IoT devices provide invaluable assistance to the healthcare industry, during the current pandemic

The current pandemic has made it increasingly clear that Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are playing a critical role in delivering safe and effective care health systems, around the world.

The current pandemic has made it increasingly clear that Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are playing a critical role in delivering safe and effective care health systems, around the world. In addition to directly improving health service delivery, IoT devices have also proven their potential in improving the accessibility of preventative public health services,while also transitioning current secondary and tertiary health care mechanisms to be safer and better coordinated.

More care, less contact

With the end of the Covid 19 health crisis nowhere in sight, the healthcare industry has been innovating new ways of testing and treating patients, while reducing in-person contact unless it is absolutely necessary. IoTdevices have stepped in, making this possible.A few of the most visible areas where IoT devices have eased the burden on a strained environment include tele medicine, contact tracing and robotic sanitisation.

Starting with monitoring a patient’s temperature (one of the symptoms of Covid 19), wearable IoT devices provide necessary information about the patient’s history of co-morbidities, current heart rate, blood sugar level, blood oxygen level and other vitals without any intermediate human intervention.With this data, physicians are able to monitor the patient via tele-medical

consultations and respond quickly, saving time, money and lives in the process.

IoT devices are playing an important role in another important aspect of this pandemic – Contract tracing. Wearable IoT devices like smartwatches and Real-time location systems such as Radio Frequency Identification(RFID) bracelets enable healthcare workers to keep a track of infected patients and their contactsand also monitor quarantine and recuperation periods of these people. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data,the information collectedis analysed. By doing this, most affected areas can be confined from other areas, and proper methods for quarantine and isolation can be administered to efficiently control the spread of this virus.As a result, further spread of the virus is prevented to a large extent.

There are also non-wearable IoT medical devices likenon-surgical robots that are being used extensivelyto deal with present day circumstances.Non-surgical robots are being used to sanitise hospital rooms after each patient visit, using UV-light which is harmful to humans if exposed. Once the sanitation process is complete, physicians, nurses and other patients can safely enter the room quickly, without fear of the presence of aerosol particles of the virus. Robotic disinfection methods highly effective, when compared to traditional disinfection methods which are limited to surface areas only.

Additional benefits

These devices collect data that can be used to understand the nature of this virus in specific patient profiles and specific clusters. This information will provide invaluable insights to R&D teams as they go about their quest for finding solutions.

IoT devices are easy to manufacture, deploy and maintain. Having inbuilt data security mechanisms, they protect patient identity information (PII) and patient health information (PHI) that can be accessed only by those who have the permission to do so.

IoT devices are becoming more and more popular and have been setting new trends in the medical field. This is comforting not only to people in the healthcare industry, but to patients who are the recipients of the care as well.

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