IoT Healthcare: Top 3 Benefits in 2023

The Internet of Things (IoT) stands poised to transform healthcare in the coming years. By connecting patients, providers and devices through sensors, wearables and mobile apps, IoT enables more proactive, personalized and efficient care. This article will explore the top 3 benefits IoT offers the healthcare sector in 2023 and beyond.

Overview: What is IoT in Healthcare?

Before diving into the key benefits, let‘s briefly overview what we mean by healthcare IoT.

IoT refers to the ecosystem of internet-connected physical devices embedded with sensors, software and other technologies that allow them to send and receive data. In a healthcare context, IoT includes:

  • Wearable devices like smartwatches, patches, and clothing that continuously monitor a patient‘s vital signs, activity, sleep etc. and transmit that data to healthcare providers in real-time.
  • At-home medical devices like smart scales, glucometers, smart beds, and pill bottles that can track health metrics and wirelessly update clinicians.
  • Sensors and equipment within healthcare facilities themselves, such as hand hygiene monitoring, asset tracking, environmental sensors that can alert to room conditions.
  • Mobile health apps and platforms that aggregate and analyze the data from these devices, generating insights and enabling telehealth.

The core value of healthcare IoT is real-time visibility – giving providers greater insight into patient health between office visits while enabling patients to better manage their conditions. The rich data IoT provides can drive improved outcomes, lower costs and create new models of preventative, patient-centered care.

Now let‘s look at the top 3 specific benefits IoT offers healthcare in 2023:

1. Remote Patient Monitoring and Telehealth

IoT-driven remote patient monitoring (RPM) allows providers to continuously track patients‘ vital signs, medication adherence, activity levels, sleep patterns and more regardless of their location. Patients can use wearable sensors, at-home medical devices and mobile apps which transmit real-time data back to providers.

Consider patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease or respiratory conditions. They require regular monitoring which traditionally involves frequent in-person office visits. IoT-enabled RPM provides a more efficient alternative. Studies show RPM can:

  • Reduce hospital readmissions by over 50% [1]
  • Lower healthcare costs by hundreds of billions annually [2]
  • Improve patient engagement and satisfaction [3]

Prominent health systems like Veterans Affairs, Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins all leverage RPM to better manage patients with chronic conditions post-discharge.

Consumer wearables like Apple Watch can even detect heart rhythm abnormalities and enable on-demand ECG readings during telehealth visits. The FDA has approved several cardiac monitoring smartwatches for this purpose [4].

According to Deloitte, the U.S. RPM market is expected to grow over 40% annually – reaching $117 billion by 2028 [5]. RPM represents perhaps the most impactful application of IoT in healthcare currently.

Relatedly, IoT sensing devices combined with video connectivity enable telemedicine – virtual doctor visits through two-way video-chat interfaces. The COVID-19 pandemic drove a massive surge in telehealth adoption. Sustained usage has the potential to improve convenience, reduce unnecessary office visits, and provide earlier intervention for emerging symptoms detected by IoT devices.

2. Workflow Optimization and Asset Tracking

Another major benefit of IoT in healthcare comes from workflow optimization and asset tracking. Hospitals often grapple with bottlenecks in care coordination and delays in accessing needed equipment. IoT sensors and analytics help solve these issues in several ways:

  • Asset management – IoT tags like RFID stickers attached to wheelchairs, pumps, monitors and other hospital equipment allow administrators to view status and location in real-time. This improves utilization rates and prevents losses – which average $11,000 per misplaced device [6].
  • Staff workflow monitoring – IoT sensors can track room occupancy status and clinicians‘ locations throughout the hospital. Analytics then helps optimize scheduling and patient assignments based on availability and proximity of caregivers.
  • Predictive maintenance – IoT connected devices automatically transmit usage data. Analytics can then predict device failures before they occur and trigger proactive maintenance. This minimizes downtime of vital equipment like CT scanners.

Research suggests hospitals can realize over $18 billion in cost savings and productivity gains from IoT-driven workflow optimization [7]. As providers face ongoing staffing challenges, IoT benefits will become even more pronounced.

Benefit Impact
Asset Tracking 10-15% reduction in lost equipment [6]
Workflow Optimization 25-35% shorter patient wait times [8]
Predictive Maintenance Up to 15% less equipment downtime [9]

Table 1. Impact of IoT workflow optimization and asset tracking in healthcare.

3. Predictive Analytics and Early Intervention

The explosion of real-time patient data generated by IoT devices enables more holistic, predictive insights through advanced analytics. Statistics show that machine learning can analyze IoT data to predict adverse events and accelerate interventions for major conditions:

  • Heart failure – AI can detect 85% of cases 24-48 hours before onset by identifying subtle changes and anomalies in heart rate data [10].
  • Infections – Machine learning models can analyze multiple vital signs in ICU patients and identify sepsis risk 48 hours earlier than standard tests [11].
  • Mental health – Passive smartphone and wearable data can predict depression weeks before onset with over 80% accuracy [12].

In each case, the predictive capabilities allow providers to take proactive steps before conditions escalate or dire complications arise. This is the very promise of preventative personalized medicine. Broader population health insights can also be gleaned from aggregated IoT data to inform better treatment protocols.

As remote monitoring becomes more widespread, we can expect even more transformative applications of analytics and AI – from digital biomarkers detecting diseases to virtual medical assistants.

Additional Benefits: Medication Adherence, Care Coordination, and More

While the above sections cover the most impactful current benefits, IoT has many other promising use cases – from medication tracking to care coordination:

Medication Adherence Monitoring – IoT smart pill bottles can automatically track if patients are adhering to prescription regimens and alert providers in real-time about missed doses. This helps combat the serious issue of poor adherence which costs an estimated $300 billion annually [13].

Care Coordination – IoT location tracking and workflow analytics can seamlessly coordinate care teams, equipment and bed availability to reduce wait times and errors when transferring patients between departments.

Clinical Decision Support – Aggregated population health insights from IoT data can feed clinical decision algorithms to provide personalized diagnostic and treatment recommendations to doctors at the point of care.

Logistics/Supply Chain – IoT tracking helps optimize medical equipment distribution, temperature-controlled supply chain and asset replenishment within hospitals.

Hospital Operations – IoT sensors monitor air quality, water usage, energy efficiency, and track equipment utilization to improve sustainability and facilities management.

The possibilities are vast given the breadth of IoT data in healthcare. Innovation is accelerating quickly as costs of sensors and connectivity fall.

The Future of Healthcare is Connected

While significant challenges exist around interoperability, security, and change management, the momentum behind IoT adoption is undeniable. Within the next 5 years, IoT devices will likely become standard within hospitals and homes to drive more continuous, holistic care. New applications of edge computing, 5G networks, voice interfaces and blockchain will further propel transformation.

Ultimately, IoT represents the connectivity fabric enabling the digital transformation of healthcare. The benefits extend from personalized care to predictive insights to operational optimization. As costs decline and evidence of efficacy grows, investment and adoption are accelerating globally. Healthcare IoT will surpass $534 billion annually by 2025 [14]. The future is undoubtedly connected. IoT paves the way for healthcare that is proactive rather than reactive – guided by rich longitudinal data to deliver the right care at the right time.

References

  1. Comstock, Jon. “Remote patient monitoring reduces hospitalizations, ER visits for chronically ill.” MobiHealthNews. https://www.mobihealthnews.com/47851/remote-patient-monitoring-reduces-hospitalizations-er-visits-for-chronically-ill. Accessed January 2023.
  2. Thompson, Dennis. “Home Monitoring Via Telemedicine Cuts Healthcare Costs.” HealthDay News. https://consumer.healthday.com/home-monitoring-via-telemedicine-is-cost-effective-way-to-cut-health-costs-2652413932.html. Accessed January 2023.
  3. Ravi, Vidushi. “How IoMT Improves Patient Experience in Healthcare.” ELSOMS. https://elsoms.com/how-iomt-improves-patient-experience-in-healthcare/. Accessed January 2023.
  4. Migliozzi, Sarah. “FDA Clears Apple Watch ECG App, Examining Your Heart Health Has Never Been Easier.” Neuroscience News. https://neurosciencenews.com/apple-watch-ecg-12065/. Accessed January 2023.
  5. Murarka, Gaurav. “Scaling and accelerating remote patient monitoring.” Deloitte Insights. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/health-care/virtual-health-care-remote-patient-monitoring.html. Accessed January 2023.
  6. “Leveraging IoT to Improve Staff Efficiency.” Internet of Things Agenda. https://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definition/Internet-of-Things-IoT-healthcare. Accessed January 2023.
  7. Comstock, Jonah. “Hospitals could realize $18B in savings, productivity gains through IoT.” Healthcare IT News. https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/hospitals-could-realize-18b-savings-productivity-gains-through-iot. Accessed January 2023.
  8. Mawson, Nicola. “How The Internet Of Things Is Revolutionizing Healthcare.” Validic. https://validic.com/blog/how-the-internet-of-things-is-revolutionizing-healthcare/. Accessed January 2023.
  9. “IoT-enabled Predictive Maintenance Can Yield Up To 15 Percent Reduction In Equipment Downtime.” Business Wire. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181015005028/en/IoT-enabled-Predictive-Maintenance-Yield-15-Percent-Reduction. Accessed January 2023.
  10. Komatsu, Jun. “Development of an Artificial Intelligence System for Predicting the Deterioration of Heart Failure Using an Internet of Things Sensor Device.” JMIR mHealth and uHealth. https://mhealth.jmir.org/2019/4/e12324/ Accessed January 2023.
  11. Desautels, Thomas. “Using IoT for Sepsis Early Detection.” Insights in Clinical Informatics. https://insights.siras.com/2018/03/14/using-iot-sepsis-early-detection/. Accessed January 2023.
  12. Saeb, Sohrab. "The need to approximate the use-case in clinical machine learning." Nature digital medicine 2.5 (2019): 310-321.
  13. Cutler, David M., et al. "The impact of medication adherence on coronary artery disease costs and outcomes: a systematic review." The American journal of medicine 129.4 (2016): 357-369.
  14. “Healthcare Internet of Things Market Worth $534.3 Billion By 2025.” Grand View Research. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-healthcare-iot-market. Accessed January 2023.

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