Despite ethical concerns with AI, IoT is on rise in healthtech

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By 2020, almost 85 per cent of healthcare organisations are expected to incorporate IoT

Everyone is now aware that artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet-of-things (IoT) are all of a sudden booming businesses. They have their touch-points in almost every industry, every sector.

AI demands more than just buying and installing a particular piece of software. More than 80 percent of execs said they’re not ready for “societal and liability issues that will require them to explain their AI-based actions and decisions,” according to a report by Accenture, Digital Health Technology Vision 2018. However, the IoT is on rise in the healthcare sector. It has a sharp impact on the entire industry, personal healthcare and healthcare payment applications. The healthcare IoT use cases are picking up speed and the connected healthcare reality is accelerating, even if hurdles of artificial intelligence (AI) remain.

By 2020, almost 85 per cent of healthcare organisations are expected to incorporate IoT

IoT Healthcare market is primarily driven by the evolution of artificial intelligence technology, rise in investments for the implementation of IoT healthcare solutions and the increasing penetration of connected devices in healthcare. Moreover, the adoption of IoT healthcare systems and software is increasing due to the need to reduce the cost of healthcare.

As Kaveh Safavi, MD, head of Accenture’s global health practice, explained, “intelligent technologies such as AI are enabling health organisations to evolve at speed, collaborate with other entities and create deeper, more meaningful relationships with patients across various care settings.”

IoT in Healthcare — connected/digital healthcare

In the Internet of Things (IoT), devices gather and share information directly with each other as well as the cloud. These connected devices make it possible collecting, recording and analyzing new data streams faster and more accurately.

Most of the executives in healthcare sector look forward to incorporate AI and IoT technology in their existing systems. However, first of all, they will need other capabilities and competencies to ensure they’re safely deployed.

It won’t surprise you to know that artificial intelligence and the internet-of-things are suddenly big business. However, as hospitals, healthcare institutes and health systems rush to incorporate these new technologies, many of them fail to realise that they also need to be honing other capabilities and competencies.

Accenture’s new report finds that more than three-quarters of healthcare decision-makers surveyed say they’re planning to invest in IoT and smart sensors in 2018. And more than half said they’re shopping around for AI systems. The vast majority (86 per cent) said they’re looking for technology to help them harness data to drive automated decision-making.

The usage of intelligent connected devices like brain sensors, fitness wearable, sleep monitoring devices etc is on rise due to following reasons:

Remote health and monitoring

With IoT in place, patients, sometimes, don’t even need to visit an emergency room or hospital. Telehealth is one of the most popular IoT applications of healthcare. Remote health monitoring not only minimise costs and eliminate the need for frequent visits, but it also helps improve the patient’s quality of living by sparing them the inconvenience of travel.

Some patients might have limited or restricted mobility. Some patients might depend on public transportation to reach the healthcare provider. These concerns can be made simple through IoT.

An ageing global population, ever rising healthcare costs and rapid technological innovations together drives governments to set up policies focused on helping IoT sector.

Also read: With AI and IoT playing a growing role in our lives, it’s time to be more conscious of privacy and security

Track of inventory, patients and staff

For any hospital, medical facility or healthcare center, along with quality care, safety is the utmost concern. To maintain the level best security of patients, staff members, hardware components and assets across the facility is not easy as it seems. It requires accurate and timely tracking. Agreed that tracking can be simpler and manageable task in smaller institutions, but when it comes to larger facilities that feature multiple structures and campuses as well as thousands of patients and staff members, it cannot be easily achieved.

To overcome this challenge, many healthcare organisations and facilities are moving forward to embrace IoT and real time location systems that facilitate asset tracking. IoT, at the end of the day, is an inexpensive monitoring technology as well as effective, cutting-edge and unobtrusive for hospitals.

Efficient drug management

The entire course of manufacturing medicines has been ingrained in accuracy, while pertinent technologies are used to keep it under budget. This entire drug development process is easy to optimize and fasten up through IoT enabled systems.  With IoT, insights like clinical trials, its impact, possible side effects and other usage criteria can be captured. Such insights help in better patient treatment and monitoring.

Also read: This IoT device monitors air quality using laser tech that counts each individual air particle

On the other hand, Patients also have access to the information, through a handy smartphone app, to track their personal performance and improve their habits.

Closing note

Rather than IoT, it will not be an exaggeration to call it IoMT (Internet of Medical Things). IoMT has been developed to set aside medical devices and applications to collect data and communicate, over a wireless network, with healthcare IT systems, regardless of AI concerns.  However, the fact can’t be ignored that there are plethora of reasons why disruptive technologies such as AI, IoT and mobile telehealth may not work. The chief rationale is patients aren’t all ready for digital health. Equally, not all healthcare providers have ample budgets or financial incentives to embrace this technology.

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