There are more than 20 billion devices currently connected to the internet, and the number continues to grow. There are almost 3 times more devices connected to the internet than there are humans on the planet. This is called IoT, or “Internet of Things”.
There is no aspect of life or industry that hasn’t been effected by this connectivity, and healthcare is no exception. The medical field accounts for more and more devices being connected to the IoT every day. IoT in healthcare’s value is immeasurable, as it improves patient and staff safety, and improves the ability of doctors and staff to ensure patients get better.
Labs and hospitals are becoming smarter every day. In the past medical workers had to manually interact with machines to do everything. The Internet has allowed machines to communicate with each other and become easier to use because they can send and receive information from each other.
Now this capability is built into almost every piece of equipment there is, especially in the medical field. Equipment can talk to each other now without humans even interacting with them. Why is this important? For example, a remote temperature monitoring system may send an alert when a refrigerator or freezer temperature becomes too hot, and then that refrigerator or freezer can in turn alter it’s own temperature if it has the technology to do so.
IoT Devices in Labs
The best example of an IoT device/system in a lab is a remote temperature monitoring system. These systems can do everything from track the temperature in your lab to check for CO2 leaks. When the remote temperature monitoring system detects an issue from their preset directives, the devices connected to them transmit an alert to other devices. These may be other devices connected to them, or devices that staff use to monitor for alerts. (Many times computers, tablets or phones.)
IoT devices are also very valuable in helping labs maintain compliance. Many items in labs are supposed to be maintained at certain criteria per regulatory guidelines. IoT devices can ensure these guidelines are being maintained without human interaction.
IoT in Healthcare
Maintaining the right temperature is of the utmost importance in the medical field. Healthcare facilities often have the same sorts of guidelines when dealing with things like vaccines and medicine.
IoT devices also help improve patient care. A doctor can use the data from wearables to know in real time what their patient’s condition is, and thus make instant decisions regarding that patient. Doctors can track their lab results and receive notifications about results sooner.
IoT devices also vastly improve the efficiency of medical professionals. They can receive notifications about lab results sooner and ensure the quality of their materials without constantly maintaining them.
IoT devices allow labs to collect massive amounts of data, and also share that data for much broader and richer use. IoT in healthcare works to collect more data and make it much more available for use. The ability to access all of this data also improves safety and compliance, which enhances patient care in medical facilities.