It is increasingly common to find new devices capable of connecting to the Internet and allowing the user to manage and control remotely. Discover the advantages of IoT and the technological trends 2019 will bring to the health sector.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical elements that uses sensors to connect and exchange data over the Internet. The growth of IoT is accompanied by Big Data, capable of storing and converting all this information into relevant data for decision making.
The consulting firm Gartner estimates that today there are approximately 8,400 million connected devices in the world and by the year 2020 this figure will rise to 20.400 million.
Main areas of application of the Internet of Things
Home: the Smart Home is a set of systems capable of automating a home. The application of the IoT in this area ranges from temperature control, lighting, raising and lowering blinds remotely to food control in the refrigerator.
Infrastructures: examples are road control and immediate response in emergencies and road assistance. Smart cities or Smart Cities aim to make life easier for the citizen with solutions such as indicating where there is availability to park a vehicle or show in real time the traffic in the city, as well as alternative routes.
Retail: there are brands that bet on innovating in their physical stores through diverse and personalized experiences that bring value to the customer and the business. Only the use of connected technology can capture the volume of information needed to model the experience according to the moment and the products that the customer wants. An example is the use of “beacon”, which allows sending a notification to a user’s mobile when passing in front of a store with products that might interest him.
Industry: Among the most widespread uses of the IoT applied to the industrial environment, we find the automatic traceability of materials and products, programming and optimization of production chains and rapid response to product demands.
Health: among the many initiatives based on the IoT for health promotion, the wearables stand out. These are “wearable” electronic devices, that record information instantly, and offer a series of advantages such as premature diagnosis, monitoring the patient’s condition and speeding up clinical decisions.
5 trends in digital health by 2019
Artificial Intelligence: The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine and health is gaining momentum: medical diagnosis is made easier through tools that allow image recognition and visualization of changes in the patient’s appearance. AI will also allow the safe exploration of the chemical and biological interactions of different drugs under development. Another advantage is the optimization of the workflow, allowing to automate repetitive tasks that the doctor must do and that usually takes hours of work.
Virtual Reality: the patient may emerge in a totally artificially created environment through VR/AR glasses, a resource used to diagnose diseases or, in some cases, during rehabilitation processes. Surgeons will also be able to use virtual reality to visualize organ reconstructions in 3D and test procedures that will allow them to perform operations more quickly in real situations and with minimal tissue damage.
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT): In healthcare, IoT will continue to be implemented for remote monitoring of patient health through intelligent sensors and mobile applications. A practical example is ReHub, the first digital platform for remote physical rehabilitation therapies that connects the patient, the rehabilitation physician and the physiotherapist in order to improve the patient’s quality of life and reduce costs for the healthcare system. This DyCare solution allows the physician to perform a functional assessment of the patient and share the diagnosis with the physiotherapist. The physiotherapist will be able to monitor the patient’s progress and adapt his exercises remotely. In addition, the patient will visualize the execution of the exercise in real time increasing their empowerment and adherence to the rehabilitation process.
Telemedicine: Telemedicine will improve medical care by providing patients with access to specialists without the need to travel to a Clinical Centre. It will not only save mobility but also health care costs: Adecco established telemedicine services for its staff as of June 2018, and since then, 44% of employees have been registered and the company has saved $230,000.
Big Data and Analysis: New integrated solutions will be able to collect, interconnect, store and analyze data for the medical professional to make a more accurate and faster diagnosis.