Sensors are used in a whole host of equipment, tools and appliances that we come across in everyday life, but nowhere are they more important than in the healthcare industry.
Hospitals and other medical environments rely on sensors to help monitor and treat patients. They allow doctors and nurses to get on with all of the tasks they are expected to do while knowing that they will be alerted to a problem if it arises.
This article will explore the different types of sensors available, and the number of uses for sensors in today’s healthcare industry.
The type of sensor used depends on the requirement for use. Some of the more popular sensors used today include:
- Oxygen sensors that can be clipped to a part of the body, such as the finger
- Wearable sensors that monitor health, such as Fitbit watches or bracelets
- Sensors that sample blood, such as those that measure glucose levels
- Sensors for measuring blood pressure, worn as a cuff around the arm
- Internally embedded sensors like pacemakers
Sensors are incredibly high-performance, and are convenient in that they can be very small in size and still work to their optimum. Many of them are portable, or don’t need many connecting cables to function. They’re also highly reliable, making them ideal for use in a medical environment, where accurate patient monitoring is essential.
The most popular uses for sensors are discussed below.
Sensors for managing chronic conditions
Sensors can be used both inside and outside of the body on a long-term basis, and can provide information to a patient and their doctor from wherever the patient may be. This allows the patient to get on with their own life in the knowledge that their health is being monitored at all times.
Examples of the chronic conditions that can be monitored by sensors include heart disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Patients with COPD can use Sensoronics oxygen monitors to assess their blood oxygen levels and administer treatment if and when required.
Sensors for early detection of medical problems
For patients in a critical condition in hospital care, a sensor can detect signs of deterioration or sudden medical issues like heart failure or stroke. They can also be used during diagnosis; for example, biosensors can be used to detect cancer at an early stage.
Sensors for medication delivery
Smart medical devices are increasing in popularity in the healthcare industry for their role in determining a patient’s exact needs based on their medical data. The sensors used in these devices can provide data that is combined with background data about a patient to administer the correct dose of medication.
Sensors for treating neurological disorders
Neural technology is gradually becoming more advanced, and its ability to capture data from large numbers of neurons will significantly help medical professionals to understand how to treat neurological disorders. This technology wouldn’t function without sensors, such as integrated optical sensors, which use light to sense neural activity.