Home Healthcare and IoT
by Raghu B on May 19, 2015
We have seen numerous achievements in the healthcare field over the course of the last century. Infant mortality rates are lower, average lifespan has increased worldwide, people are leading healthier lives, early diagnosis of various ailments is now detected much sooner than ever before. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a set of technologies that offer the promise for even greater improvements in healthcare and medicine than thought possible. We shall explore and examine the possibilities of healthcare and IoT in this article.
Many ailments humans face each day tend to be chronic but controllable in nature. For instance, diabetes and high blood pressure are two such ailments. Diabetics have to monitor their blood sugar several times a day and take adequate medication at the right intervals to control their sugar levels. Medical practitioners and health insurance organizations find it very difficult to monitor these patients to ensure that they are getting the right amount of medication at the right times. Often times, patients are non-compliant or lax and miss their scheduled intake of whatever medications they are prescribed.
With healthcare and IoT, medical practitioners can now manage their patients remotely through common architecture consisting of the following parts:
- Sensors and beacons to collect and emit data
- A mobile app to receive beacon emissions
- An IoT Router to communicate with the sensors and beacons and communicate with the cloud
- A cloud platform for monitoring
- A CMS for managing patients remotely
This form of architecture makes home nursing care far more affordable and practical. It also requires very little in terms of additional hardware and devices, and can leverage existing infrastructure commonly found in most homes such as home Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile phones.
From an insurance company angle, healthcare and IoT can also ensure patients are receiving the best care, taking their medications at the right times and following medical protocols correctly. This has the potential to have an impact on medical insurance premiums, e.g. rewarding the assiduous patients who follow protocol. From a pharmacy perspective, patients can now receive notifications and reorder medication through apps on mobile devices.
Often times, there is a safety angle to this technology as well. For instance, patients fighting Alzheimer’s or other such conditions are in a fog and may forget to take their medication on time. IoT technology in the form of medical bracelets with embedded chips can be used to signal or buzz the patient, reminding them to take medications. Another example: Caregivers can be notified if an Alzheimer’s patient moves beyond a secure radius of their home or facility.
To recap, IoT has a major role in Home Healthcare and can make a material difference in patient care and wellbeing.