SimulTrans Localization Blog: SimulTips

The Healthcare Industry & The Internet of Things

[fa icon="calendar"] August 30, 2016 / by Margarita Núñez

Healthcare and the Internet of Things.png

 

The amazing thing about technology is that so much of it is almost invisible. People can see the results of technology, but the communication and translation required to supply that information is often overlooked. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a type of tech that can be hard to notice and readily be aware of.

The healthcare industry, which already produces devices and instruments that are smart, interconnected and intelligent will be able to create new and even better modes of interaction between them by connecting medical devices via cloud computing.

The IoT allows them to collect data via sensors, and send that data to be translated and served to the end user in a meaningful, customized and personalized way. This will in turn will provide new levels of efficiency for many medical industries and an improved customer experience.

I believe that the healthcare industry will be especially impacted by the IoT, and both patients and caregivers will benefit the most by having access to fast, customized and localized information. Here are a few examples of how I envision the IoT for the Healthcare industry:

Self-Care

Wearable devices that utilize the IoT are great for helping people monitor their activity levels. Also, wearable devices may be able to detect potential health threats and help people avoid them.

For instance, it would be great if a sensor in a wearable device could detect pollen, mould, or other allergens and warn a person with extreme allergies. For people spending a lot of time outdoors, wearable devices could monitor for signs of heat stroke or hypothermia.

Emergency Care

The IoT has great potential to help people in emergency situations. For instance, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and other symptoms of anxiety attacks could be detected by wearable sensors which communicate to a smartphone app that coaches the individual on controlling their anxiety or even calls for help to the nearest health centre.

Similarly, IoT technology could be utilized to monitor vital signs and call for help in the event a person is unable to, a concept especially useful for seniors or the chronically ill. Data collected via sensors could also be transmitted directly to doctors to help them make the most informed decisions about treatment in an emergency.

Patient Vitals

Healthcare can utilize the IoT in myriad ways that could potentially improve the quality of patient care. For instance, the IoT can be used in hospitals to increase connectivity between patients, nurses and doctors by transmitting patient vital sign information directly to the devices of doctors or nurses and allow for constant monitoring and up to date information in the language that the doctor or patient speaks. Similarly, the IoT could enable patients to continue to be monitored after release.

For instance, sensors inserted in wearable medical devices, could monitor a person’s blood pressure and, if it became too high, send them (or even their nurses or doctors) a text message that coaches them to follow specific steps to control their blood pressure.

Tracking Patients

If we consider the high volume of patients in hospitals and the size of facilities, it becomes clear that keeping track of patients can be tricky. The IoT can provide a solution that eases the burden on healthcare workers. Using sensors that patients wear on hospital bracelets would allow easy communication between the sensor and the central nurse’s station. So doctors, nurses and family can know at a glance where a patient is.

Patients’ Files

The ability to monitor patients’ vital signs already exists but IoT technology revolutionizes it. Changes in respiration, heart rate, or medication levels can be monitored via sensors on the patient, then transmitted directly into a patient’s file. This will save caregivers’ time on scrawling vitals in paper charts.

Also, by having everything on the cloud, the possibility of a file being misplaced will be reduced if a file is on a system rather than on paper. Plus, caregivers can be sent a patients’ file instantly on their own devices, if they need to see a particular record or chart. I believe that The Internet of Things will potentially be very useful for the healthcare industry.

Devices now have to be designed with the data generation in mind, they have to be designed with connectivity in mind, they have to exist as part of larger ecosystems in many cases. Devices have to be deployed against various different sets of platforms and protocols and APIs. And software is now no longer just something that might be embedded into the device.

Some localization considerations to think about in all of this include:

  • The medical industry has strict international regulatory and language compliance requirements which need a deep understanding of the domestic requirements of each targeted country. These coupled with rapid IoT device advancement results in complex localized content distribution challenges.
  • Your language service provider (LSP) will have to offer a wide range of medical specific services including Internationalization Consulting, Readability Assessments and Usability Testing.
  • Reducing costs, saving time, increasing the quality of care for patients, and helping prevent or mitigate medical emergencies are now all plausible if the medical industry takes on the IoT.
The global medical devices industry will witness significant opportunities for growth and export in the coming decade. It is predicted that the global medical devices market will reach $398.0bn in 2017.

Rapid IoT advances must surely signal a bright forecast for this sector so there has never been a better time to localize.

Click below to learn more about the IoT and medical localization.

Show me the Future

Topics: Medical Translation, Documentation Translation

Margarita Núñez

Written by Margarita Núñez

Margarita is SimulTrans' Director, Global Marketing. She spearheads SimulTrans' Digital Marketing Strategy by creating, managing, and publishing content for inbound and outbound campaigns across multiple channels. Margarita has more than 25 years of experience in sales and management for the localization industry. She has been involved in many localization organizations, currently serving as a Program Director for Membership for Women in Localization, a non-profit global organization.