The Internet of Things, is a network of eHealth technologies such as wearables, smart speakers and even robotics controlled at a distance. Although the word ‘thing’ is not eloquent or descriptive, in the case of Internet of Things (IoT), things refer to sophisticated technology that are able to connect through the internet and monitor, collect and report data without human intervention.
The scope and uses of these devices within health and medicine is vast from devices that monitor vital stats such as glucose levels to hearing aids that can connect to smart phone applications. However, rather than focusing on each of the parts, picture the eHealth technologies working together to create an IOT symphony, rather than just the performance of the smart watch as the lead violin, and my my, what beautiful music these instruments can make together.
Not only can several devices be worn on the body, they can be connected together to remotely report to the health care provider in order to gather unbiased and real time information of the patients’ condition and lifestyle. This data can be reviewed by their physician to inform medication and prescription choices, communicated electronically to their local pharmacist, and the information cascaded to their devices in their own homes that provide prompts to take the medication.
The benefit of an interconnected system provides not only peace of mind for patients and relatives, but the hands-off approach still maintains a level of independence – with increased medical monitoring, albeit passively. This efficiency frees up time for providers to work with other patients and reduce costs of delivering face to face care.
At the centre of the Internet of Things, is information and the power to use it. Patients can access their own records through mHealth apps, doctors can interpret data reported from wearables and load on to Electronic Health Records (EHR) and the learnings can be plotted to inform better care choices, from any facility that the patient needs to be treated by.
The scope for new innovations to complement this affordable and adaptable network is vast, and excitingly can respond to patient needs and behaviour.