IoT healthcare devices supply data-driven patient support

IoT healthcare devices are helping medical practitioners provide better diagnostics to patients.
16 July 2021

A security guard keeps watch at an AI-powered system. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)

The COVID-19 pandemic led to faster digital adoption not only in enterprise, but across sectors. The healthcare industry also began harnessing more technologies to ensure they can deal with more patients efficiently. From using healthcare devices powered by the internet of things (IoT) for patient data to using drones to deliver medical aid to those in secluded locations, the adoption of modern technologies in healthcare has myriad applications.

Global digitalization has given birth to new trends, including in the formerly-underappreciated sphere of mental healthcare. At a time when people are closely tied to their gadgets, they usually end up downloading various apps that help them to  remain calm. People are even ready to pay for a digital solution if it makes their lives easier and more emotionally balanced.

Today, artificial intelligence (AI) can be used for a myriad of medical use cases. This includes diagnosing patients as well as connecting IoT smart sensors to measure patients’ recovery progress. These technology innovations have also enabled medical practitioners to reduce their workloads and focus on more serious health issues, especially at a time when many medical facilities are overtaxed.

IoT devices, particularly wearables, are proving to be an enabler for technology in healthcare. With a myriad of wearables for various measurements and use cases in the medical industry available today, medical practitioners rely more on data from these devices to give them better readings and diagnostics on their patients.

The global market of smart wearables is projected to reach shipments of 776.23 million units by 2026. And, despite supply chain issues during the pandemic, 2020 saw 266.5 million units of wearables being shipped out to customers. The boom in the wearable market has been largely linked to its demand by highly connected consumers today. Factors such as internet connectivity, data-driven analytics, wearable devices like smartwatches integrated into daily activities along with changing consumer lifestyles have all contributed to a demand for better wearables.

Smart wearable devices like Rockley provide healthcare data to medical practitioners.

To make the most out of this, Rockley Photonics recently unveiled its complete full-stack, “clinic-on-the-wrist” digital health sensor system. The system enables wearable devices to monitor multiple biomarkers, including core body temperature, blood pressure, body hydration, alcohol, lactate, and glucose trends, among others. The technology is expected to dramatically increase the functionality of wearable devices by enabling them to provide continuous, non-invasive monitoring of key vitals with clinical-grade precision.

“Our full-stack sensor solution, which brings together optical and electronic hardware, firmware, algorithms, and cloud-based analytics, is an exciting milestone on our roadmap. Our reference designs will significantly aid our customers and partners with the deployment of our technology and accelerate their own scalable, high-volume product delivery,” said Dr. Andrew Rickman, chief executive officer and founder of Rockley Photonics.

He added that by combining machine learning algorithms with continuous monitoring of an extended set of biomarkers from accessible wearable devices, new actionable insights to enhance and transform digital healthcare can be achieved.

While many of today’s wearable consumer electronic devices use green light-emitting diodes to monitor heart rate, Rockley’s infrared spectrophotometers can detect and monitor a much wider range of biomarkers, which could dramatically increase the functionality of wearable devices. The central and differentiating element of the sensing system is a non-invasive sensor module based on the Rockley platform’s spectroscopy technology.

As the demand for wearables is mounting, Rockley is not only targeting the consumer electronics market but is also actively pursuing the application of its technologies with leading medical device companies as biomarker monitoring can advance digital health applications and improve disease prevention, detection, and management.

With innovations in healthcare providing to be a success in most areas of the industry, there is no denying that IoT healthcare devices like these will continue to improve  and provide better features to both users and medical practitioners in the coming years.