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Internet of Things – A New Beginning for Healthcare

Prologue

Sometime a Decade Ago

The young man was sinking. It was a massive cardiac arrest. Eera could not do anything about it. She just couldn’t have. The ambulance that was called was stuck in the worst of rain and rush and the young man was a bit too far, or that is how it seemed.

It was over before the vehicle reached. Eera got a disturbing call. It would have been a simple thing to have kept adjusted all the times and saved his life. The unmonitored insulin levels get people into the gravest of situations, but there was no point in brooding now. She had just lost her very first patient to Hypoglycemia.

A doctor’s life is tough they say. It really is for an Endocrinologist.

 

Today

It was a nightmare that had haunted Eera many years on, including today. She woke up with a sweat, but she had no reason to. The face of the young patient she lost a decade ago never seemed to leave her; maybe because she had just started out herself then.

The world has changed today. Healthcare is different and completely changes how Eera monitors her patients, motivates them to keep their fitness levels up to the mark, supervises their diet and collaborates with doctors & medicos across the globe to help her out whenever needed.

The notifications on her smart watch keep beeping all through the day and the iPad shows her how each of her patients was keeping on that day. Sensor based technology constantly capturing data and communicating to her. And better still, the tiny sensors in the insulin pumps she implants into their bodies measure the blood glucose levels constantly and calculate & recalculate the dosage to be administered automatically.

The Fitness trackers and the smart watches of her patients are wired to her gadgets giving her a real-time picture of the Health Analytics of each of her patients all day long.

Later Today

Today Eera is trying a completely different venture. Dr Clarke, at a most reputed diabetic care centre in London is chipping in for help with a juvenile diabetic, Robbie; with a foreseen cardiac complication. From his clinic, halfway across the world, the specialist is going to be a great support in giving in his opinion by examining Eera’s naughty patient in her consulting room in Mumbai.

Doctor Clark is making use of Virtual Reality in Healthcare to connect to Eera through a Virtual Reality headset and she at her end has her own set of fancy gadgets to wire up Robbie to. Technology has never been her cup of tea, but the way these things help her, she had no choice to admit that she admired them.

Internet of Things Arrives for HealthCare

Eera is a part of a monumental change. Internet of Things. Connecting people, their devices, the communication networks and the data stores with niche technology.

IoT completely changes the face of diverse industries, including Healthcare to interconnect the wisdom of doctors and researchers with hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities around the world. The visiting patients as well as the home bound ones are attended to with appropriate attention, virtually or in person.

Health insurance companies become an integral part of this growing ecosystem too making the system all-inclusive and easy to use.

 

The Emerging IoT Ecosystem for Healthcare

The IoT ecosystem for healthcare emerges as a comprehensive platform for all; the patients, the researchers and the doctors to avail. A combination of data collecting devices, data interpretation mechanisms and the networks for the entities gives shape to a very intriguing system.

The Health Data Flow

IoT Healthcare 1 

Devices, Data & Communication

Devices collecting data continuously to measure & monitor vital parameters, analyze them and deduce preventive plans. IoT enabled devices enable direct care to patients in an anytime-anywhere mode with appropriate and instant inputs from the caretakers.

 

Data gathering with sensor based systems happen like never before, assuring greater precision and accuracy by virtue of the automated tasks undertaken by the devices. IoT enables seamless integration within this ecosystem using the traditional and the modern methods of communication.

 

The Integration of Devices & Technologies

IoT Healthcare 2

 

Connecting the People All Across

User experiences across the Healthcare domain are changing. Besides keeping the patients engaged, the medical experts remain fulfilled with more efficient methods of working. All wired together, the facilities and the people work in complete sync with each other to achieve the most satisfying user experiences.

Patients availing the Healthcare facilities are assured impeccable experiences with an IoT setup in place. Not only are they connected 24*7 to help, their devices prompt their care takers of the on-goings as IoT devices with their real-time data provide constant updates of the patient’s conditions to the medical experts enabling quick actions and close supervision at all times.

Proximity based sensor technologies like beacons are easily integrated into the workflows when the patient is on-premise of hospitals and clinics to provide constant guidance & navigation support to the patients and help them move through queues and other facilities providing a superior patient experience.

Home care, remote care and reduced hospital stays are a direct outcome of easy interconnections between the entities, where care and follow-ups are possible with remote healthcare facilitated by virtual reality as well as traditional methods of communication.

 

The Entities in the Ecosystem

 

IoT Healthcare 3

IoT  & The Emerging Approaches of Healthcare

IoT brings Mobile Technologies, Health Analytics & Predictions, Cloud, Social Media and other techniques to a comprehensive platform arriving at huge changes in the ways things have been happening in Healthcare with newer approaches emerging.

 

Doctors & Care Takers – More Efficient Ways of Working

Armed with critical real-time health data, doctors & caretakers adapt useful & practical technology to keep their patients constantly supervised and safe. The automated measurements & analytics increase the accuracy of predictions and the chances of better healthcare offerings.

The Collaborations - Hospitals & Specialists Across the Globe

Collaborations within the entities with multiple permutations are strengthened and become a reality because of IoT. Knowledge sharing and proactive information exchanges related to emerging areas of medicine and relevant research for chronic diseases and lifestyle related ailments enables improved health system performances and their success.

  • Hospital to Hospital
  • Physician to Physician
  • Hospital to Physician
  • Resource collaborations

Health Insurance Companies - Integrating Smooth Transactions

The connected ecosystem loops in the Health insurance aspect too for improved consumer engagement and facilitating smooth service & claims workflows, tightly coupled with the Hospitals themselves.

 Proactive Medical Research & Predictions - Avoiding Catastrophes

IoT presents innumerable possibilities for chronic and life threatening disease management along with the life style related diseases like diabetes. Automation & precision delivered with IoT becomes the backbone of reliable predictions to avoid catastrophes.

Physical Security Digital Security - Assuring Data Privacy

Seamless access across networks and devices puts a growing onus and pressure of responsibility on the facilitators of IoT. More so for Healthcare handling extremely sensitive personal data from across the world.

Acceptable standards and norms of security like the HIPPA, PHI and HEDIS gain a growing importance in the IoT ecosystem and become an integral part of various work flows.

 

The Emerging Genres of Healthcare

IoT revolutionizes the use of data and technology in Healthcare to fill in the gap between data captured and put to use with relevance and purpose giving rise to newer genres in Healthcare.

The Rise of Genres in Healthcare

 

IoT Healthcare 4

Epilogue -  The Final View

The newspaper on her desk has an interesting article, Eera notes. Maybe it is not so hard to believe what is written, after the virtual examination for Robbie earlier today. It was an eye opener for her. Technology and life sciences do integrate in the most sensible ways.

The newspaper on her table states that the Forbes reported that the healthcare IoT market segment will hit $117 billion by the year 2020. Surveys by the International Data Corporation (IDC) across more than ten countries indicate that Healthcare is the most popular area where respondents think there would be investments related to IoT.

All these besides of course the Gartner reporting that by 2020 that the IoT connected devices would exceed twenty million!

She makes a mental note of exploring how to sign up for the Apple ResearchKit & CareKit that Dr Clarke had mentioned to her. He said he would give her better insights into insights being gathered for diabetes across the world and also allow her patients to be a part of the research. But, maybe it was a bit early to sign up this part of the world.

 

It had been a long day today. Interesting how the world changed, just in a decade.