Since its conception, IoT has found its use across industries and revolutionized everything it touched. Healthcare is no different. According to the statistics from Market Insight Reports, IoT’s compound annual growth rate is estimated at 25% in the period between 2019 and 2026. It’s no surprise we’re seeing an entire ‘spin-off’ in the form of IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) completely take over the market. But what is the potential of IoT for healthcare startups, and how will it re-shape the industry in the years to come?
Extended Reach of the Provider
Electronic health records (EHR) are some of the significant revolutionary inventions in modern healthcare. They have been freshly integrated into the US healthcare system, and we’re already seeing the impact on doctor-patient connectivity. You no longer need to make costly trips or phone calls to schedule an appointment, and the medical staff doesn’t have to rummage through endless files to find relevant info from your medical records.
What’s more, remote patient monitoring (RPM) can potentially change the diagnostic setting we’re used to completely. Instead of going to a facility for a checkup, doctors can now use the latest tech to collect your medical data while you’re in the comfort of your own home. Over the years, these devices have become less invasive and, as a result, grown in popularity which is only estimated to increase.
Taking Charge of Your Health
Technology like smart monitors, fitness trackers, and similar self-testing devices made trips to the doctor’s office even less frequent. Instead, they contributed to improving in-home care and empowered the patients by allowing for a more independent lifestyle.
Smart medication dispensers are another innovation of this type, which helps the patients take their medications on time and alert the medical staff if an intake was skipped. Unfortunately, as empowering as tech can be, there are some instances when people need a longer hospital stay or in-home human care. No technology can replace a skilled registered nurse with medical education and an accredited ACLS certification who can give first-aid and react in real-time.
InPen smart injectors are another invention from this family of in-home techs which monitors and recommends the doses of injected medicine for patients with Diabetes and similar illnesses. This makes insulin therapy much easier on the patients and the doctors since the analytics are available from the database. Glucose monitoring is also something patients with Diabetes can look forward to easing the management of their illness.
First Response Revolution
Yet another asset to self-management of symptoms are the smart monitors, which detect the signs of various emergencies (asthma attack, cardiac attack, epileptic attack) before the onset and give the patient time to react. They also send messages to select healthcare providers upon detection. This is also nothing short of a revolution as it buys precious time, which often literally makes the life and death difference.
Another addition to the first-response aid is the ease of access to patients’ medical records, making it easier for the medical staff to avoid deadly mistakes and make better decisions much faster.
Mental Health Implications
Another potential revolution could be in psychiatric care, thanks to the incredible advances in symptom measurement technology. Thanks to some medical equipment designed to monitor heart rate, blood flow, and other functions, doctors can now accurately assess the patient’s mood swings and the frequency with which they change, how they change, in reaction to what, etc. It might sound creepy, but it could bring incredible advancement in psychiatry and psychology.
Specialized ‘mood-aware’ tech can help detect emotional fluctuations and even track eye movement to determine the cause. However, it cannot do this with complete accuracy, and regular evaluation by a mental health professional is still necessary for an accurate diagnosis.
A Surefire Way Towards Affordable Healthcare?
By looking at how things are shifting thanks to new technology, we can make some conclusions about the direction in which the revolution is going. Because of the affordable diagnostic options and less frequent trips to the doctor’s office, we could hope to see more affordable healthcare in the near future.
However, some of the devices and strategies are catching on quicker than others, and we will need to see most of them become household items to become affordable care for everyone. The experts are hoping some of these technologies like mobile ultrasound systems, smart screens, medication dispensers, and other diagnostic tools to become widely available. Some technology, like organ-regeneration platforms, is probably going to remain luxury tech in the foreseeable future. But still, we’re seeing a real revolution happen in inpatient care, and both the customers and the medical staff are happier for it.
We don’t yet have the technology to program robotic surgeons and eliminate human doctors completely. Still, we do have the option to program Robot-assistants to help at the operating table. The robotic surgeons can communicate with medical staff and devices, which allows them to make precise incisions and help with patient recovery. If the tech develops enough and we can program small devices, we can look forward to less invasive surgical procedures in the future.
This is just the tip of the tech iceberg IoMT offers to healthcare providers and startups. There’s no doubt things are shifting, and we can hope for more affordable and effective healthcare in the years to come. Less invasive procedures, quick disguises, and independent management of chronic illness will make life easier for doctors and patients. As for the healthcare startups, they can hope for superior databases, more connectivity with their patients, more spare time, and robot helpers.
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