The internet of things is expanding and deepening the networks that are already bringing information and services to us, almost anywhere and nearly anytime we want it. Here are just a few examples of how the internet of things has started impacting healthcare management. Some of these technologies are in the trial stage while others are already being implemented but will become commonplace.
Remote Patient Management
We’re already seeing patients dealing with mental impairment being placed in semi-independent apartments, monitored via remote cameras and sensors. One attendant can supervise half a dozen to a dozen residents at once without having to visit each apartment one at a time, and they can issue advice and give reminders completely remotely.
Facilities can see cost savings through relying on fewer site managers, though you still need at least one person there in-person to handle issues that arise, and they have the ability to hire cheaper remote supervisors not located in a high-cost area. Expect to see this model adopted by more elder-care facilities as demand for assisted living grows.
Improved Clinical Care
We are already seeing a shift from wired sensors to wireless sensors on patients, improving their comfort and ability to move. Expect to see more such monitors and for them to follow patients home. Close monitoring of a cancer patient’s temperature after chemo will allow them to receive faster treatment for infections, reducing their risk of dying. Another way sensors could be used is to track patient movement within a hospital room. If someone’s velocity spikes, nurses are notified of a likely fall. There’s no risk of patients lying on a floor for hours until the next nurse on rounds finds them. These same sensors are already part of many home monitoring systems, offering fall detection, and that may be supplemented with a monitoring device the patient wears to identify when they fall, even if it occurs in an area without sensors.
Online Education and Consultation
A number of trials have found that online consultations with counselors improve the outcomes of mental health patients. Those who are homebound receiving consultations via connected devices and apps don’t miss appointments due to difficulties arranging transportation. Patients in rural areas find it easier to book appointments with professionals working remotely rather than the only local counseling service in their area. Dementia patients may be given online tests for memory to assess their abilities, while those suffering from other conditions receiving training modules to practice skills they are learning or reminders to keep them on track have better outcomes than those without such reinforcement.
Online education for patients with chronic disorders is so valuable many health insurers offer it for free, whether teaching asthma patients how to avoid triggers or patients with metabolic syndrome to better manage diet and reduce their odds of developing diabetes.
Medical professionals, too, are increasingly relying on online educational programs. Many healthcare providers can earn their continuing education credits online. If you want to move into healthcare management, you can earn a healthcare MBA – and the online healthcare MBA program lets you complete the degree, even if it isn’t offered in your area.
The Internet of Things is set to completely change the face of healthcare and make things like remote monitoring, education, and consultation commonplace in the near future. This will most likely change how healthcare management will be handled and present a whole new set of challenges.