Impact of IoT in the Healthcare Industry in India

Kamal Sachdeva, Healthcare Practice Head, YASH Technologies & Gautam Gupta, VP - Enterprise Solutions, YASH Technologies.The advent of technology has led to more connected devices in the world today than ever. These devices, popularly known as the Internet of Things (IoT), come in infinite forms, from smart building technologies to connected vehicles and from agricultural drones to emotion recognition cameras. Fueled by continued technological advances, the number of IoT devices is projected to exceed 20 billion by the end of 2020.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to emerge as the next big wave of the industrial revolution, the healthcare industry is rightfully hopping along with the wave of change. With innovations in medical devices, medicines, patient monitoring and much more evolving rapidly, healthcare practitioners globally are keenly observing the development to see how the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) will be a part of their future.

IoMT relates to the connected system of medical devices and applications which collect data transmit it to healthcare IT systems through online computer networks. The efficiency and accuracy gained through the implementation of smart technology in the healthcare industry could be, in real terms, lifesaving.

IoTization – Beyond Traditional Healthcare

Indian executives employed in healthcare state are investing more than the previous decade in IoMT because they believe technology is the best way to achieve the vision of a well-connected healthcare ecosystem.

Before IoMT, a patient’s interaction with doctors was limited to physical visits, and tele or text communications. Monitoring a patient’s health continuously posed challenges for medical representatives. IoMT enabled devices, mobile care applications, wearables, and sensors are different forms of technology that have made remote monitoring possible in the healthcare sector. It has also unleashed the potential to keep patients safe and healthy and empowering physicians to deliver excellent remote and personal care.

The efficiency and accuracy gained through the implementation of smart technology in the healthcare industry could be, in real terms, lifesaving.

IoT is undoubtedly revolutionizing the healthcare industry by reimagining the space of devices and people interaction in delivering healthcare solutions. IoT has applications in healthcare that benefit the various entities involved - patients, families, physicians, and hospitals.
The biggest and perhaps the most profound impact of IoMT is Preventive and Predictive care. It serves to reduce the number of hospitalizations while enhancing the quality of care and allocate resources in areas that have the most critical necessity.

Adoption and Challenges of IoT

IoMT is swiftly transforming the healthcare industry. It is redefining the interaction between devices and people and delivering healthcare solutions. IoMT’s adoption in healthcare benefits patients, families, physicians, hospitals and insurance companies.

For doctors and hospitals it cuts cost through real-time access to patient data and improves workflows via sensor-based smart chips and real-time location systems. For health insurance companies it reduces claim payments. For pharmaceutical companies it allows patients to begin medications on time due to early detection of illness and track and ensure compliance to treatments. And, for a government, it monitors and sustains population health.
Although the application of IoMT looks promising, some bottlenecks challenge its adoption in the Indian healthcare ecosystem.

A forecast recommends that by 2025, healthcare will be responsible for generating the most data of any other sector. The flood of data created by the IoMT devices and equipment used in the healthcare sector could cause unexpected issues if organizations are not qualified to handle it properly and verify its quality. To manage the voluminous data generated, the healthcare industry must ensure application of scaleable and robust infrastructure.

As the use of devices escalates, so does the various number of ways hackers could infiltrate into the vulnerable systems and steal valuable data. To tackle this, the industry must increase awareness of current threats and understand how to protect networks and gadgets from hackers’ efforts. Working on outdated infrastructure and a shortage of tech talent may also challenge the upgrade.

The lack of standardization of processes is also hampering the industry from exploiting the benefits of IoMT adoption. And, although the healthcare industry acknowledges the hurdle, the debate frequently revolves around on how to achieve this. The variations in the treatment process differ widely by hospital, and even by doctor, and there is little agreement within the industry on who does it ‘the right way.’

The Evolving Indian Healthcare Landscape

Indian consumers today are vigilant and demanding than ever. This has led to an increase in demand for cost-effective healthcare services, emergence of telemedicine, penetration of health insurance companies and mergers and acquisition along with various Government schemes.

For Indian healthcare, the key to take a winning leap will be to reanalyze the future with evolving technologies while striking a delicate balance between:

1. An increase in care expectations of patients in a connected ecology and facelessness of technology-driven healthcare
2. Limited budgets and rising costs of healthcare
3. The complexity of new technologies and their ease of deployment, integration, and security

It's an essential foundation to an ongoing information security program that can enable organizations to continue to use the benefits of increased system interconnectedness as dictated by proven ROI while minimizing the very real human and economic risks associated with IoT. However, until that is made, it is up to the healthcare enterprises to take the required precautionary steps and set proper checks in place to mitigate potential security threats of IoT. One thing is obvious – with the impact of IoT, healthcare the shall find endless opportunities for exciting innovations.