5 facts that will bring connected healthcare patients peace of mind
10 May 2018 IoT General
Ever since digital technology has become widespread, all sectors have gradually incorporated it. And healthcare is no exception: more and more hospitals, medical centers and healthcare facilities are using technologies of all kinds to improve their work and patient care.
However, this evolution often runs into the skepticism of some patients. Because if I start getting connected devices, how will the doctor be able to see me in person? Won’t the treatment be worse? Won’t it be less personalized? Will technology be efficient enough to help in my treatment?
The answer to these questions is the same: not at all. In fact, far from downgrading the service, the insertion of the Internet of Things (IoT) into the healthcare sector can improve it exponentially. And healthcare centers that want to convince their patients of this can give them the five arguments below.
1.- Treatment in real time
Being at the doctor’s office always makes us feel at ease, of course, but it has a clear disadvantage: the care that patients receive is limited to the time they spend within those four walls. However, if you’re at home you can have a device which measures your heartbeat, vital signs, blood pressure or sugar levels, just to cite a few examples.
2.- Time and service management
For many patients, especially elderly ones, getting to the doctor’s office can be extraordinarily complicated, not only because of the amount of time spent at the center but also because of the time needed to get there and back and the wait time before seeing the doctor. With the insertion of the IoT, both inside and outside the facilities, the time management is much more efficient, even for the hospital itself, which can assign in-person assistance only when strictly necessary.
One example of this is Giraffplus, a pilot project in the European Union and the Andalusian Health Service which consists of the installation of a household robot with a touch screen, computer and webcam which allows patients to make online consultations, in addition to detecting obstacles thanks to sensors installed all over the house.
3.- Life as usual without going to the doctor
Almost everyone knows someone who has a chronic but not serious illness: the best example is diabetes. For years now, diabetics have been able to measure their own blood sugar levels and inject themselves with insulin, but the existence of connected devices like FreeStyle Libre also allows them to passively monitor their glucose levels at all times. In this way, they are not exposed to possible drops in blood sugar levels because they are notified by the device far before there is any risk.
4.- Preventing problems
The majority of people go to the doctor or hospital not with a preventative but with a curative intention. That is, they go when they have a problem and need it solved, not before then. However, connected devices can measure many of our vital signs to make sure that everything is working properly. And if something goes wrong, many of these devices have an alarm system that warns family members of the patient, or even the hospital, when there is any kind of problem.
One example of this is the Intelligent Personal Alert Monitoring System (SIMAP), a device developed by the Red Cross for individuals with Alzheimer’s which tells the patient’s family members their exact location at all times, as well as their potential entry into a place which has previously been determined to be potentially dangerous.
5.- Remote care
In recent years, the healthcare model in our country has evolved, going from the domain of medicine (preventative or curative) to a new and increasingly entrenched profile: social-health care. Indeed, according to Eurostat, 20.1% of the population in Spain will be over the age of 64 by 2020, compared to 17.9% in 2013.
This kind of patient does not necessarily need curative care; what they need is a model more geared towards daily care and social-healthcare to ensure that everything is in order. In these cases, connected devices not only allow this monitoring to take place in real time, they also make it possible to conduct self-analy