A 2018 Deloitte report finds that there are over 500,000 medical technologies and devices available globally. In the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Internet-connected devices were being primarily used to improve healthcare services at lower operational costs.
Also known as IoT in healthcare, IoMT (short for the Internet of Medical Things) is now transforming healthcare delivery with its ability to collect and analyze health-related data through connected medical devices. As per the AllTheResearch report, the global market for IoMT technology is expected to grow from just $44.5 billion (in 2018) to $254.2 billion by 2026.
Among the latest industry trends, IoMT is allowing patients to transmit their medical data right from the comforts of their homes to a hospital or healthcare provider. In addition, the emergence of wearable technologies is expected to increase the number of connected medical devices to over 50 billion over the next decade.
What is IoMT technology, and how will it impact the healthcare industry? Let us explore further.
What is the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)?
IoMT refers to the network of Internet-connected devices used in hospitals, providers, or even patients. Common IoMT devices include wearable medical devices, smart thermostats, infusion pumps, and smart sensor devices.
The use of IoT in the healthcare sector has multiple benefits, including better patient treatment & comfort, safer hospital environments, and aiding better decision-making by medical experts. For example, smart thermostats and lighting controls within hospital premises can improve patient care and comfort.
Similarly, one can use body wearables to measure patients’ blood pressure and glucose levels and monitor their body temperature. The digital medical company, Proteus Discover, has experienced significantly improved outcomes of its clinical trials with smart pills that can measure the effectiveness of medical treatment.
Apart from improving the patient experiences, IoMT also reduces healthcare costs for hospitals and medical services.
Which are the healthcare areas where IoMT is making an impact? Let us check that out next.
5 Healthcare Areas where IoMT is Making an Impact
As more connected devices are being added to the healthcare domain, here are 5 areas where IoMT is making a profound impact:
1. Patient Care
IoMT in healthcare can improve patient care and comfort among the significant impact areas, leading to better treatment and faster recovery. IoMT-enabled wearable devices and patient data enable physicians to monitor patients accurately and prescribe better treatment.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help measure and analyze real-time patient data. For instance, a research study by the University of Waterloo in Canada explored the possibility of using a “smart shirt” to monitor patients for any early signs of chronic illnesses. The combined use of AI and IoMT can significantly improve patient well-being and quality of life.
Besides patient care, IoMT devices can also enhance the overall patient experience with facilities like managing the doctor’s appointment or by using IoMT-connected mobile phone apps that can facilitate patient interactions with their healthcare providers.
In the COVID-19 pandemic, the field of telehealth (telemedicine) has exploded in terms of adoption. To avoid (or reduce) face-to-face interactions between patients and doctors, healthcare providers are using videoconferencing and online meetings that are convenient and safer for both patients and medical personnel.
Further, trends like virtual healthcare are expected to thrive in the post-pandemic world with mutual acceptance by both physicians and patients. The growth of telehealth will mean that more healthcare providers will turn to IoMT-connected devices to collect and analyze real-time patient health.
3. Medical Diagnosis
When integrated with AI technologies, IoMT device data can enable healthcare professionals to optimize medical diagnosis and treatment planning. For instance, doctors can now view real-time patient data and determine how well (or poorly) their health can respond to prescribed treatment.
Following the 2020 pandemic, point-of-care testing (or POCT) devices were developed to detect infectious diseases faster and prevent their transmission. On its part, IoMT offers wireless connectivity of these POCT devices with professional health experts.
Similarly, wearable technology from Cyrcadia Health can monitor the health of breast cells, thus allowing the detection of breast cancer from an early stage. In addition, connected inhalers for asthma patients provide real-time insights into their symptoms and treatment process.
4. Next Level Hospital Care
By putting together an IoMT ecosystem, hospitals can now gain a competitive advantage and future-proof their business through smart devices and trained staff members.
“Paperless” hospital facilities can store their patient records on the cloud-hosted centralized electronic health record (EHR), thus eliminating the need to store medical records and patient data physically. Such technological innovations effectively streamline hospital costs, improve medical equipment maintenance, and enable remote monitoring of out-patients.
For instance, the Phillips e-Alerts solution uses sensor technology to monitor the performance of MRI devices. Similarly, IoT in healthcare delivers an improved clinical infrastructure within hospitals that reduces their waiting times and medical costs. For example, as implemented in Mt. Sinai Medical Centre in New York City, the IoT-powered AutoBed solution tracks bed occupancy and patient needs.
5. Smart Health Monitoring
The adoption of IoMT with analytics tools can be leveraged to determine if patients are following the right treatment path. Smarter health monitoring tools provide medical personnel with the tools to assess the evolution of a disease over time.
Patients can even use personal wearables and other connected devices to monitor their health data including daily blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and body weight. In addition, Healthcare mobile apps provide patients with timely alerts to check their health or notify doctors in the event of any medical emergency. For instance, the fitness tracking app, Fitbit, uses IoT to monitor personal health data and share them with reputed clinicians.
It’s evident, in many ways, that IoMT will transform the healthcare industry. With more connected devices, the IoT in the healthcare domain will go through a major overhaul, delivering better patient care and experiences at an optimal cost.
At Pragmatyc, we believe in the use of digital technology to transform the global healthcare industry. We deliver value-based solutions for any medical device manufacturer or healthcare service provider by consulting or developing smart digital products.
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