The Internet of Things is Becoming More Prevalent in Healthcare

KerriKnippenbergBy Kerri Knippenberg, Business Development Analyst, DICOM Grid
Twitter: @dicomgrid

The Internet of Things (IoT) – an extension of Big Data – is estimated to become a $117 billion industry by 2020. It began with computers, then cellphones, and now has moved to watches that can monitor our active calories burned during spin class. This concept of constant and widespread internet connectivity is now moving towards everyday objects that are used in the healthcare field, like insulin pumps, implantable cardioverter/ defibrillator ,and even contact lenses. It is crazy to think that telemetry monitors, bed alarms, and pulse oximetry was just the start of this revolution we refer to as universal connectivity.

There are always positives and negatives to new technology. It all depends on how we choose to use it. The IoT has proven to have a very positive effect on the healthcare industry. Here are three ways IoT is helping healthcare today:

  1. Reducing medication error – Hospitals no longer have to manually track their inventory from soap to paper towels – everything can be tracked with technology. Instead, they use RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) or barcodes to keep real-time accounting of supplies and automatically place orders for restock when items are low.
  2. Patient prescription accountability – With smart sensors added into pillboxes, doctors are now able to know when patients are opening and closing their pillbox. This holds patients accountable and allows doctors to stay on top of their patients.
  3. Reminders – The many benefits of handwashing have been engrained in us since we were old enough to hold a fork in our hand. Good hand hygiene has also always been amongst the highest ways to reduce hospital-associated infections. However, doctors still forget to do so. Today, thanks to the world of the IoT, doctors can wear a small bracelet around their wrist that will vibrate when they leave the patient’s room, reminding them to wash their hand.

It is crazy to think that we are becoming so reliable on technology that we even need it to remind us to do something so simple like wash our hands. No one can predict the future, but it is pretty safe to say that Big Data is just going to keep getting bigger.

This article was originally published on DICOM Grid and is republished here with permission.