Internet of Things brings opportunities for improving healthcare

The Internet of Things and in particular virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) offers many prospects for new advances in the healthcare industry.

An article by US think tank The Rand Corporation has looked at some of the developments in these technologies and how they could deliver benefits for the healthcare industry. The Rand article suggests benefits for the training of healthcare professionals as well as improvements in patient care.

One example quoted in the Rand article was an operation to remove cancerous tissue using a VR camera, which was performed in the UK at the Royal London hospital. This allowed numerous medical students to watch the operation live instead of “a few students straining to catch a glimpse over a surgeon’s shoulders”.

In the USA, there are examples of hospitals using VR to train doctors, nurses and medical personnel to reduce training costs. One example is the development of VR medical instructional software for a number of procedures, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

In terms of patient benefit, one technology now being offered by the NHS in the UK helps those with autism overcome phobias through re-creating real-world scenarios through VR. Another development has given bedridden and terminally ill patients the chance to go for a “walk” through a park thanks to VR headsets.

The connectivity brought by the Internet of Things also points to a future where many health-related interventions can be accomplished in the home rather than at the clinic, and aid in the detection of disease risk among different segments of the population. A range of products are in development that could dramatically improve the convenience and effectiveness of personal healthcare.

Innovations like electronic pills that track medication compliance, sleep monitors, personal electrocardiogram devices, and other standalone digital sensors will be far more useful when they’re able to report what they sense in real time.

For more on connected devices and the developments in Healthcare made possible by the Internet of Things, see our BI Research The Connected World Report.

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