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Use of IoT in healthcare can improve patient outcomes

There are several benefits to using IoT in healthcare, ranging from improving network connectivity to supporting remote patient monitoring and telemedicine.

Year after year, IoT continues to prove its value in healthcare. Whether within hospital facilities or patients'...

homes, the use of IoT in healthcare supports initiatives that have a positive impact on operations and patient care. As a result, IT leaders are accelerating their evaluation and adoption of IoT, and quickly identifying areas that make connected devices valuable and key components of IT's technology roadmap. 

Both IT and clinical professionals are excited about the use of IoT in healthcare and the opportunities it brings to the table. The marketplace offers many connected devices to choose from that can monitor patients' vitals in real time and provide alerts or feedback on their condition. This type of data improves patient outcomes.

IoT has also shown its usefulness for non-patient applications, such as monitoring energy consumption and tracking critical hospital assets. While technology enthusiasts are already on board with IoT, several factors are helping the technology become more popular. Here are five benefits of the use of IoT in healthcare.

Wireless networks and IoT Wi-Fi support enable more coverage

Improved wireless networks and abundant connectivity throughout healthcare facilities have facilitated network access for medical devices. This reduced the burdens of IoT implementation and made it less complex and time-consuming to roll out. This also meant that data could be collected from areas that were previously difficult to reach or costly to wire.

The use of IoT can boost patient confidence

IT executives have quickly recognized that IoT can be a powerful differentiator, whether it improves patient outcomes with remote monitoring or reduced clinical errors. The use of IoT in healthcare can set a hospital apart as a leader in technology innovation, and its successes can be used to highlight its excellence in technology and care delivery.

Tangible return on investments

While some may bring up Raspberry Pi as a use of IoT that has a low price tag -- whose basic model costs $35 -- most IoT devices purchased by hospitals cost much more than that. However, most of today's connected device initiatives that include hardware, software, training and implementation costs can still deliver a tangible ROI thanks to the lower costs of equipment, and cloud use to support data collection.

Real-time patient monitoring requires more IoT

The increasing demand for remote monitoring devices to support the growing population with chronic illnesses and at risk patients is encouraging healthcare groups to adopt IoT. These connected medical devices can monitor data from patients inside and outside of the hospital. The real-time data access and ability to detect and react quickly to abnormal readings can help clinicians reduce hospital admissions and improve patient outcomes.

Telemedicine's growth in healthcare creates more demand for IoT

For many physicians, telemedicine is slowly gaining traction amongst patients, and reimbursements are starting to see some increase as well. Not only does telemedicine provide a convenient way for patients in rural areas to visit with specialists far away from them, but when it's combined with IoT, patients can reduce the frequent visits to a medical facility to collect vitals data. The promotion of IoT use as the result of telemedicine will continue to correlate over time.

Over time, more device and application vendors will enter the market, and healthcare organizations will benefit from the competition. The current state of the market offers significant support for IoT and its future, but the security of connected devices remains a concern. Risks associated with data breaches or tampering with IoT devices remains one of the top concerns about the use of IoT in healthcare.

This was last published in November 2017

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