The digitization of healthcare will impact every facet of the healthcare industry. Positioning and wireless connectivity technologies are at the core of preventative healthcare devices (personal fitness and health trackers), as well as remote patient monitoring solutions, on-site patient monitoring devices, and in-hospital asset trackers for beds and medical infrastructure. They can further increase the efficiency and safety of the medical product supply chain. Rather than posing a threat to medical professionals, connectivity is likely to assist and augment them in their general practice, in the hospital, and as first responders.
Portable medical devices
- Fitness and health trackers: Companies and insurance providers are rolling out programs to reward employees for healthy behavior, monitored using wearable fitness trackers. To increase uptake by the population, these devices have to feature reliable, secure, and low-power positioning and communication technology.
- Wearable continuous glucose meters (CGM): With the global rise in the incidence of diabetes, patients benefit from minimally invasive, digitally connected glucose monitors that allow parents to follow their children’s blood sugar levels from distance and share them with their healthcare providers.
- Mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems (mPERS): Wearable devices are increasingly exploiting positioning and cellular technology to monitor the location of children and elderly individuals, allowing them to be safe but more independent. Equipped with emergency buttons, fall detection sensors, or capable of detecting pre-set geozones, these devices can come with a two-way speaker to activate an alert to a call center, which, depending on the gravity of the situation, can then contact emergency personnel or pre-defined contacts such as family, friends, and caregivers.
Home or Stationary medical devices
- Sleep apnea sensors: Connected sleep apnea sensors allow medical professionals to remotely monitor the respiration rate of their patients, enabling better diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up.
- Blood pressure, heart rate monitors, pulse oximeters: Wireless connectivity lets patients automatically log their blood pressure and heart rate readings, as well as their blood oxygen level on the cloud and visualize them on their smartphone or computer.
- Connected medical thermometers: Medical thermometers upload anonymized temperature readings to the cloud, revealing sellable insights into the geographical spread of diseases.
- Smart pill dispensers: Smart pill dispensers help caregivers ensure that patients abide to their medication regimen, often made up for several pills per day.
- Connected scales: Using connected scales and body composition monitors, users can conveniently track their weight, their body fat percentage, and other parameters to continually assess their overall physical health.
- Assisted living solutions: Smart assisted living solutions can support elderly people living alone or those with special need by connecting them to their family and caregivers and automatically sending health data and, when necessary, alerts to medical professionals.
Professional medical devices
- Connected defibrillators: Used, for example, in ambulances, connected defibrillators transmit patient data to a central server, giving medical teams in the ER advance access to real-time CPR data for heightened preparedness.
- Wireless detachable control panels for devices: Wireless remote controls and control panels for anything from operation beds to dialysis machines to machines for live organ transfer increase convenience and monitor the sterility of device designs.
- Hospital asset trackers: Far too often, hospital equipment is misplaced, lost, or stolen. By fitting anything from beds to IV drips to medical devices with tag trackers, medical staff can save precious hours searching for devices and ensure that they replace lost items early on.
- Personnel and patient trackers: Waiting around for medical personnel and patients gone astray is a waste of time that can be prevented using wearable personal trackers.
Pharmaceutical supply chain trackers
- IoT trackers for improved data authenticity and supply chain integrity
Combining IoT trackers and blockchain technology offers a powerful approach to streamline value chain processes while increasing security and ensuring safety compliance to the pharmaceutical industry’s stringent standards, providing trusted and scalable monitoring solutions for drugs in transit. Data collected using IoT sensors can thereby be checked against specific smart contracts in the blockchain, validating that each transaction meets the standards set out by industry regulators, then automatically triggering actions such as notifying the sender and receiver, releasing the goods, and then making the payment to complete the transaction.