With continuing advancement in disruptive technologies and the influence of interdisciplinary research, healthcare as an industry is seeing a rise in user-friendly, efficient, and innovative solutions.
Since its emergence in 2017, the healthcare 4.0 era (where traditional healthcare models are seen gradually transitioning to e-health ones) is presenting more and more cloud solutions to increase access, accuracy, quality of service, and cost-savings.
Digital transformation is coming in waves across different industries—we know this. But healthcare in particular is seeing a wide variety of cutting-edge solutions from 3D printing in drug delivery to the digital front door concept.
That’s where the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) or healthcare IoT comes into play. IoMT consolidates medical devices and software applications to provide various medical services. In fact, smart hospitals are expected to deploy about 7.4 million IoMT devices by 2026. And this is reflected in facets like monitoring and recording data or communicating virtually.
Now there are many different solutions and platforms we can talk about. But this article is going to focus specifically on how together Voice over IP (VoIP) and IoT are changing the way we live and work. And furthermore, how these technologies can help transform communications in the healthcare industry.
- IoT and IoMT technology advancements in the medical space
- How VoIP solutions can be used in healthcare
- Integrating both IoT and VoIP to create better patient experiences
IoT and IoMT technology advancements for healthcare
Healthcare IoT refers to the group of devices and platforms used by clinics, hospitals, or other medical institutions to improve patient care and operations. IoMT basically extends healthcare to outside the hospital making it more patient-centric instead of only clinic- or hospital-centric.
The advent of healthcare IoT has made a substantial improvement in patient monitoring, quality of care, providing remote services, and data collection. And companies in healthcare IoT are constantly striving to develop innovative applications and solutions for medical institutions, with the goal of improving the quality of services. In this way, IoT is making the world smarter and more interconnected by helping people talk to devices and exchange information.
Here are some commonly seen IoT applications:
1. Health and wellness tracking wearable devices
IoT wearable devices are helping healthcare professionals to provide predictive and proactive medical care. These cutting-edge devices automatically collect real-time data on crucial health metrics like temperature, oxygen levels, and blood glucose levels, enabling healthcare professionals to intervene promptly with personalized treatments.
But that’s not all. Wearable devices also encourage patients to track and monitor their own health, fostering proactive wellness management. For patients with chronic health conditions, wearables allow doctors to remotely monitor patients and provide comprehensive care. This can potentially reduce the need for frequent hospital visits.
2. Asset and inventory tracking and management
Effective inventory management is the key to quality patient care. When organizations don’t manage their inventory appropriately, it leads to significant losses and impacts the quality of patient care negatively. Fortunately with the power of IoT technology, hospitals and other medical institutions can efficiently track and manage medical equipment, supplies, and inventory.
By leveraging IoT trackers and tracers, healthcare organizations can minimize losses, optimize resource allocation, and ensure critical equipment is readily available when required.
3. Medication management
There are several IoT-based medication management devices available in the market helping patients manage their medication schedules and adherence. Those who benefit immensely from these devices include:
- Elderly patients,
- Patients with chronic disease and cognitive impairment,
- Post-surgery or post-hospitalization patients, etc.
Moreover, these devices also provide reminders and refill notifications, track doses, and even send alerts to caregivers or healthcare professionals in case of missed doses or potential issues.
How VoIP solutions can be used in healthcare
VoIP has brought the world closer by allowing us to make time- and cost-saving calls over the Internet. By using internet protocol, VoIP or cloud telephony essentially makes it possible for people to communicate via the internet from any location or device.
VoIP has become a crucial technology in medical institutions, from using IVR systems to automatically route callers to the right department to masking caller IDs for telehealth calls. VoIP facilitates seamless and secure communication among healthcare professionals and patients.
Here are some of its key applications:
By using VoIP for healthcare, providers can conveniently connect with patients beyond the confines of traditional consultations. Professionals can easily communicate with patients, provide medical advice, and discuss treatment plans, regardless of their physical location.
Imagine a patient living in a remote area who needs to consult with a specialist located in a different city. With a cloud-based phone system, the patient can simply use their smartphone or computer to connect with the specialist for a seamless teleconsultation experience. And, in most cases, these phone systems can easily be integrated into your existing communication stack.
2. Call routing and call management
Using intelligent call routing and management features, medical institutions can transform their call-handling process. Calls can be directed to appropriate departments or healthcare professionals based on predetermined criteria, reducing wait times. You can find these features and services through a healthcare communication provider.
3. Emergency response systems
VoIP empowers healthcare facilities with rapid emergency response systems. With a simple press of a button or a voice command, healthcare professionals can swiftly communicate emergencies, call for assistance, and coordinate response efforts.
Integrating both IoT and VoIP to communicate better
IoT and VoIP are changing the way we live and work, and have transformed various industries, including healthcare. When brought together, they can create a co-existing and co-working space for medical devices, software, platforms, and communication. And this opens up exciting possibilities of what systems and processes we can create.
Picture this hypothetical scenario during critical medical events: an advanced medical alert device powered by IoT and integrated with VoIP technology. This system could use smart IoT sensors to detect emergencies like falls or sudden health deterioration and trigger VoIP-based communication devices to connect the patient with healthcare providers or emergency responders.
Whether it’s contacting the nearest hospital or getting immediate medical advice, the power of real-time communication can make a significant difference in saving lives and providing timely assistance. And this example is just one of many ways we can start thinking of how VoIP and IoT can work together in healthcare.
When done efficiently, we can see desirable outcomes such as enhanced patient care, improved resource management, and seamless communication. As VoIP telephony continues to leverage the power of IoT, the possibilities for advancements in the healthcare industry are endless.
(Image Credit: National Cancer Institute)