IoT in Healthcare: Applications, Advantages and Challenges


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Internet of Things in Healthcare

Technology is making great impacts on healthcare delivery as it gives. Many services of health workers would have been limited if not for technical innovations. Before the advent of the Internet of Things, patients’ interactions with doctors were limited to one-on-one visits, and sometimes with telephone communication. It was practically impossible for doctors or hospitals effectively monitor patients’ health, and make appropriate recommendations.

What is Internet of Things (IOT)?

data generated by these connected devices hold the potential to transform healthcare.

Stages of IoT

There are four stages of IoT, and they make up its four-step architectural process. The stages are systematic as one stage births the next stage.

Step 1: Development of Data Collection Devices. 

The first step in IoT is to develop interconnected devices such as camera systems, actuators, monitors, sensors, detectors, etc.

Step 2: Data Compilation 

Data obtained from data capturing devices above are usually in different forms and formats including analog form, which need to be sorted, aggregated, and converted to the digital form for further data processing.

Step 3: Data Warehousing

 Once the data is digitized and aggregated, harmonized standardized they are then stored in the database or Cloud.

Step 4: Data Analysis Data

At this stage, the data are being analyzed at different levels by applying Advanced Analytics to provide actionable business insights for effective decision-making.

Internet of Things in Healthcare Devices

IoT in Healthcare involves the applications of IoT devices to improve healthcare delivery. The use of healthcare-specific IoT products has contributed to transforming the healthcare system.

IoT is redefining the healthcare system by ensuring improved workflows, processes, and performances of healthcare providers. It ensures improved treatment procedures and outcomes and reduced costs for patients, patient experience, and much more.

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is the application of a network of Internet-connected medical-specific devices, hardware infrastructure, and software in healthcare information technology management. The Internet of Medical Things enables remote devices securely interact with others using internet service to facilitate rapid, flexible, and accurate medical data collection, analysis, and sharing.

IoMT also known as IoT in healthcare is one of the fastest-growing aspects of IoT market.  Insights from a recent Deloitte survey revealed that the overall IoMT market is expected to grow from $41 billion in 2017 to $158 billion by 2022. While GlobeNewswire estimated IoT in Healthcare market to reach $176.82 Billion by 2026.

How Internet of Things is Impacting Healthcare Services

IoMT is beneficial to hospitals, medical professionals, patients, and even health insurance companies.


With the use of IOMT devices like wearables and other home monitoring equipment doctors and other healthcare givers can monitor patients’ health more effectively. They can track patients’ adherence to treatment plans or any need for urgent medical attention. IoT enables healthcare workers to connect with the patients response to their medical needs promptly. Insights from data collected using IoT can assist physicians identify the best treatment process for patients that will give positive results.


Hospitals also deploy IoT in other areas of hospital operations and management. IoT is used in medical inventory management. IoMT devices tagged with sensors and barcodes are used for tracking the real-time location of medical supplies and equipment such as defibrillators wheelchairs, nebulizers, oxygen, pumps, nebulizers, and other monitoring equipment.

Hospital asset management is very critical in the real-time healthcare delivery value chain. Pharmacy inventory control, and environmental monitoring, like checking refrigerator temperature, and humidity and temperature control can all be done in real-time with help of IOT for healthcare-enabled real-time devices.

With IoT, staff deployment at different locations can also be managed in real-time.

IoT-enabled hygiene monitoring devices can help in preventing the spread of infections within the hospital.


IoT has helped in managing patients and improve on their health conditions, especially elderly patients, by enabling constant and real-time tracking and monitoring of health conditions. This has a major impact on people living alone and their families. When there is any disturbance or changes in the routine activities of a patient especially those living alone or those receiving home treatment, the alert mechanism sends signals to family members and/or health providers. The IoMT devices enable patients to get personalized medical attention.

Some of the IoT for Patients - Devices are wearables such as fitness bands, glucometers, blood pressure, heart rate monitoring cuffs, etc. IoMT devices can be set up to remind of calorie counts, exercise checks, appointments, blood pressure variations, and much more.

Health Insurance

Health insurance companies make use of IoT for healthcare as well.

Health insurers use IoT-connected intelligent devices for health monitoring in their underwriting, and claims operations. Data captured with IoMT devices enable insurance companies to detect fraud claims and identify prospects and their health information for underwriting. IoT devices make for transparency in underwriting, pricing,  risk assessment, and claims handling processes. IoT-captured data-driven decisions in all operation processes ensure that both insurer and customer do not shortchange the other, and customers will have adequate information on the reasons behind every decision made and process outcomes. Insurance companies use data captured by IoT devices to validate claims.

Insurers may offer incentives and reward to their customers who use IoMT devices to keep track of their routine health activities and share health data generated by IoT devices. Customers using IoT devices to keep track of their routine activities and adherence to treatment plans and precautionary health measures can help insurers to reduce claims.


Advantages of IoT in Healthcare

The major advantages of IoT in healthcare include:

Cost Reduction: IoT enables patient monitoring in real-time, thus significantly cutting down unnecessary visits to doctors, hospital stays and re-admissions

Faster Disease Diagnosis: Continuous patient monitoring and real-time data helps in diagnosing diseases at an early stage or even before the disease develops based on symptoms

Improved Treatment: It enables healthcare givers to make evidence-based informed decisions and brings absolute transparency

Proactive Treatment: Fast disease diagnosis and frequent health monitoring facilitates the provision of proactive medical treatment

Drugs and Equipment Management: Management of drugs and medical equipment is a major challenge in the healthcare industry. Through connected devices, these are managed and utilized efficiently with reduced costs

Error Reduction: Data provided through IoT devices help in effective decision-making as well as in ensuring smooth healthcare operations with reduced errors, waste, and system costs.

Challenges of IoT in Healthcare

Just like in any other sector where IoT is applied, Healthcare IoT has some challenges. The two major challenges the use of IoT in health presents are the issues of privacy and security breaches. IoT-enabled connected devices capture large amounts of data, including sensitive personal information, thereby raising concerns about data security.

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