Developments in smart phone, wireless and cloud technology, and electronic monitoring are bringing revolutionary M2M applications to a host of different industries.
Today the healthcare industry is becoming perhaps the most active target for development of M2M technologies. Wearable sensors that monitor and transmit real-time data to remote locations take a huge step toward reducing the growing costs of patient care and improving the ability to respond to critical situations. Doctors will be able to treat more patients by monitoring critical indicators in real-time as they are transmitted continuously from the patients’ locations. As the Baby Boomer generation ages and incurs the corresponding increase in age-related health concerns, timely monitoring of potential problems is becoming increasingly important given the limitations of the medical infrastructure. Until now, specific machines monitored elements of a patient’s physical condition only while in the doctor’s office, hospital or clinic. Interpreting and communicating the results have been essentially manual in nature, and the results were sometimes too slow or incomplete to be effective. In any event, each patient often required a collaboration among several individuals to monitor and treat progress throughout the day. As a result, valuable time and effort were expended.
Wearable M2M devices can alert the patient’s physician and medical care teams to imminent and potentially troubling symptoms. As well, early warning alerts may allow the patient to reach medical attention before a problem becomes critical. And medical care facilities can monitor a patient’s condition en route to provide timely life-saving measures upon arrival. Another opportunity is the implementation of an Intensive Care Unit at home. Heart condition monitors and other sensors can transmit data to a designated location where the doctor, possibly monitoring several patients at once, will be able to prescribe immediate solutions to a developing crisis.
Besides remote monitoring and emergency data, the accumulation of individual health records into one single storage location can finally be enabled through M2M data. In the past, most medical history information has gone unused and forgotten in files not accessible by other medical professionals. The potential for savings and even the lives that could be saved by centralizing medical information has been discussed in many political debates. With M2M medical devices, more is possible.
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