IoT in Healthcare
IoT in healthcare bridges digital and physical worlds to monitor and modify patient behavior in real-time and manage conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressures, by streamlining various clinical processes and information flow. IoT can bring together people (patients, caregivers, and clinicians), data (patient or member data), processes (care delivery and wellness), and enablers (fitness and medical devices, and mobile applications) to efficiently deliver healthcare results. It helps deliver intelligent and measurable information to improve the overall efficiency in different healthcare aspects.
Top 10 IoT in Healthcare Solution Providers 2020
- Cisco Systems INC
- GE Healthcare
- IBM Corporation
- Medtronic Inc
- Qualcomm Inc
- Sap SE
- HCL Technologies Limited
- Intel Corporation
IoT is an ecosystem where various components communicate via internet protocols and deliver intelligent, measurable information to improve the overall efficiency in different aspects of an organization. IoT can be defined as an interconnected system of various devices and sensors used for various business functions. The concept of IoT has revolutionized the way organizations across industries interact with their customers/end users. IoT helps organizations in increasing operational efficiency and optimizing business outcomes. Despite its enormous use, organizations still view it with a certain degree of skepticism due to the associated data security and privacy issues.
IoT in healthcare is used to reduce costs and improve the quality of care. IoT uses applications and leverages the benefits of connected sensors to manage diagnosis and enable patient treatment. The concept of IoT in healthcare has transformed the way healthcare organizations interact with patients and day-to-day decision-making, thereby resulting in increased operational efficiency and optimized healthcare outcomes.
The increasing use of embedded sensors, the growing availability of the fastest cellular network (LTE and 5G), and the rising adoption of wirelessly attached devices have widened the scope of IoT in the healthcare sector in the last few years. Connectivity between sensors and devices enables healthcare organizations to streamline their clinical operations and workflow management, and aids in real-time patient care, even from remote locations. Hence, healthcare organizations are focusing on implementing robust applications and connected technologies. As a result, IoT healthcare vendors are developing technologically advanced solutions, along with system integration, as well as support and maintenance services, to cater to the demand for end users.
Various factors such as the rising focus on active patient engagement and patient-centric care, growing need for the adoption of cost-control measures in healthcare, increasing adoption of high-speed network technologies for IoT connectivity, evolution of complementing technologies, including AI and big data, and need for healthcare services in remote locations are expected to drive the growth of the IoT in healthcare market. Low doctor-to-patient ratio leading to increased dependency on self-operated eHealth platforms and government initiatives for promoting digital health are few opportunities that would further fuel the growth of the IoT in healthcare market.
However, concerns, such as outdated infrastructure hindering the digital growth of the medical industry and internet disruptions leading to rugged IoT device performance can restrain the growth of the IoT in healthcare market. In addition, an increase in attack surfaces due to a rise in IoT devices and data security constrictions, the integration of multiple devices and protocols, data overload and accuracy, and high technology costs are a few challenges for implementing IoT in healthcare sector.
25 companies offering top IoT in Healthcare systems are analysed, shortlisted and categorized on a quadrant under Visionary Leaders, Innovators, Dynamic Differentiators, and Emerging Companies to identified best IoT in Healthcare solutions providers.Vendor evaluations are based on two broad categories: product offering and business strategy. Each category carries various criteria, based on which vendors have been evaluated. The evaluation criteria considered under product offerings include the breadth of offering, delivery (based on industries that the vendors cater to, deployment models, and subscriptions), features/functionality, product quality and reliability, and product differentiation. The evaluation criteria considered under business strategy include geographic footprint (on the basis of geographic presence), channel strategy and fit, vision alignment, and effectiveness of growth (on the basis of innovations, partnerships, collaborations, and acquisitions).
Visionary leaders are the leading market players in terms of new developments such as product launches, innovative technologies, and the adoption of growth strategies. These players have a broad product offering that caters to most of the regions globally. Visionary leaders primarily focus on acquiring the leading market position through their strong financial capabilities and their well-established brand equity. This category includes top IoT in Healthcare solutions providers such as Cisco Systems Inc, Ge, IBM Corporation, Medtronic Inc, Philips, Honeywell, Qualcomm Inc, Sap Se, HCL Technologies Limited and Intel Corporation.
The dynamic differentiator's category includes established vendors with very strong business strategies. However, they are low in the product portfolio. This category includes IoT in Healthcare solutions providers such as Wellpass INC and Telit.
Innovators in the competitive leadership mapping are vendors that have demonstrated substantial product innovations as compared to their competitors. The companies have focused on product portfolios. However, they do not have very strong growth strategies for their overall business, when compared with the visionary leaders. This category includes top IoT in Healthcare solutions providers such as Microsoft Corporation, AT&T Inc, Stanley Healthcare, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc, Vodafone Group PLC and Harbinger Systems
Emerging companies’ category comprises vendors with niche product offerings, who are starting to gain their position in the market. They do not have very strong business strategies as compared to other established vendors. They might be new entrants in the market and require some more time before getting significant traction.
Why to use IoT in Healthcare?
IoT in healthcare can be traced to the use of remote monitoring, smart sensors and medical device integration as well as activity trackers, wearable biometric sensors, glucose monitors, medication dispensers and smart beds. It would be great to imagine what the future of healthcare can be if IoT was expanded and invested in. Here are some of the reasons why IoT should be used in healthcare.
- Convert Data Into Insights: Quantified health is going to be future of healthcare because health that is measurable can be better improved. Therefore, it is wise to take advantage of quantified health technology. Data affects performance so, an object measurement and tracking of health for better outcomes is why we need IoT.
- Enhance Patient Wellbeing: By updating personal health data of patients on the cloud and eliminating the need to feed it into the EMRs, IoT in healthcare solutions ensures that every tiny detail is taken into attention to make the most beneficial decisions for patients. Moreover, it can be used as a medical obedience and home supervising tool.
- Foster Preventive Care: Prevention has become a primary area of focus as health care expenses are projected to grow uncontrollable in the upcoming years. The extensive access to real-time, high reliability data on each individual’s health will revolutionize healthcare by helping people live healthier lives and prevent disease.
- Enhance Patient Satisfaction & Commitment: IoT can increase patient satisfaction by optimizing surgical workflow. It can increase patient engagement by allowing patients to spend more time interacting with their physicians as it reduces the need for direct patient-physician interaction as devices connected to the internet are delivering valuable data.
- Advanced Care Management: It can enable care teams to collect and connect millions of data points on personal fitness from wearables like heart-rate, sleep, perspiration, temperature, and activity. This will not just massively improve workflow optimization but also, ensure that all care is managed from the comfort of home.
- Advanced People Health Management: IoT in healthcare enables providers to integrate devices to observe the growth of wearables as data captured by the device will fill in the data that is otherwise missed out in EHR. Care teams can receive insight driven prioritization and use IoT for home monitoring of chronic diseases.
Who uses IoT in Healthcare?
Hospitals, Surgical Centres, And Clinics
IoT solutions in the healthcare sector are majorly catered by this segment that consists of hospitals, surgical centres, and clinics, as they are the most approached care centres by patients. They are majorly implementing IoT solutions to offer enhanced care delivery, reduce patient wait time; hence, improving patient engagement. The major IoT applications are typically based on data management and operations management, which suffices through solutions such as inventory tracking, workforce management, and patient monitoring, real-time information gathering, and medicine management.
Clinical Research Organizations
CROs are also one of the larger IoT solution adopters among all segments. They support research institutes, universities, and government organizations, with many CROs specifically providing clinical-study and clinical-trial support for drugs and/or medical devices. Their objectives toward adopting IoT involves enhancing the clinical trial outcomes through various applications of IoT in healthcare. They also look for optimizing the vendor oversight scenarios through data visibility, analytics, and traceability attained through the adoption of IoT in healthcare service offerings.
Government And Defense Institutions
IoT in government and defense healthcare institutions can provide the ability to enhance the efficiency of quality of care. Government institutions include state-run healthcare organizations and government healthcare organizations, such as the health institutes in India, National Institute of Health in the US, and National Health Services in the UK. The major application of IoT in the government and defense institutions segment is in public health. IoT helps in formulating public health strategies and providing greater insights into urban health.
Research And Diagnostic Laboratories
The research and diagnostic laboratories run various tests and they are usually more than any other medical testing facilities. They implement IoT technology by using IoT-enabled devices that can provide data analysis. The data collected from these IoT devices can notify care providers about events in real time, and help yield insights for further diagnosis. Data notification can be continued over time to gather a wider range of analytics. Many of these devices are not IoT devices, and they only send data when prompted. All lab devices and their data must remain in closed networks since labs are subject to the highest security measures, especially in the healthcare industry.
Considerations while choosing best IoT Healthcare solution
Implementation of IoT in Healthcare devices and applications is tricky as it is a combination of complex technologies from which the organisations has to choose wisely and customize it according to the business needs. Many companies fail in their IoT initiatives because they underestimate the challenges of this complexity and don’t engage a partner that can provide guidance throughout the project.
- Interoperability: The IoT solution must integrate and interoperate with the current and existing systems such as servers and electronic health record systems. As more and more medical equipment is connected, it’s also important to understand where IoT in healthcare solution fits into this overall IoT environment and how to integrate it. Find a partner who can help develop an open ecosystem that allows full integration with existing IT systems, third-party databases, and the connected devices leveraged by clients today.
- Compliance: Regulatory requirements for IoT in healthcare are very complex. An organization needs to address issues like device security, strategies to minimize the data that is exposed in the event of a breach, and, in the case of patient operated devices, ensuring that they are given notice and offered choices about their data. Many suppliers such as cloud providers and application framework developers offer HIPAA compliant solutions and business associate agreements (BAAs).
- Scalability: Scalability means that the IoT platform has the ability to scale not only in the number of devices, but at the cloud, software-application, data, security, reliability, latency, user-experience, and even the support levels. In digital health, this is important wearable technology and devices play a very important role in health and medical data capture (for e.g. in clinical trials or personal well-being).
- Partnership: The organisation needs to work with a trusted partner to develop sophisticated applications and softwares on the platform to solve business problems. The partner understand the dynamic of the digital health landscape. Both partner and business work in parallel to make sure that the application-development environment will be compatible with the technologies progressing in the healthcare industry.
Trending Features of IoT in Healthcare
By using IoT devices, it will become possible to track the health of the patients in real-time. This way the physicians can monitor their health constantly and measure the progress. When you have such smart devices working with smartphones, then you will be able to track the number of health factors like a heartbeat, calorie intake, breathing rhythm and sleeping patterns.
Monitoring and Reporting
At the time of medical emergencies like diabetes, heart attacks, asthma attacks, etc. having access to real-time monitoring through connected devices can be lifesaving. By making use of IoT devices, real-time monitoring can be achieved. Such a device can collect medical as well as other related data of the patient. The IoT devices can be used to collect and move health data like blood sugar levels, blood pressure, ECGs, weight, etc.
End-to-end Connectivity and Affordability
By making use of IoT in healthcare facilities, healthcare mobility solution and other new technologies, IoT can mechanize patient care workflow. IoT enables system communication, interoperability, data movement, and information exchange. By following connectivity protocols like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, Z-wave and others, it becomes easy for the healthcare personnel to spot illness and conduct treatments in innovative ways.
Data Collection & Analysis
With IoT devices, you can cut down the need to store raw data as the device will collect, report and analyze it in real-time. All these things will take place on the cloud which means that the providers will only get access to the reports and graphs obtained at the final stage. Additionally, such solutions help organizations to get important data-driven insights and healthcare analytics.
Tracking and alerts
IoT in healthcare systems plays an important role to collect and transfer data for real-time monitoring to the doctors and making use of apps and other devices on the network, sends notifications to the people. IoT enables real-time tracking, alerting and monitoring and this helps with better accuracy, hands-on treatment, apt doctor care and improved results in complete patient care delivery.
Remote medical assistance
In case of an emergency, patients can make use of smart mobile apps to contact a doctor. Using IoT in Healthcare, it will become practical for the medics to reach the patients quickly and check for any illness. No doubt IoT will make healthcare more accessible for people who will help them cut down their expenses.
Benefits of IoT in Healthcare
IoT in healthcare is gaining more popularity year by year. It means that such a solution has quite a few important benefits. Let’s discuss them more specifically.
- Health Monitoring: Smart devices can track health conditions. IoT in healthcare can send an emergency signal if the patient has an asthma attack, heart failure, or another medical issue. For example, Apple has integrated a Fall Detection System in Apple Watch. It detects if the user falls and shows an alert. They also send a message to emergency contacts.
- Better Patient Experience: IoT in healthcare system, gives patients a more comfortable way to get in touch with doctors. It leads to improving patient experience and gaining customer loyalty. The hospital from New York, USA managed to reduce the waiting time for 50% of their emergency patients using AutoBed software. The primary task of AutoBed is matching available beds with new patients.
- Drug Management: One of the IoT in healthcare benefits is better drug management. IoT technology allows controlling the amount of taken medicine. Doctors can monitor the dose and track effectiveness of treatment. Also, the Internet of Things allows sending reminders to patients when they should take their drugs. In some cases, it’s possible to notify the family member when the patient hasn’t taken medicine on time.
- Healthcare Automation: IoT devices can help automate administrative, manual, and routine tasks. IoT in healthcare applications can analyze a significant amount of information and create different metrics to see any changes in the patients’ health conditions. Automated processes of collecting data can reduce the number of errors in making the diagnosis.
- Preventive Healthcare: Many people die from chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and more. Using the analytical abilities of IoT, it’s possible to give patients with more customized forms of treatment and care. Smart, Linked or Wearable devices can monitor the health conditions of the elderly or patients with chronic diseases. With all the data, doctors will be able to give better treatment and see the first indications of the disease.
IoT in Healthcare Market Dynamics
- Rising focus on active patient engagement and patient-centric care
- The growing need for adoption of cost-control measures in healthcare
- Growth and increased adoption of high-speed network technologies for IoT connectivity
- Evolution of complementing technologies, such as artificial intelligence and big data
- Need for healthcare in remote locations
- Outdated infrastructure hindering the digital growth of the medical industry
- Internet disruptions leading to rugged IoT device performance
- Low doctor-to-patient ratio leading to increased dependency on self-operated eHealth platforms
- Government initiatives for promoting digital health
- Increase in attack surfaces with the rise in IoT devices due to data security constrictions
- Integration of multiple devices and protocols leading to data overload and inaccuracy
- Cost of technology implementations
Healthcare organizations are innovating with IoT as a crucial technology to develop several applications in healthcare. The rising need for self-health management programs and the diagnosis of diseases at early stages have revolutionized the healthcare system with the help from IoT and other complementing technologies, such as AI and BDT. From telemedicine to remote monitoring and tracking, IoT is directing the healthcare system toward the forthcoming technology revolution.
Telemedicine is an information- and communication-based system, which is developed to deliver diagnostics and healthcare services electronically, providing information on a patient's condition to patients and doctors, clinics, and other staff. The telecommunication infrastructure used to exchange information is maneuverer for improvement, sustaining, and assisting a patient’s health status. The various modes to perform telemedicine are videoconferencing, telepresence, transmission of still images, and remote monitoring of vital signs and eHealth by using patient portals.
Store-and-forward telemedicine, also known as asynchronous telemedicine, requires sharing of patient medical information, such as data that include patient’s medical history, laboratory reports, test results, images, videos, sound files or bio-signals, lab reports, and other records with the physician, radiologist, or specialists present at any remote locations through a computer-based communication. With the use of IoT in healthcare solutions, store-and-forward telemedicine saves time and enables healthcare service providers to offer their services to the patients utilizing the historical patient data.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring is a process that allows patients with greater involvement in the diagnosis of their health via the self-health management program. IoT devices are used in remote monitoring, such as heart rate monitors, heart failure monitors, blood pressure cuffs, physical activity trackers, and haematology monitors. The demand for these devices is expected to increase in near future, as more patients seek passive and spontaneous ways to treat chronic diseases.
Interactive telemedicine is widely used for psychiatric evaluations, remote physical exams, and training/mentoring. It can provide immediate advice to patients who require medical attention. There are several different mediums utilized for this purpose, including phone, online, and home visit. A medical history and consultation about presenting symptoms can be undertaken, followed by assessments, such as those usually conducted in face-to-face appointments. In this type of telemedicine application, a telemedicine provider and the patient are connected via live interactive telecommunication technologies.
Clinical Operations And Workflow Management
The modernization of clinical trial designs and clinical outcome assessments is highly sufficed by IoT solutions in healthcare. For instance, there is a growing use of smart devices for a clean data collection process, making clinical development workflow smart and intuitive through patient engagement for managing their care. IoT and connected smart devices tend to improve clinical operations and induce higher patient retention. IoT devices help operational staff in hospitals to better cater to the needs and comfort of patients. It also helps in consumable management in hospitals.
Connected imaging helps patients access and manage their medical data. IoT devices in connected imaging streamline communication between patients and healthcare providers. It improves clinician access to data effectively and reduces the time to diagnose images. Moreover, it helps improve image access and lower operational cost, and increase workflow productivity. Connected imaging with the help of IoT devices helps in remote diagnostics, remote monitoring, and predictive maintenance.
Inpatient monitoring is a process that involves continuous measurement of a patient’s physiological functions for guiding management decisions and making therapeutic interventions. It provides various monitoring systems designed to collect physiological information, which is analysed and stored using gateways and clouds. The process involves interconnecting operating rooms and ICU devices, such as blood pressure cuffs, and ventilators and intravenous pumps for automatic error detection, and providing better care to patients.
Medication management is patient-centered care provided to optimize effective, appropriate, and safe drug therapy for improving therapeutic outcomes for patients. The adoption of medication management solutions by healthcare providers is increasing due to the growing concern for minimizing adverse drug events and related medication errors.
Use Case 1: Connected Healthcare
Challenge: The challenge faced by the organization was in its attempt to improve patient care through objective data gathered from smart wearable products, such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, Carbon, and Samsung Gear, which relates to the patients’ compliance with prescribed medication regimen and their lifestyle patterns.
Solution: IoT WoRKS by HCL
- Development of a passive sensing mobile application for both Android and iOS platforms
- Insurance of faster and standardized development of the passive sensing mobile application
- Enable a backend system both for data storage and authentication focused at security
- Healthcare information analysis to be shared with clinicians and researchers
- Enhanced patient care through improved availability of objective data
- Easy availability of behavioural context, which could be utilized to improve the lives of patient
- Reduction in the cost and development effort
Use Case 2: Asset Tracking
Challenge: The challenges faced by the company was low inventory utilization and consequently lower Return on Investment (RoI) on assets, with lack of real-time visibility of surgical kit’s location, demand-supply mismatch, leading to customer dissatisfaction.
Solution: HCL's Asset Track and Trace Solution – IoT Platform
- Robust intelligence and connectivity to medical kits for GPS tracking
- Building a scalable data platform that stores and manages/processes data from multiple kits
- Envisioning sensor-based device level tracking to generate utilization and sterilization reports
Use Case 3: Remote Patient Monitoring
Challenge: The organization required remote patient monitoring solutions for diabetes treatment and for offering optimal care, thus improving patient.
Solution: Glooko Remote Patient Monitoring Solution
- Patient satisfaction was high using Glooko to 100%
- Improved clinical outcomes
- Reduced hospital readmission
Trends and Facts
- Wearables continue to top the market. Major mobile technology providers like Apple and Android are enhancing and updating their authentic wearables, adding them with more health tracking features to acquire major market share in IoT Healthcare
- Surgical robotics become a common reality. AI-powered, robotic surgical means to be more precise than real doctors on more than one occasion.
- There are still limitations and risks involved, but surgical robotics is definitely in the spotlight and is looking to become more widespread in IoT Healthcare
- Integration of other major technologies with the IoT expands the horizon. AI, AR, Machine Learning, Big Data, blockchain, and smart contracts — all of that fuel up and expands the IoT powers even further.
- AI is better and far more precise technology in predicting, for one instance, women’s breast cancer and many other diseases in IoT Healthcare market.
- It is estimated that the install base of IoT devices in healthcare will be more than 161 million units by the end of 2020
- Almost 90% of healthcare establishments and organization worldwide will be employing the IoT as a regular in-house tool by the end of 2020
- Rising initiatives to curb medical expenses, resulting in a shifting trend from fee-for-service to a value-based model, have also given the market a significant boost.
- A rising focus of market players to develop innovative solutions in the field of medication management is also boosting the segment’s growth.
In January 2019, Medtronic partnered with IBM Watson to introduce a new feature IQcast, in its existing product Sugar.IQ, available for iOS mobile devices in the US. The app would offer patients a hypoglycaemic event to monitor their low glucose level by predicting the occurrence anywhere between 1 to 4 hours in advance.
In April 2019, Royal Philips and Spencer Health Solutions expanded their partnership to offer in-home medication adherence and the telehealth platform of Philips to chronically ill patients in selected European Union (EU) countries.
In February 2018, Capsule Technologies signed a strategic licensing agreement with AlertWatch, a developer of intelligent care software systems, to assist the provision of real-time patient care in the operating room. The agreement is based on providing Capsule Technologies with exclusive rights to market and sells AlertWatch: OR, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared Class II Software-as-a-Medical Device (SaMD), used by clinicians for secondary monitoring of patients in operating rooms.
In November 2017, GE Healthcare signed partnership with Intel to improve patient outcome with reduced costs for hospitals and health systems by using digital imaging solutions.
Future Growth in IoT Healthcare Market
mHealth as a regular, common thing on a global scale, and reduced physical visits to hospitals will be the upcoming trends which will require the adoption of IoT in Healthcare market. Most of the hospitals are either implementing major IoT techniques and capabilities or already have enhanced parts that are in their standardization stage.
By the end of the decade the number of IoT devices will grow around 30% from 2019 and the companies adopting it will also see the growth curve as the demand for online medicines and appointments increase.
The ‘now’ of the healthcare IoT is fairly brilliant, with its future looking even brighter. This will be due to organisations moving towards adopting the IoT technology in their current systems to gain competitive advantage in IoT Healthcare market.