We live in a time where everyone is connected to some kind of smart device. Almost everywhere you go, you will almost always see someone texting on their phone, posting photographs on social media, or watching a YouTube video. Technology has infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives and it makes you wonder how we ever lived without it.
This is no more evident than in the healthcare industry.
Thanks to improving technology and the internet of things, healthcare is becoming more patient-centered resulting in patients receiving higher quality care.
Partnership Between IoT and Healthcare
More and more hospitals are implementing technologies that make it easier for healthcare providers to create and adhere to treatment plans.
90% of hospitals are now using electronic health records to keep track of patient records. In 2012, the majority of laboratory and pharmacy departments were using barcoding to keep track of records, and 97% of medications were tracked and managed by the use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags.
The use of these technologies allows for more accurate record keeping and easier transition between hospitals for doctors and patients.
IoT to the Rescue
The Internet of Things isn’t just used to provide exceptional and accurate healthcare to patients. It’s also being used to save lives in disaster situations.
IoT technology is able to save lives because those in need can use social media applications like Zello, a walkie-talkie application for smart devices, to reach help. These apps also make it easier for rescue volunteers to connect with dispatchers to see where they need to go next, and they can alert rescuers of dangerous situations all in real-time.
It isn’t just on a personal level – large organizations like NASA, NOAA, and municipalities use sensor data, satellite imagery, and surveillance to predict where storms are going to hit. The organizations can then contact first responders and local law enforcement to coordinate staging locations, evacuation routes, and make necessary precautions.
By collecting and analyzing current data, these agencies will be able to predict future forecasts by utilizing operations like regression algorithms. These analytics will help agencies to prepare and have a plan should they be the target of Mother Nature’s wrath again in the future.
IoT Use Creates Careers for Emergency Management
Whenever there’s a big natural disaster in the US, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is always right there ready and willing to help provide relief. During these times, the need for qualified emergency management specialists is very important because they develop response plans that will protect people, their property, and limit further damage from these natural disasters.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for these professionals is believed to grow by 6% by 2024. There are several states already who take emergency management very seriously – with California employing 820 Emergency Management Directors, the highest in the country (as of May 2016).
To become the planner of heroes, you’ll need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in business or public administration, accounting, finance, emergency management, or public health. There are some instances where directors who are in the private sector of business continuity management may need to have an Information Technology degree, be it computer science, information systems administration or another IT field.
With that said, it isn’t unheard of for small municipalities or local governments to hire individuals with only a high school diploma if they have an extensive background or work history within emergency management.
The Demand for Safety Increases
It isn’t just computers, smartphones, and tablets that use IoT. Anything that can be connected and communicate via “smart” mode can be hacked into.
We see examples of this kind of technology with security systems that link to our smart device, appliances, our vehicles, and even those fancy home automation systems. Because these systems are so vulnerable, about 70% of IoT connected devices have significant vulnerabilities, there’s a need for increased security measures.
Hospitals in particular are taking this threat very seriously. For them, it’s crucial to keep patient records safe and free from data breaches because should their hospital be compromised, it could cost them an estimated $2.2 million.
What’s even more disturbing is that 89% of healthcare organizations have had at least one data breach within the past 2 years where patient information was either lost or stolen by hackers.
Because of this, health care organizations employ Health Information Management professionals to safeguard all aspects of the organizations health care operations, as well as developing health information policies for patients and staff.
When health care and technology comes together, it creates a symbiotic relationship that’s designed to make life easier for healthcare professionals and the patients.
Even outside of hospitals and doctor’s offices, the IoT can help first responders, law enforcement, and volunteers in disaster situations. Thanks to IoT capable devices, many lives can be saved with as little as pushing a button on an app.
There’s no denying the usefulness of having this kind of technology interwoven in almost every aspect of our lives. However, there’s a downside. When we put so much information in Big Data, that information is at risk of being stolen or lost due to security breaches caused by hackers, negligence, or a general lack of funding and staffing.
Fortunately, health care organizations are recognizing the importance of cybersecurity and are hiring professionals who are capable of preventing and detecting possible security risks in the future.