IoT, also known as Internet of Things, continues to define as well as redefine entire industries, and the pandemic has further fuelled its prominence by pushing development with greater adoption within the healthcare sector. Since Covid-19 has changed many of our daily lives, including companies, we see technology develop at a much faster pace to support us during these changed circumstances.
The healthcare sector is constantly under modernization and coupled with IoT, we’re able to adopt new technology to administer medical care with much greater precision while simultaneously avoiding treatment in person unless absolutely necessary. With IoT, medical professionals we have seen an increase in new treatment methods, including remote care. We have also seen a vast increase in the use of IoT units in healthcare. The integration of IoT units with smart sensors and algorithms that are connected to the cloud have been a huge help in fighting this pandemic. It has allowed us to keep administering treatment without forgoing heightened security measures. In this post we therefore want to further shed some light on the many ways in which this type of connected technology can provide assistance in times of need.
1. Telemedicine in healthcare
Telemedicine is a practice that refers to collecting information about patients without their physical presence. This has needless to say been absolutely necessary during the pandemic and has therefore become a safe go-to way to seek medical treatment. In addition, it is also a cost effective alternative since it doesn’t require any traveling. Telemedicine includes wearable IoT devices that are able to track necessary data such as heart rate, blood sugar levels, oxygen levels as well as mental state in patients. This has been incredibly useful in fighting the pandemic and especially during lockdown and social distancing as medical personnel can monitor their patients without the need of unneccessary physical presence.
The incubation period for Covid is currently estimated between 1-14 days, but a person without any symptoms can still spread the virus unknowingly. The virus spreads incredibly fast and it has therefore become extremely important to be able to track who the infected individual has been in contact with during their incubation period. IoT devices have been a big help here to be able to track the virus with IoT units such a smartwatches. Smartwatches often includes a thermometer that can monitor if a person has a fever, which is one of the main first symptoms of Covid. With these devices, we are able to track the spread through fever spikes mapped from device data. With this technology and Big Data, we’re able to control the spread of the virus by being able to track fever spikes that may indicate where an outbreak is potentially happening, and thus limit certain areas and adopt effective methods of quarantine and social distancing.
3. Robots in healthcare
It comes as no surprise that robots have garnered a lot of attention in the healthcare industry with the ability to help with complex medical tasks such as surgery and cancer treatment. During the beginning of the pandemic we saw a big number of surgeries that had to be cancelled due to raised security measures in order to control the spread of the virus. This led to an increased need for robots to help perform operations without the need of physical contact. Robots also play a huge role in maintaining sterile conditions to work in for healthcare personnel, which has proven absolutely necessary to control the virus. Non-surgical robots can be used to sanitize and disinfect patient rooms with help of special UV-light that effectively kills the virus. As the UV-light is harmful to humans, the robot simply enters the room with the door closed, and once finished, the robot can notify personnel that the room is safe for use. This reduces the risk of spreading the virus among essential hospital workers and also speeds the rate at which patients rooms can be ready for the next occupant.
The development of IoT has opened up an abundance of opportunities for different fields and we see how incredibly useful it has been in the healthcare industry. So, if there is anything positive to come out of this pandemic, it’s that we see a much more rich data-driven healthcare experience. Not only has it helped us fight the pandemic, but it will help us prepare for future situations where virtual care methods might again be life depending.