Discussions about the Internet of Things in healthcare have been ongoing for several years now. But we may only just be starting to understand the full range of potential benefits. We looked into several specific applications in our previous article on 'IoT in Healthcare' , including smart sensors for dental health, automated systems for insulin delivery, and more. Even beyond these though, the IoT is beginning to impact healthcare in myriad ways, from assisting hospitals with record keeping to improving the quality of health-related wearables.
Clearly, all of this involves a great deal of specific technological innovation. After all, the IoT by nature is comprised of innumerable “things,” all connected in increasingly innovative ways. To dig into those ideas a little further, we wanted to examine some of the smaller or less visible technologies helping to support IoT expansion in healthcare.
Additive manufacturing, more commonly referred to as 3D printing, is working all kinds of wonders in healthcare. In fact it’s even being used to create prosthetics, and could soon be producing functioning organs! From an IoT perspective though, it can also be helpful in the quick prototyping and design of new devices serving various purposes within healthcare networks. Essentially, whenever a new wearable device or a new type of sensor is needed, 3D printing can quickly produce the design. A few years ago this wasn’t necessarily a strong solution because 3D printing was relatively inefficient. However, Engineering’s look at scaled additive manufacturing indicates that things have progressed in this regard, and 3D printing is now better prepared to handle mass orders. That makes its impact now and its potential impact moving forward incredibly significant.
Advanced PCB Design
One thing people tend to overlook in general about advancing technology is the complex circuitry needed to make newer (and smaller) devices work as intended. So, when we consider IoT-connected devices and the impact they’re having in healthcare, it’s worth considering what has changed on the printed circuit board front as well. And basically, what we’ve seen of late is the emergence of design software that has made it easier for people to design and customize circuit boards to suit virtually any need that may arise. As an overview of Altium’s PCB design services put it, design software is now meant to “make circuits come easy.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that the process is simple, but it does speak to the powerful design systems that are now in place to makes sure that every last detail of even the most complex, multi-layered PCBs can be built exactly as intended. This general design capability is at the core of some of the most advanced devices we see in the IoT.
The impact of 5G networks on the IoT in healthcare is more of a hypothetical at this point, simply because we’re only just beginning to see 5G networks rolling out. However, it’s believed that the impact will be significant. Most notably, HealthTech’s analysis of 5G in healthcare speaks to the ideas that these networks will broaden care and improve the ability of systems to handle data. Right now, the IoT in healthcare is in fact linked to the collection of immense amounts of data that isn’t always put to use as well or as efficiently as it should be. With 5G networks however, these troves of data will be easier to handle, and devices will be able to stay better connected over greater distances. These benefits alone will mean significant benefits for the IoT in healthcare.
The total picture of the Internet of Things in healthcare is immense and complex, and involves countless systems and devices. As much attention as we’ll pay to the newest and most exciting among those systems and devices, though, it’s technologies like the ones mentioned here that are helping to make it all work.
Mousumi is a Digital Marketing Executive at IoT Avenue who helped to promote the site along with several other sites with her compassionate SEO experties.
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