IoT is not only limited to home automation and smart home devices. It also offers a number of new opportunities for healthcare professionals to monitor patients and self-monitor. In addition, the diversity of wearable IoT devices presents many benefits and challenges for both healthcare providers and patients.
1. Remote monitoring of patients
Remote patient monitoring is the most common application of IoT devices in healthcare. IoT devices can collect heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and more from patients who are not physically present in a medical facility. Health statistics can be collected automatically, eliminating the need for patients to visit caregivers or collect them themselves.
When an IoT device collects patient data, it sends the data to a software application for viewing by healthcare professionals and/or patients. Algorithms can be used to analyze data to recommend treatment or generate alerts. For example, an IoT sensor that detects an abnormally low heart rate in a patient could trigger an alert for a healthcare professional to intervene. A major challenge for remote patient monitoring devices is keeping the highly sensitive data collected by these IoT devices secure and private.
2. Glucose monitoring
Blood sugar control has traditionally been difficult for more than 30 million Americans with diabetes. It is inconvenient to monitor blood sugar levels and record results manually, but only to report the patient's blood sugar levels at the time of the test. Regular testing may not be enough to identify the problem if levels vary significantly.
IoT devices can help overcome these challenges by continuously and automatically monitoring a patient's blood sugar level. Glucose monitoring equipment eliminates the need for manual data entry and alerts patients when there is a problem with blood glucose levels.
Challenges include designing an IoT glucose monitoring device that:
all. Small enough to allow continuous monitoring without disturbing the patient
rain. It does not consume much power and requires constant charging. However, this is not an insurmountable problem, and devices that address it promise to revolutionize the way patients interact with glucose monitoring.
3. Heart rate monitoring
As with glucose, heart rate monitoring can be challenging even for patients in a medical facility. Regular heart rate monitoring does not protect against sudden heart rate fluctuations, and traditional continuous heart monitoring devices used in hospitals require patients to be constantly connected to wired devices, reducing their mobility. Today, there are a variety of small IoT devices for heart rate monitoring, allowing the patient to move freely and continuously monitor the heart. It is still difficult to guarantee highly accurate results, but most modern devices can provide an accuracy of around 90% or better.
4. Hand hygiene management
Traditionally, there has not been a good way to ensure that caregivers and patients in health care facilities wash their hands properly to reduce the risk of spreading contamination. Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities today use IoT devices to remind people to sanitize their hands when entering the hospital room. The device can also provide instructions on how to disinfect to minimize specific risks for certain patients.
5. Depression and mood control
Information about a patient's depressive symptoms and general mood is another type of data that has traditionally been difficult to collect consistently. Health care providers can sometimes ask patients about their mood, but they cannot predict sudden changes in their mood. Patients often do not accurately report their feelings. Mood-aware IoT devices can overcome these challenges. The device can collect and analyze heart rate and blood pressure data to gain information about the patient's mental state. Sophisticated IoT mood monitoring devices can also track data such as the patient's eye movements.