09 Jul How the IoT Will Make Our Lives Longer
Since the very beginning of science humans have longed to find ways that could let them extend their lives. Vaccines, penicillin, antibiotics, you name it – all of these are results of our desire to make our lifespans longer. Every era had its own breakthroughs and it seems like it’s time for IoT to play a part in this never ending race.
As of now many average users seem to associate “internet of things” with gadgets, home automation or smart city technologies. Some may think about various models of fitness smart bands but that’s usually how far the awareness goes. It turns out however that there are many projects attempting to introduce IoT into the world of medical science, some of them already successfully implemented. They’re not only incredibly profitable but also can greatly improve current state of healthcare
First of all, Internet of things technologies are making their way into places most important when it comes to public health: hospitals, clinics both private and nursing homes. Being connected gives hundreds of new possibilities to both doctors and patients. Places that implemented IoT technologies can provide their patients with additional layers of safety. While doctors still visit all wards on regular basis, various tech devices keep track of patient’s health all day and night. IoT can allow for greater accuracy and instant care that might have been impossible few decades ago. Connecting classical medical equipment to the Internet is being practiced for a while now, making them one of the precursors of the whole IoT movement.
Additionally it would be possible to skip a huge part of logistics ensuring that everything is in proper supply. Just like ideas introduced in retail market hospital storehouses could gain the ability to order new medicines or various medical supplies before they run out, without the need of attention form personnel.
Another great implementation is the detection of malfunctions in connected equipment known from industrial IoT devices. Devices themselves are able to call for a technician when an error occurs and avoid posing dangers for the patients.
Healthier at home
The “connected” aspect of IoT is what probably revolutionizes health industry the most. Making use of it allows for wireless patient care even from his or her own house. While Apple Watch allows for tracking heart rate, there are many IoT devices able to measure even more. Sugar levels for people suffering from diabetes can be regularly checked and their collected data wirelessly sent do doctors. Same for patients suffering from asthma and other respiration related diseases. IoT can turn one’s home into a wirelessly connected clinic staying in touch with an assigned team of physicians 24 hours a day.
The idea can expand even further than wearables and include implants and artificial pacemakers inside the body of a patient. Thanks to wi-fi and other methods of wireless transfer it’s possible to tell the family and a doctor that something is wrong right away. Such accuracy will without doubt play a major role in increasing human life expectancy.
IoT makes it also possible to track whether a patient is really taking his pills. Company called Proteus Digital Health managed to create edible sensors that can be hidden in various drugs and tell the doctor when they’re digested.
What will the future bring?
Medical uses of Internet of Things devices are multiplying every day. When looking into the future even more means of improving healthcare seem possible. First: the increasing role of wireless drones could make supplying immobilized patients, remote areas and dangerous conflict zones with medicine much easier. Developments in cloud technology change how doctors approach patient data and allow for more assigned specialists to have a look into it. More and more health trackers appear on crowdfunding services allowing creative people to make their own additions to medical market. Implementing sensors in all sorts of daily used objects creates additional ways to monitor patients and their actions. The conclusion from all these improvements is simple: thanks to IoT healthcare is evolving at the speed we’ve never seen before and will soon change the way we approach our bodies and how many years can we spend in them.