Medical IoT, or the Internet of Things in healthcare, refers to the use of connected devices and sensors to collect, transmit, and analyze data in the healthcare industry. These devices can range from wearable fitness trackers to smart hospital beds and can help improve patient care, streamline operations, and reduce costs. In India, the healthcare sector is currently facing a number of challenges, including a shortage of doctors and hospitals in rural areas, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of access to quality healthcare for large segments of the population. Medical IoT has the potential to address some of these challenges and improve the overall quality of healthcare in the country.
One of the key ways in which Medical IoT can improve healthcare in India is by increasing access to care. For example, remote monitoring devices can allow healthcare providers to keep track of patients in remote or underserved areas and send alerts if there are any concerns. Smartphones and other mobile devices can also be used to connect patients with doctors and other healthcare professionals, allowing for virtual consultations and reducing the need for patients to travel to hospitals or clinics.
Medical IoT can also improve the efficiency of the healthcare system by automating tasks and reducing the need for manual data entry. For example, sensors in hospital beds can automatically track patient vital signs and transmit the data to electronic health records, eliminating the need for nurses to manually take and record these measurements. This can help reduce errors and improve the accuracy of patient data.
Another way Medical IoT can benefit Indian healthcare is by reducing costs. By enabling remote monitoring, it can help prevent unnecessary hospital visits and readmissions, and allow patients to be discharged sooner. Smart devices like wearable fitness trackers can also help individuals manage their own health and prevent conditions from worsening, which can ultimately reduce healthcare costs.
In India, the Government and Private sector are actively working to promote the adoption of Medical IoT. Government initiatives like the ‘Make in India’ program and ‘Digital India’ campaign are helping to create a favorable ecosystem for the development and deployment of Medical IoT solutions in the country. Additionally, private companies are investing heavily in the development of Medical IoT solutions that cater to the Indian healthcare market.
As per 2022-23 economic survey, the total healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP is 2.1% in FY23. In terms of healthcare infrastructure, there were around 1.5 physicians per 1000 people and 1.9 hospital beds per 1000 people in India. In India, an estimated 26 million children are born every year. As per the National Family Health Survey 2019-21 (NFHS-5), the country’s average IMR stands at 32 per 1,000 live births which includes an average 36 deaths for rural and 23 for urban areas. The prematurity & low birth weight (36 percent) is one of the major causes for infant mortality, most of which occur in the rural areas. With most specialist neonatologists concentrated in the hospitals in urban, an IoT based remote monitoring platform for specialists to help guide the medical staff and general medical practitioners in the rural child health clinics, maternity homes can help reduce the infant mortality rate.
In conclusion, Medical IoT has the potential to significantly improve the quality of healthcare in India and address many of the challenges the country is currently facing. With the support of the government and private sector, Medical IoT solutions can help increase access to care, improve efficiency, and reduce costs, ultimately benefiting patients and the healthcare system as a whole.
(This article is written by Ganesh Subramaniam, Vice President of R&D, at Murata Vios, Pvt. Ltd., and the views expressed in this article are his own)