The Internet of Things (IoT) and integration of devices into all facets of daily life holds lots of promise, but perhaps the area where it holds the most promise is healthcare. It is estimated that "646 million IoT devices will be used for healthcare by 2020" (Internet of Things 2015 Report, BI Intelligence). Combined with visual communications and devices like sensors IoT has the potential to elevate healthcare to an entirely new level.
HEALTHCARE IN 2020
Advances in technology have given individuals the tools to be an active participate in their own health and wellness. The recent popularity of consumer health monitoring devices such as FitBit or the Health apps on Smart Phones is giving individuals a wealth of data that didn’t exist previously. Other devices such as insulin pumps and pacemakers are giving patients the freedom to be at home or out and about but sharing relevant information with their healthcare provider about their medical status. These new devices are both delivering valuable data and lessening the need for doctor and patient interaction which enables more patients to be treated.
IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES
What does the hospital of the future look like? Here are a couple of scenarios that if they aren’t happening already aren’t too far in the future.
1. Elevating operating and treatment room efficiency
By using sensors that monitor whether a room is occupied and pushing that information to screens and devices like tablets or mobile phones schedules can be updated in real-time and staff easily notified. Optimizing the use of space benefits not only the hospital and its staff but also patients by reducing waits and increasing the number of people who can be treated.
2. Personalized experience
What if everyone knew your name and what you needed? Devices and sensors like RFID are making this possible. Imagine walking into a hospital and the wayfinding is customized to what you have scheduled for the day and shows you how to get where you need to go. Perhaps screens in waiting areas keep you up to date on your specific wait. Or maybe your hospital room is personalized for you and information on tests and appointments is easily accessible on your TV screen.
The options for IoT in healthcare are endless. With these options comes some potential concerns like information security, but that is a discussion for a different day!