IoT is helping to improve healthcare delivery in several ways, from electronic health and telesurgery to mobile health and remote patient monitoring.
Electronic health has grown over the last decade as electronic health record (EHR) systems gradually reduce paper-based processes and make it easier for different providers involved in a patient's care to share information. The rise of electronic health also has driven electronic prescribing and made it easier for doctors to share prescription information with pharmacies, for health systems to share information with patients via secure electronic portals, and for patients to have telehealth visits with their healthcare providers remotely.
Healthcare IoT also has led to the emergence of mobile health and remote patient monitoring. Providers can use mobile devices to share accurate clinical information with patients that helps to improve their engagement in their own care and with other providers to foster more collaboration across specialties. Mobile devices and applications also are critical for remote patient monitoring, where patients wear a sensor-based device or wearable technology that transmits health data to clinicians involved in their care. This emerging technology could have significant implications for managing chronic conditions and helping to facilitate early interventions that can help reduce the likelihood of serious illness, surgery or treatment in the future.
We're also seeing IoT in healthcare with telesurgery, which could allow doctors to perform surgery remotely and better serve underserved populations. With telesurgery, a doctor would use a robotic system or device to perform surgery on a patient—even though they aren't in the operating room. IoT devices and wireless networking technologies could allow doctors to see and maneuver their way around the surgical field to deliver accurate surgical procedures, according to research published in Cureus.
Whether it's telesurgery, remote patient monitoring or electronic health, all of these interactions rely on the ability of IoT-enabled devices to not only transfer data in near real time but to do so securely. The best way for organizations to integrate IoT and healthcare is by implementing multi-layered security, which can help strengthen their security posture at the device, application and network levels.