By Jason Leung, System Engineer – IOT & IT System Development Specialist, Fiberroad Technology

Hospitals are slowly beginning to adopt IoT in their daily operations. Connected devices can track patient data and schedule appointments. Some hospitals are even using smart beds. These beds have sensors that detect whether a patient is present and automatically adjust the angle and pressure. Listed below are some of the uses of IoT in hospitals.

#1 Remote patient monitoring

IoT-enabled remote patient monitoring (RPM) solutions provide real-time information about the health of a patient. This helps physicians identify and treat medical conditions sooner, thereby improving patient outcomes. The systems use IoT-enabled trackers and electric stethoscopes to provide the medical staff with data on patients. Rapid response to patient symptoms and changes in their physiological states can save lives and reduce medical costs.

IoT-powered remote patient monitoring systems are battery-operated, wireless, and equipped with sensors that collect health data. These devices are connected to the medical center’s cloud platform, which stores and processes the information. With remote patient monitoring, healthcare practitioners can continuously monitor the health of their patients and their families. The data is collected from the patient’s body and transmitted to a dashboard that can be accessed by doctors, nurses, and other staff members.

#2 Heart-rate monitoring

Heart-rate monitoring can be very important when dealing with heart problems, especially those that are life-threatening. Most heart-related diseases require regular monitoring. IoT monitoring devices provide vital information about a patient’s heart rate, which can help detect heart attacks earlier. In addition, these devices can also help diagnose and treat heart disease. Using IoT monitoring devices, hospitals can save lives. An IoT device that detects the heart rate of a patient can send alerts to medical staff or family members in case of a patient’s heart rate falling. 

#3 Hand hygiene monitoring

Hand hygiene is an essential part of patient safety, and an IoT device can help healthcare organizations monitor their hand hygiene compliance and reduce the risk of nosocomial infections. An electronic monitoring device can capture 100% of hand hygiene events, without human error or a reactive bias. This data can be interpreted to provide actionable insights and show how well hand hygiene is performing.  The system also allows hospital staff to monitor hand hygiene compliance and is used to position medical staff in their work areas. It is also possible to monitor when medical staff enter or exit patient rooms. This data can inform supervisors if hand hygiene is occurring as scheduled.

#4 Robotic surgery

IoT Robotic surgery is a promising concept, which could help doctors and surgeons perform delicate surgeries. It uses cameras and force-sensing capabilities to navigate inside the human body and stitch wounds with submillimeter accuracy. The robot is operated remotely from the surgeon’s office. The surgeon can monitor the procedure and communicate with the robot remotely. IoT robots are internet-connected small robots that are deployed inside the body to perform surgical procedures. This type of surgery is difficult to perform with human hands, and robots are small and highly reliable. They also minimize the invasiveness of the procedure and provide faster healing. IoT robotic surgery also provides improved patient care.

#5 Ingestible sensors

The use of IoT in healthcare has several applications for patients, from improving patient safety to monitoring medication intake. One application of IoT in healthcare is ingestionible sensors, which record medication taken by patients and transmit data to a smartphone app or wearable patch. Such devices allow doctors to monitor patient medication intake, while minimizing the risk of side effects. In addition to monitoring patient conditions, IoT devices are used to track hospital assets and staff. For instance, a patient’s insulin pens can use embedded sensors to send glucose levels to a dedicated smartphone app. This information allows doctors to optimize insulin dose administration. It also improves the overall management of diabetes by monitoring patient blood glucose levels.

#6 Glucose monitoring

One of the most common applications of IoT in healthcare is glucose monitoring. Connecting glucose monitoring devices to the Internet improves accuracy and efficiency. It can also enable patients to share their data with healthcare providers. Currently, glucose monitoring is difficult, because it requires patients to manually record their blood glucose levels. An IoT-connected glucose monitoring device provides continuous monitoring and alerts the patient when levels are problematic.