In all the years of the practice of healthcare, it has never been remotely close to what we have this day and age. Where else have you seen patients ingesting tracking pills that record how many times the patient has ingested the medicine? Or a monitor that records and relays information about remote patients? The technologies we have are changing the entire face of healthcare, and we are just at the beginning.
The Internet and the concept of the “cloud” are pivotal and central to this revolution. Devices are being used to aid fast information relay between patients and healthcare practitioners. It is also even used to aid patients to find the best clinics and health services available. Here are the two main ways the Internet shapes and will continually shape the field of healthcare:
Internet as a Locator
There is an increase of websites that caters to general and specific health issues like pregnancy, women’s health, men’s health, cancer, and the likes. Sites like WebMD, NIH, Yahoo! Health, MayoClinic, and MedicineNet provide useful information on almost every health issues we encounter today. This particular order is the top 5 most popular health websites as of July 2014 according to eBizMBA Rank.
Private clinics are also setting up websites that allow patients to see the available healthcare services, facilities, practitioners, locations, and rates. For example, patients looking for varicose vein treatment in Charlotte, North Carolina can go to Veins Carolina. Those looking for varicose vein treatment in Miami can check this site for more information on the health condition. These websites are helpful in informing the patients about the nature of illness, the need for surgeries, appropriate treatments, and other useful information. This trend of using Internet as a channel for connecting patients and practitioners is extremely effective in boosting the healthcare industry and empowering the patients to make informed decisions.
Internet of Things (IoT)
There are literally hundreds of gadgets available nowadays that speed up the transfer of data from devices to the cloud. This is the exact principle of the Internet of Things. Devices used for healthcare such as monitors and pills are technologically advanced to allow them to gather and transmit data from the patient to the practitioner. Let me give you a few examples.
Some hospitals are using infant monitors developed by Dulcie Madden of Mimo that are capable of sending the parents live and actual information on their baby’s temperature, breathing rate, heartbeat rate, sleeping position, and other activities. Data are sent directly to the parent’s smartphones, making it handy and conveniently accessible.
Another one is the smart diapers that analyze the patients’ urine for signs of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Hydration levels are also analyzed. Data can be retrieved by the caregiver upon scanning a QR code in front of the diaper. Data are transmitted to the caregiver’s smartphone. These diapers, developed by Jennie Rubinshteyn of Pixie Scientific, are used for infants and elderly patients with memory loss.
These are just two of the vast array of devices in IoT that totally change the practice of healthcare. We can expect more in the years to come, and if handled correctly, these technologies will improve the overall health state of humanity.