Internet of Things devices and tools are revolutionizing the medical industry, with more and more companies and start-ups creating new interconnected objects for the healthcare industry. We have been using similar tools in our daily lives – from GPS watches for exercise to fitness trackers that record our steps and calories burned. But connected objects for the medical field are much more advanced. The objective is that these items connect to the internet to upload or download data. Gartner predicts that there will be 26 billion interconnected devices by 2020.
Connected objects that measure physiological factors are generally targeted at the public and made available by major retail outlets. This means that many medical professionals will not prescribe the connected devices, and users miss out on the prudent advice that practitioners have to offer.
How do We Currently Use Connected Devices?
A study has shown that only 22% of French people own health-related connected devices, and that 88% have no plans to buy one for at least 3 years. However, an L’Atelier study revealed that while only around 11% of participants owned connected devices, most of them did own some form of disconnected medical equipment, such as a thermometer, a scale or another type of equipment that measures physiological data. It is expected that the figure of connected device owners should nearly double in the next three years.
The study also found that, while the use of sophisticated mobile devices has increased, most participants were completely unaware of connected objects.
Marketing of Connected Objects
Studies show that the reason for the low number of connected device users could be found in the fact that the medical profession is not proactive in driving its penetration.
A mere 16% of people who use or own connected devices learned about it from their pharmacy, while only 9% heard about it from medical staff.
However, a recent study has found that most medical practitioners are partial to the connected revolution in the industry.
4 Innovative Connected Devices for the Medical Industry
As the industry of connected objects grows, ever more sophisticated devices are landing on the market. Here are four of the most innovative, life-saving interconnected objects for healthcare that can be found on the Internet of Things:
Prescription Pills: Proteus Digital Health has created an ingestible sensor to ensure that patients are taking their medication on schedule. The sensor is part of the pill, and it reacts with the stomach fluids. When this happens, it sends a signal to a patch on the skin, which in turn relays information to a smartphone, from where data can be shared with physicians and caregivers.
Insulin Injection Trackers: Vigilant, a Swiss company developed and insulin injection tracker that helps diabetics to manage their health. The Bee+ is an electronic cap which fits on most insulin pens to wirelessly transmit the patient’s injection data to his smartphone app.
Diapers: Pixie Scientific developed diapers that measure and analyze patient’s urine to test for urinary tract infections and to check the patient’s hydration levels. A caregiver will scan the QR data on the front of each diaper, which sends information to his or her smartphone. Smart diapers are available for both infants and elderly patients.
Infant Monitors: Mimo developed a baby monitor that measures the baby’s activity level, sleeping position, breathing and skin temperature to the parents’ smart phones in real-time.
These are just some of the fantastic interconnected technologies for the medical field that are available on the market today. By inspiring people to use these technologies, life could be made easier for patients and their caregivers, and perhaps lives may be saved as a result of receiving real-time data and alerts.