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The healthcare Internet of Things market segment is poised to hit $117 billion by 2020. The Internet of Things is frequently in the news, and for many of us, it draws a big yawn. Yes, lots of data is moving between devices and people, from machine to machine.

In the Internet of Things (IoT), devices gather and share information directly with each other and the cloud, making it possible to collect, record and analyze new data streams faster and more accurately.

But nowhere does the IoT offer greater promise than in the field of healthcare, where its principles are already being applied to improve access to care, increase the quality of care and most importantly reduce the cost of care.

IoT in Action in Healthcare
The IoT plays a significant role in a broad range of healthcare applications, from managing chronic diseases at one end of the spectrum to preventing disease at the other. Here are some examples of how its potential is already playing out

Clinical care: Hospitalized patients whose physiological status requires close attention can be constantly monitored using IoT-driven, noninvasive monitoring. This type of solution employs sensors to collect comprehensive physiological information and uses gateways and the cloud to analyze and store the information and then send the analyzed data wirelessly to caregivers for further analysis and review. It replaces the process of having a health professional come by at regular intervals to check the patient’s vital signs, instead providing
a continuous automated flow of information. In this way, it simultaneously improves the quality of care through constant attention and lowers the cost of care by eliminating the need for a caregiver to actively engage in data collection and analysis.

Remote monitoring: There are people all over the world whose health may suffer because they don’t have ready access to effective health monitoring. But small, powerful wireless solutions connected through the IoT are now making it possible for monitoring to come to these patients instead of vice-versa. These solutions can be used to securely capture patient health data from a variety of sensors, apply complex algorithms to analyze the data
and then share it through wireless connectivity with medical professionals who can make appropriate health recommendations.

Early intervention/prevention: Healthy, active people can also benefit from IoT-driven monitoring of their daily activities and well-being. A senior living alone, for example, may want to have a monitoring device that can detect a fall or other interruption in everyday activity and report it to emergency responders or family members. For that matter, an active athlete such as a hiker or biker could benefit from such a solution at any age, particularly if it’s available as a piece of wearable technology.

 

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