The COVID-19 outbreak has seen the world pulling together on an unprecedented scale to fight the pandemic, as well as to find ways to continue to live and work in the midst of lockdowns and other social distancing measures. Technology has facilitated and streamlined these efforts in ways that would never previously have been possible.
The Internet of Things’ Role in Managing the Coronavirus Outbreak
The Internet of Things (IoT), in particular, has advanced speedily to come to the fore as a vital tool in a number of sectors. In many ways, the healthcare industry has led the way in this arena. Here are four lasting advances the IoT has brought to healthcare during the course of the pandemic.
Wearables such as sports watches and other tracker-fitted devices have been employed to monitor the vital signs and whereabouts of infected people. In China, these are often used to alert authorities when people broke quarantine. While the implications of this particular use of the technology have caused some consternation for people concerned about their freedom of movement in a post-COVID-19 world, its usefulness in caring for patients suffering from any illness, as well as in tracking the wellbeing of health workers, should be obvious.
In some parts of the United States, connected thermometers have been used to gather data that has helped authorities and health workers to follow the patterns of the virus’s spread. These thermometers were used to create maps that showed which US counties are seeing increases or decreases in high fevers on average. This information proved invaluable in allocating scarce healthcare and PPE resources during the struggle to contain the disease, as well as showing how and where the disease was spreading.
In more advanced healthcare facilities, robots have effectively alleviated pressure from nurses and enabled them to maintain social distancing, even while continuing to care for their patients. At the field hospital in Wuhan, China, for example, robots delivered food and medication to patients, diminishing the direct contact between patients and healthcare workers.
Drones have been used to extend the functions carried out by robots in hospitals, into the outside world. Medicines and food were carried to and from locations in China using advanced, Japanese-made drones, which reportedly sped up transportation by 50%.
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These and other advances in IoT are likely to continue to be used in the healthcare industry and beyond for years after the pandemic has passed. As a leader in the field of medical technology, Glenmed will continue to track the continuing advances in the field. Contact us for more information.