Creating a world where everyone and everything is connected, is the vision around which the concept of IoT revolves. It is going beyond the confines of mobile and laptops. It is shaping up every facet of our lives.
From a customized shopping experience to sitting in a self-driven car, it is set out to change the way we live our lives and the way we plan our day. IoT is now ubiquitous. It is wearable and implantable. It is something as unrealistic as our devices recording our activities, talking to each other and sharing the details of our day, deciding what course of action would be better for us as opposed to what we might be planning and suggesting us how to go about things. But, it’s all real. It is a well-organized technology enabled ecosystem that walks with us to assist us to optimize our lives.
Now, imagine the impact of this when implemented in the healthcare industry segment. IoT enables remote monitoring of things with real-time data collection and constant monitoring. In the scenario of Indian healthcare, where there is a shortage of medical facilities and resources, remote monitoring of non-critical patients can take off the load from the medical field to a large extent. Further benefits can be realized considering the fact that the patient doesn’t have to stay bed-ridden to stay connected to various machines. He gets the freedom to get on with his daily routine his medical condition is being taken care of the wearable IoT which sends real time stats to the physician.
Healthcare companies have been making huge investments in IoT because it is the next big thing in the field. Although they have just started to scratch the surface of what IoT is expected to do, there have already been some breakthroughs in the field which will lead the way to greater success. The most important and earliest progress can be seen as biosensors. Consider Glucose biosensors which are wearable and work on the principle of biochemical reactions triggering electrical signal which is transmitted wirelessly to an associated device. This technology has been attributed to the reduction of incidents of hyperglycosemia. ECG sensor is another example which measures the heart activity and aims to detect heart attacks in heart patients.
Not only is remote monitoring convenient with respect to resource utilization, it is also more economical for the patient in a longer run as opposed to occupying a bed in a medical facility. Not only the patient can choose to avoid the cost incurred for availing the medical facilities, can go back to work now and start earning again.
The idea behind IoT in the medical sector as well as the pharmaceutical industry is to gather real time data about patient’s health, distributed over various devices like biosensors, smart phones etc, analyze it and transmit it to the cloud and raise warnings and alarms when necessary. One of the most significant enabler for this, can be considered to be the advancements in the field of big data and cloud storage. The unsuccessful attempts of having a consolidated track record of the patient, recording both historical and current data in hospitals has become possible. Blockchain technology is being employed for safe data storage and secure data exchanges between organizations.
Apart from this, IoT has also improved the standards of living of people by facilitating devices for personal monitoring. The most common and heard of example can be wireless activity trackers like Fitbit, Mi Band etc. With an appearance of a digital wrist watch, these devices do much more than just show time. They measure parameters like number of steps taken, heart rate, quality of sleep, steps climbed and many other factors of fitness depending on the offering.
This data can be transferred to the mobile phones wirelessly into the corresponding application to receive a comprehensive fitness report. People are more conscious about their dietary habits now and more aware of the results of their physical activity. They have a better knowledge to choose the life they live in order to avoid health problems. IoT is the digital transformation of healthcare amongst everything else in the world. The comprehensive ecosystem that it creates, is what makes IoT the road ahead in the health sector, offering chances to ambitious entrepreneurs waiting to pounce on opportunities and trends.
To conclude with the healthcare industry overview, we cite the small example of SiCureMi, an initiative by a group of eccentric individuals set to disrupt the health care industry using IoT wearables, data analytics, and machine learning. They are poised to become one of the major players in healthcare industry in India. SiCureMi is an online portal backed by predictive algorithms that track health parameters from IoT wearables and makes intelligent conclusions (like the onset of a disease, or a required change in diet), based on the data it receives. It also aims to connect patients to their doctors remotely, and even extends its reach to a variety of professionals linked with the medical industry, like nutritionists, dieticians, and gym trainers.