The Internet of Things and virtual reality have changed the way that healthcare works in many areas. The entire smart healthcare industry is currently estimated to hit a value of $1.5 Trillion (USD) but 2012, of which the ‘machine-to-machine’ segment alone is predicted to be worth $89 Billion (USD) by 2018.
Machine-to-machine healthcare involves devices such as sensors relaying information to hardware or software applications with no intervention by humans hands. A sensor on someone’s body can measure a value such as heart rate and relay that information through a data network to the relevant software where it is translated into useful information that can be addressed by healthcare professionals.
For example, if a patient equipped with a sensor experiences a sudden drop in heart rate, a signal can be sent to a nurse or doctor’s mobile phone informing them that the patient needs to be immediately tended to. The nurse or doctor can even check of the patient from a distance using virtual reality (VR) technology that will keep medical professionals apprised of the patient’s condition without needing to leave their office.
“Smart healthcare represents a more universal approach to healthcare that incorporates cutting-edge technologies to deal with healthcare data management and utilisation,” said TechVision Research Analyst Cecilia Van Cauwenberghe. “Communications are integrated into a single, consolidated infrastructure, thereby empowering communities and individuals with the necessary tools and knowledge to make more informed decisions.”
Though he also noted there were some challenges that needed to be overcome and added; “Smart healthcare environments will need to pursue opportunities both up-market, such as vertical and horizontal specialised solutions, and down-market, such as unbundled solutions, to integrate the full concept of Smart Cities with present local/regional capabilities.
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