In the current climate, healthcare quality and public health are at the forefront of global discussion. The industry is becoming increasingly reliant on technology to offer the highest level of patient care and comfort. The Internet of Things (IoT), in particular, is fast becoming a vital asset to hospitals and healthcare workers.
The IoT also has the potential to control the spread of COVID-19, enabling better monitoring and detection of the virus throughout the world, resulting in enhanced public safety.
According to a January 2020 Gartner survey consisting of over 500 US-based enterprise IT managers, 11% worked in healthcare. 86% of this portion reported having an IoT architecture established within their organizations. In another survey conducted by Forbes Insight, in partnership with Intel, healthcare was identified as one of the leaders in IoT thinking and implementation.
Certain IoT innovations can aid hospitals in controlling their environments, leading to more sustainable buildings and increased patient comfort. Smart thermostats, for example, are self-learning and can adjust a ward’s temperature according to collected data. Smart lightbulbs and room sensors can also adjust lighting according to when people are present in hospital spaces. Both of these applications can help healthcare organizations save money, avoiding spending on unnecessary lighting and heating.
Hospital wearables are being redesigned to incorporate IoT elements. For example, vital-sign monitors, pacemakers and continuous glucose monitors produce data, which is then uploaded onto patients’ electronic medical records. This means healthcare professionals can have access to more data, allowing them to provide more accurate diagnoses and treatments at a faster rate.
IoT devices can monitor patients’ blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels, alleviating the need for health workers to be present to perform such tasks. This allows the professionals to dedicate more time to emergency cases. The data collected from these IoT devices will be more accurate thus alleviating human error. This information can be gathered and delivered faster, which means doctors can respond more quickly to the patients’ needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated the revolutionary impact the IoT can have on the healthcare industry. Wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, can track the wearer’s temperature to aid early detection. This monitoring aid can alert people if they are carrying the virus and reduce the spread of the virus. If healthcare professionals are aware that they are displaying early, underlying symptoms, they will be able to distance themselves from patients earlier to reduce the threat of more vulnerable people contracting COVID-19.
The current pandemic highlights the impact of the IoT’s influence on the healthcare industry and its benefits to patient care and overall efficiency. With an increase of smart, technological aids to monitor not only the people but the buildings themselves, there is scope for patients to be treated faster and more accurately, and for hospitals to introduce significant cost-saving measures.
K2 has been at the forefront of IoT recruiting for a number of years. We have the skills and expertise to deliver qualified IoT consultants on a contract or permanent basis.