One of the Internet of Things largest contributions to individual welfare is via technologies used for healthcare monitoring. IoT-connected devices can provide more accurate information than self-reporting to a doctor, since using cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity provides a steady flow of data from the device to a central point. Analyzing this information automatically and by medical professionals can pinpoint trends in health or disease.
This type of remote healthcare monitoring is even more crucial when people cant easily provide their own health data, such as when they are asleep. Berg Insights December 2015 mHealth and Home Monitoring report found that sleep therapy is the fastest growing segment of the IoT healthcare market, and the number of remotely monitored sleep therapy patients grew by 170% in 2015.
Can IoT Cure Snoring?
Many people dont realize that snoring can be a common symptom of a condition called sleep apnea. Airway obstructions may cause the snoring and create actual pauses in a persons breathing during sleep. This leads to low blood oxygen saturation and more serious conditions. Around 13% of the population is estimated to suffer from mild sleep apnea and another 7% have moderate to severe sleep apnea, but few are properly diagnosed. This is where IoT remote healthcare monitoring comes in.
Sleep therapy devices are an effective, affordable solution to monitoring a persons sleeping patterns. They can monitor a persons sleep cycles and track unusual events that could be used to diagnose sleep apnea. Health care professionals can use this information to make informed decisions about a patients treatment, and yes, there are IoT-connected devices that may moderate snoring, if not actually cure it.
IoT and Sleep Apnea
One widely used device for treating sleep apnea is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. These tools increase air pressure in a persons throat while they sleep so that their airways do not collapse when they inhale. The inclusion of IoT technology to CPAP devices has made monitoring more effective and had made the devices more flexible and adaptive to each patient.
With IoT, the data collected can paint a clearer picture of what actions a person needs to take to lessen the severity of their sleep apnea. The IoT-enabled CPAP machines can collect and analyze nightly data and adjust as a persons needs change. For example, the information on horizontal and vertical positioning could show which sleeping positions lessen the effects of a persons sleep apnea. Collecting and analyzing the information on a patients sleep patterns can help them identify ways decrease the effects of sleep apnea on their lives. In addition, users can change device settings or troubleshoot problems with their CPAP machines remotely, and medical professionals can get automatic alerts in the case of their patients respiratory emergencies.
With remote healthcare monitoring devices such as these, the Internet of Things is helping many people get a better nights sleep. Want to learn more about the connected healthcare marketplace? See what leading industry professionals have to say in our Assessing the Value of Telemedicine Devices in Todays Healthcare Landscape whitepaper.