom software, conduct analysis & send medical advice. They can also track the need for immediate medical attention & the diversion of the patient from the prescribed healthcare routine.
  • Mobile Healthcare: Mobile apps for healthcare IoT devices transfer data concerning the medical conditions or physical activities of patients to smartphones. It helps physicians give prompt online consultations. Also, patients can monitor various health indicators themselves without professional help.
  • Tracking Patients, Staff & Medical Assets: Using IoT devices like RFID tags, BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacons, or wireless ID cards with RTLS (Real-Time Location Systems), medical facilities can track patients & staff & locate inventory/assets. It helps them manage patient admissions & increase the security of the hospital. They can trace relevant staff members in case of emergencies & also reallocate free resources.
  • Enhancing Surgeries: Operating rooms have AI-powered robotic devices that perform various surgeries with greater precision. IoT sensors & apps accurately collect, transmit & analyze data concerning surgeries & help in preventing complications. They also streamline the pre and post-operation activities of the medical staff.
  • Electronic Healthcare Records System (EHR): Systems equipped with the Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT) can help doctors get real-time information on patients’ reports requiring immediate attention. Similarly, patients with chronic issues can contact doctors anytime via IoT in healthcare solutions. While most EHR systems collect static data, we can help you modernize them & integrate IoT to gather & analyze dynamic data as well.
  • Real-Time Health System (RTHS): A software solution framework to integrate administrative, clinical & operational workflows. It is one of the crucial systems for a modern-day smart hospital. It removes data silos & helps healthcare systems become more situationally aware and get visibility into critical patient events & clinical data. RTHS increases collaboration between operational, clinical & administrative teams & enhances the quality of healthcare services.

Rishabh Software's Capability to Build an IoT-enabled Healthcare Solution

We at Rishabh Software help Companies and their healthcare workforce with practical IoT-enabled healthcare systems. The Healthcare industry is one of our focus sector verticals, where we have completed complex technology enablement projects.

We make the most of IoT technology, from data collection and analysis to system integration and support. Leverage our IoT application development services to learn how to use them for your IoT implementation.

Here’s a use case from our experience;

Case Study: IoT-powered Asset Tracking Solution for Smart Healthcare

A UK-based indoor mapping service provider serving the healthcare industry wanted to help one of their clients. They were in pursuit of a technology partner to develop a platform that maximizes asset efficiency, improves responsiveness, and minimizes operational losses. With thousands of tools and devices spread across multiple levels, the medical staff lacked the visibility they needed for optimum asset use. Additionally, manual floor plans made it challenging to track movable medical equipment during the need of the hour.

We developed a Real-time Location System (RTLS) for a healthcare facility that faced visibility issues in optimally utilizing medical assets & inventory. With our IoT capabilities, we helped;

  • Build a mobile app for seamless navigation of the facility and a web application to track assets.
  • Installed BLE tags to track medical equipment via the web application. It provides usage history & other data for optimized use of resources.
  • Converted the XML-based vector image of the floor plan into interactive 2D maps. It provides a foundation layer for navigation & asset tracking.
  • Implemented an AI-based routing system that uses the shortest path algorithm.
IoT-powered Hospital Asset Tracking Solution

The solution included features like:

  • A digital map for smooth navigation across the network of services, patient rooms, pharmacy & other medical amenities.
  • Tracking of used & idle assets with IoT sensors.
  • Role-based access for the staff based on hierarchy & confidentiality.
  • Voice-based navigation that helps users reach desired destinations while accurately displaying the position & distance of the equipment or location.

Key takeaways:

  • Gained 100% visibility into medical assets with complete control of resources.
  • 50% reduction in the time spent navigating the complex facility.

Final Words

As IoT in healthcare grows, and IoMT devices continue to evolve, we can expect healthcare facilities to become more advanced. It offers better patient outcomes, better experiences for patients and visitors, and improved work environments for physicians.

With more devices and data, we can expect to gain new insights into medical environments, patient care, and treatment options. And, with access to data, doctors can identify trends and discover unique aspects of medical care which were previously difficult to understand and utilize. We at Rishabh Software have IoT app developers equipped to help you with your app idea, no matter how complex it is. Contact us today!

Looking for an Experienced IoT Tech Partner?

With our multidisciplinary experienced team, we can help you address the diverse needs of your industry vertical.