The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), as strange as it sounds, has been making the rounds of the tech and AI world for a few years now, and it refers to any ‘smart’ product that is somehow connected to the internet or to another product. For example, smart water bottles which track your water intake and hydration levels, or smart thermostats, which allow you to control your heating on the move, from your phone. In the last year or so, however, a sub-category of the IoT has been gaining popularity in the healthcare industry, called “ Medical Internet of Things” (MIoT). This, of course, means medical products which are connected to the internet, or some kind of network, with each other. The revolution of digital healthcare is in full swing, and it will hopefully make the lives of physicians and patients easier. To show you the impact MIoT is already having in hospitals around the globe, we’ve put together our top 5 smart gadgets that are currently, or soon to be, on the market.
Wireless Vital Signs Monitor
Over the last few years there have been quite a few wireless monitoring devices appearing, but the FDA approved ‘Caretaker' is a cut above the rest. This device not only connects to your smartphone and delivers realtime vital signs and even CNIBP (Continuous Beat-by-Beat Blood Pressure), it does it all with no wires or invasive methods for the patient. It is simply a finger cuff and wrist band, worn by the patient, delivering results to any android device. As well as monitoring CNIBP and heart rate, the Caretaker is able to measure the following: blood oxygen levels, respiration rate, core body temperature, early warning score and blood volume levels.
Long gone are the days of simple analog stethoscopes which have been around for over 200 years. Digital, smart connected stethoscopes are fast gaining popularity, and although they are currently quite pricey, it’s thought that demand will drive the price down quite quickly over the next year or so. The ‘Eko Core’ digital stethoscope was voted one of the Times best inventions of 2015, and for good reason. It has analog and amplified modes, toggled by simply pressing a button, and comes with 7 amplification modes. It’s when you bring in the smartphone app, however, that the Eko Core really comes into its own. You can visualise and even record sounds picked up, share them with colleagues or patients (HIPAA approved), or choose to upload results directly to the EMR.
Smart Injection Device
Although this product is not specifically designed to be used in hospitals, it is helping to reduce the amount of clinical time needed between patient and doctor for ongoing treatment, which is always a huge plus. The SiOne Smartinjector is a remote smart connected drug delivery device, allowing doctors and patients to monitor injection administration. Unlike other home injection devices, this injector can support any syringe design in it’s innovative casing, whilst monitoring and sharing with the doctor the amount being administered and other common patient errors.
Smart hospital room
IBM Watson, the AI that won Jeopardy back in 2011, has been much debated in the healthcare world on its efficacy for improving medicine, and they have recently moved away from diagnosis to focus on treatment solutions. Watson has teamed up with the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia to bring a truly smart hospital room to the three hospitals the university oversee. The below video explains the simple call and response unit placed in the hospital room, similar to devices such as Siri or Alexa, which can help answer some of the easier questions that nurses and doctors spend their time answering. The device can tell you the visiting hours, when your next consultation is, and even close the smart connected blinds and turn down the heating. Although still in development, the system shows promise and it will be interesting to see where the project goes and if nationwide adoption is possible.
At Isabel Healthcare, we are constantly updating and improving our tool to be the leader in its field of differential diagnosis tools, and this includes developing Isabel’s smart connectivity. The Isabel system has the capacity to fully integrate with your EMR system, including pre-populating symptom fields from the EMR to Isabel and vice versa. However, the next level up is the Active Intelligence feature. Isabel Active Intelligence can independently detect and interpret notes on your EMR system, taking into consideration contextual aspects and clinical features or test results, and inputting the findings directly into the Isabel Ddx Generator. There is an opportunity to review and edit the clinical features extracted, and then a differential diagnosis is drawn up. This requires minimal effort from the physician, and helps them to reach the correct diagnosis in the quickest and most efficient way possible. If that wasn't enough already, Isabel is also a great tool for making sense of the data provided by all other smart products. All those vital signs, digital stethoscope readings and medicine records can not only be uploaded to the EMR, but also entered into Isabel to help make sense of your patient's symptoms, disease and treatment. That's what the Medical Internet of Things is all about, embracing all technologies and enabling them to all work with each other to the same end goal of healthy patients.