With recent advancements in the field of electronics and the ongoing craze of a connected world, the Internet of Things (IoT) is undoubtedly a major player in the future of healthcare and wellness programs.
When the X-ray machine was first introduced to the world at the beginning of the 20th century, it was greeted with gasps of disbelief and statements of mockery and criticism. The ability to peek into the human body and discover the miraculous intricacies of nature has always fascinated mankind. Fast forward a hundred and twenty years, and a small band on the wrist of a common man is not a very rare sight. If Wilhelm Röntgen, the brains behind the X-Ray machine, were to time travel and visit us, he’d be astounded to discover that this small wrist-band is literally making a boom in healthcare.
IoT or the Internet of Things is a very simple concept; it is the internet of things. Physical electronic entities (or ‘things’) connected via the internet, the biggest network of computers in the world, sharing data and communicating with each other, is the crux of the wonderful concept of IoT. Unexceptionally, like any breakthrough invention or discovery, IoT finds itself useful in almost all industries; healthcare being one of them, and that too contributes to a huge percentage of the applications of IoT in healthcare.
The internet is a web of billions and billions of devices. These devices create, update, read, and delete data every second. Unorganized data is the bane of our generation. Bringing medical services and wellness projects on a single connected platform has been a dream since years. Smart bands have built in trackers that monitor body vitals and then send this data to the users’ smartphones via the internet. Each device spews huge chunks of data every day and this data, if not arranged and sorted, can turn into a tangled mess of cryptic and incomprehensible information.
Collecting this huge array of perpetual bits and bytes and harvesting it into a meaningful format that can be applied to improve the standard of living in societies is the vision of all technological pioneers in the field of healthcare. Especially in countries like India where life expectancy rates are still affected by factors plaguing third world countries, an advanced method of exchange of data is crucial. The Indian Constitution safeguards a citizen’s right to free healthcare, but this is not true on a practical stage. A huge amount of money is expended by low earning people on diagnosis of diseases alone. Immediate medical attention in case of heart attacks and other similar diseases is still a dream for a majority of people in India.With electronics constantly churning heartbeat rates and throwing it to medical professionals, this dream can, and shall become a reality soon.
Imagine this utopian setup; a community of doctors, health experts, patients on a united stage, swapping information in a matter of nanoseconds. This serves the people with multiple benefits; eradicating hassle-filled medical formalities, minimising doctor-patient communication gaps, quick response to emergencies, mitigating the effects of diseases that might afflict the patient in future, are just a few advantages of a connected world pushing for new horizons in healthcare.
The world is moving at a fast pace. Scientists and research scholars bombard us with medical inventions and breakthroughs everyday. A new X-ray machine or a new defibrillator is being invented even as you read this. The 21st century is living the reality our ancestors could not fathom. The internet is now inside your body, connecting your heartbeat to the heartbeat of another person living on the opposite side of the globe, and synchronizing them to form a single living organism; a tiny blue dot floating in the vastness of this universe.