The Internet of Things: Fixing the Future of Health Care

A perspective on how IoT-based technologies could improve health care in the United Kingdom—both for citizens and for its National Health Service.
By Graeme Parton

Full Support from Patients
This is all a big deal for patients; the data shows that 72 percent of adults believe having health-monitoring technology in their home would benefit both them and the NHS. The same proportion say they would feel less concerned for their relatives if they also used health-monitoring technology in their homes. What's more, these individuals are ready—nine out of ten say they'd be prepared to have their basic vital signs monitored, while roughly the same number would agree to having their weight watched.

Decreased Demand and More Freedom
The real rewards come on a much larger scale, though. The IoT will essentially lead to less demand on health-care services. What this means is more empty beds for those who need them most, shorter waiting lists and generally less of a strain on the time of doctors and nurses.

Medical professionals will also be given greater freedom, enabling them to use their skills and knowledge more efficiently. Instead of being referred to the available specialist at the closest hospital, a patient in need of specialist care can be seen and monitored remotely by the most appropriate doctor, wherever they're located—all thanks to IoT connectivity, which essentially removes many of the geographical barriers that currently make it difficult for people to get the help they need. The end result is a better level of care and, ultimately, a higher chance of a full recovery.

Major Cost-savings
As if all of that wasn't enough, medical facilities across the sector will start to notice significant cost savings as their operations become more efficient. With fewer menial and administrative tasks to complete, doctors and nurses will be able to fit more into their days, bringing demand down and removing the need for additional hiring. Hard-working sensors will also help to reduce the need for home visits and off-site work, once again bringing expenditures down.

The money saved can then be used to invest in further connected infrastructure, and for further detailed medical research. Once again, the focus is back on providing better care for patients.

The Brightest of Futures
The future of health care in the United Kingdom has long been a hot topic, but the breakthroughs we're seeing in connected technologies should go some way toward putting minds at ease. Just as we're seeing in most other industries, the Internet of Things is well on its way to making the health-care sector a lot more productive, effective and cost-efficient—all to the benefit of the people who matter most: patients.

Graeme Parton is a writer specializing in technology and working on behalf of Arqiva, a communications infrastructure and media services company. With a background in journalism and marketing, he has covered everything from big data and business intelligence to cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

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