How is IoT changing the healthcare industry?
The healthcare industry is changing. There is an increased demand to offer health monitoring solutions that are not only less expensive but also more efficient and provide better care. In short, the healthcare industry is joining other industries in their efforts to provide better service for less expense – to dramatically increase value.
Like their commercial counterparts, the challenge is to accomplish this goal without compromising security and the answer is to leverage technology – especially in the form of IoT.
The healthcare technology ecosystem is divided into three areas: medical devices, systems and software and connecting technologies.
Medical devices are wearable monitors and implanted devices. This equipment monitors the activity and vital signs of the patient. Some examples of those already available on the market are Monica Healthcare’s fetal monitoring solution, Chrono Therapeutics addiction cessation tracker and AliveCor’s mobile electrocardiogram solution. Each of these devices enables monitoring of the health of the patient without the need for a visit to the doctor’s office or hospital – increasing the information available on the patient while decreasing the demand placed on healthcare providers.
Systems and software
While there has been a significant increase in the mobile solutions available for monitoring patient health, the solutions available to analyze, manage and secure this data have not grown as quickly. Securing patient data is as important as tracking and clinicians will need solutions that efficiently and reliably translate data into to meaningful, actionable results. Systems that offer secure methods for storing data and those that provide doctors with patient dashboards will be in high-demand as the use of connected medical monitoring devices increases.
There are three main players in the connectivity space: Bluetooth, WiFi and NFC. Bluetooth is an efficient and widely accepted solution when the device is operating in close range. Outside of a hospital setting, Bluetooth can be used to connect medical monitoring devices to a patient’s smartphone which will then transmit the results over a WiFi connection. NFC (Near Field Communication) can also be used in much the same way as Bluetooth. In fact, Transparency Market Research named healthcare as one of fastest growing segments for NFC, representing a compound annual growth rate of 20.4%.
The increase in advancement in each of these segments of IoT healthcare has opened the door for new solutions. There are no clear front-runners yet and in each of these areas there is an opportunity to capture market share by developing solutions that easily integrate with existing systems without compromising efficiency or security.
Medical software developers have a tremendous opportunity to drive security upgrades while increasing the adoption of wireless connectivity standards. Through the development of solutions that demand secure transmissions and employ best practices for secure software development, the adoption of medical IoT solutions will increase among both healthcare providers and patients. This increase in demand, generated by best-in-class solutions, will make it possible for the healthcare industry to achieve the goals of providing better care at less expense.
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