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Telemedicine's New Best Friend? IoT!

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a massive hub of data found in physical devices. From phones to vehicles to smart appliances, items network together to create a large pool of data for anyone to draw information from. A lot of companies find the IoT to be handy for customer feedback and getting ahead of market trends.

Meanwhile, telemedicine involves going to a doctor's appointment remotely — any physician who uses telecommunications to diagnose and treat patients is practicing with telemedicine. Telemedicine is a considerable help in locations where few doctors or specialists are available, and these virtual appointments are just as rewarding as going to a doctor in person. As the healthcare industry becomes more technology-driven, telemedicine is banding together with the IoT to improve both services.

How Will IoT Improve Telemedicine?

A direct result of IoT and telemedicine coming together is immeasurable, but we do know the combination will lead to lower costs and higher quality of care for patients around the globe. Pulling together knowledge and resources from beyond other telemedicine companies helps improve business for everyone involved. Including traditional medicine, telemedicine actively promotes healthy lifestyles like exercise.

The data from the IoT includes sensor biosignals, motion data and contextual data like locations and temperatures. Data is sent to devices or straight to the cloud for IoT communication, where doctors across telecommunication platforms can parse through the data and patient complaints to make a diagnosis and decide on treatment. The doctor's information will also be in the IoT, so pharmacies and other medical services can react.

How Do We Combine These Technologies?

Making the convergence of IoT and telemedicine successful can be a lot of work. The most important aspect is keeping everything as up to date as possible. Inoperable equipment can completely detach the doctor from his or her patients and make the technology pointless, or even detrimental to health. We must look at site surveys and support teams carefully before deciding on proper placement for patient care.

With everything over the internet, sometimes programs will have to go down. Keeping an eye out for, and anticipating program downtime is just as important as taking care of the equipment. Inevitably, machines will fail without warning, so we must always have backup plans ready to implement at a moment's notice. Stakeholders in the telemedicine program must always be kept up-to-date, especially patients, in case of unexpected downtime.

With all the patient's data being produced straight to the internet, security is a significant factor. Data must be made secure during transmission and while at rest. Security must be a priority at the start of the telemedicine program, not implemented as an afterthought. Keeping the patient's information private is of utmost importance to their safety.

The Benefits of Merging IoT With Telemedicine

In short, IoT joining forces with telemedicine is a good thing. Being able to provide better care to patients in need, at a much lower cost, is a great deal for everyone involved. Even businesses benefit by being able to reach more people in larger areas.

The added responsibilities include technology maintenance and patient security, both of which are essential. But we can plan maintenance and implement security measures, too. The gains greatly outweigh the costs.

About the Author

Nathan Sykes's picture

Nathan Sykes writes about the latest in emerging technologies and how they help us both professionally and personally. To stay up to date and read more by Nathan, go to his blog, Finding an Outlet.

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