The use of IoT is getting spread across various domains. One of the most trending sectors is healthcare, which is called IoMT.
The innovation in the MedTech industry is influencing the development of interconnected and smart medical devices. These devices can collect crucial and constant health data and share the accumulated data with the medical staff for better diagnosis.
The whole IoT ecosystem of the healthcare sector is IoMT. Continue reading to know how it impacts our life, how organizations can implement it, along with the challenges it poses.
What Is IoMT?
IoMT stands for Internet of Medical Things, which is basically a subset of the Internet of Things (IoT). It refers to the network of connected medical devices and applications that are used to collect patient data with healthcare providers.
IoMT also includes devices used for communication between patients and doctors. It consists of interconnected devices, hardware infrastructure, medical applications, and data analytics.
Also known as healthcare IoT, this framework uses automation, sensors, and machine-based intelligence for routine healthcare monitoring and processes. It also offers actionable insights into medical data and, thus, empowers healthcare professionals for improved diagnosis and treatment.
Importance of IoMT in the Healthcare
Enhanced Patient Experience
Patients engaged with a healthcare system that uses IoMT enjoy a superior experience. Smart medical devices collect valuable patient data for doctors to diagnose health issues with greater precision.
Data-Driven Decision Making
IoMT offers real-time patient monitoring and medication reminders to handle complex diseases. Using the consistent and large volume of data, doctors and medical staff can make informed decisions.
Intelligent Medical Devices
IoMT introduced various smart medical devices for monitoring health conditions, such as smartwatches and pillboxes. Especially home-based healthcare mobility solutions can help with an accurate diagnosis of disabled patients.
Through connected medical devices, IoMT reduces the need for frequent visits to hospitals. It leads to fewer hospital stays and fewer medical expenses.
IoMT has the ability to make various aspects of the medical field efficient. Besides ensuring patient data is secure, it also lets others make better administrative decisions based on the available data.
24/7 Medical Assistance
IoMT devices collect vital health data, including blood pressure, pulse rate, oxygen levels, and glucose levels. The data can be stored in the cloud that doctors from any global location can access using an app. Thus, it ensures medical advice and assistance to patients anytime, anywhere.
Personal wearables like smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other sensors are part of IoMT. These devices monitor heart rate, activity levels, used calories, sleep patterns, etc. There are also clinical-level wearables, regulated by a medical professional, that are used to manage pain and other health issues.
Remote Patient Monitoring Devices
These devices are usually placed in the homes of patients suffering from chronic diseases. Thus, healthcare providers can remotely monitor patients’ health conditions remotely. Examples of RPM devices are BP monitors, pulse oximeters, glucose meters, and ECG monitors.
Many IoMT devices are used in hospitals, such as MRI machines. Some of these are also used for tracking inventory and other hospital assets.
#1. Patient Monitoring and Management
IoMT is primarily used for monitoring and managing patients. The devices can provide real-time alerts and notifications to healthcare providers so that they can intervene whenever needed. Moreover, it can collect large amounts of patient data and analyze it using AI and ML technology for personalized care.
#2. Remote Patient Care
Another application of IoMT is seen in remote monitoring of the patient’s health conditions. Continuous monitoring of vital health parameters and medical adherence helps to detect health issues early. It reduces hospital readmissions and improves patient outcomes.
#3. Chronic Disease Management
With IoMT, managing chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma become easier. Connected devices can constantly monitor the lifestyle habits and medication adherence of the patient. Thus, healthcare providers can remotely track their progress, offer personalized recommendations, and intervene at the right time.
#4. Medication Management
IoMT is also capable of tackling a common healthcare challenge called medication management. It can remind patients to take their medications at the prescribed times. Also, IoMT devices can also send notifications to healthcare providers or caregivers if a dose is missed.
Benefits of IoMT
Constant Patient Monitoring
Using IoMT, it is possible to monitor the health of a patient round-the-clock. This is ideal for chronic disease patients or patients getting treated at home.
IoMT ensures access to health services for more patients. With its help, patients can access health services even through a telehealth application.
IoMT devices collect more health data to provide more accurate insights into health conditions. It is better than the data collected on a single doctor visit for accurate diagnosis.
IoMT can reduce healthcare costs by minimizing hospitalization and avoiding unnecessary medical procedures. It supports remote monitoring that prevents medical visits in many cases.
IoMT also helps to provide personalized healthcare to individual patients. The collected health data can be used for personalized treatment plans according to the insights into patients’ health profiles.
Enhanced Patient Experience
IoMT devices allow patients to self-service health tracking and minimize the need for in-person visits. Thus, patients get an improved experience in terms of availing of medical services.
Research and Innovation
IoMT data can also be used for research and innovation. Using the data, researchers can develop medical devices, new treatments, and healthcare strategies.
Challenges of IoMT
Implementing IoMT with your existing system and training the involved people to manage the devices is one of the biggest challenges of IoMT.
Ensuring Interoperability and compliance with industry standards and regulations also complicate the IoMT infrastructure implementation.
Secure data storage and transfer are often hampered due to data breaches and data theft attempts.
Making sure that the patients and the caregivers can easily use the devices is a challenging task.
The upfront cost of IoMT technology is high, and usually takes time to offer a positive ROI.
The ownership of the data generated and collected by these devices is a complicated matter. In its lifecycle, the data is handled by the patient, caregiver, software provider, and other healthcare staff.
Classifying medical data from non-medical data collected using the IoMT devices is also difficult.
How to Implementation IoMT
Define Objectives With Needs Assessment
Organizations need to start by identifying the specific goals and objectives they want to achieve with IoMT implementation. They should assess the existing infrastructure, systems, and workflows of the organization to identify areas that can benefit from IoMT. Also, consider factors like devices, connectivity options, data security, and regulatory compliance requirements.
Choose Appropriate Devices
Find out which medical devices and sensors align with your objectives and choose accordingly. The preferred devices should have the necessary data collection and communication capabilities, comes with interoperability feature, and adhere to relevant standards.
At this stage, organizations need to choose a reliable and secure network infrastructure for data transmission and connection between devices and systems. After that, they need to set up a dedicated network or use existing Wi-Fi or cellular networks.
Data Integration and Management
For IoMT device data collection and management, organizations can either go for a health information system or a cloud-based platform that can securely handle large volumes of data. The system should also seamlessly integrate into existing workflows and processes.
Employ Data Security Measures
Organizations should also implement robust measures for data security to protect patient data and comply with regulatory requirements like HIPAA. It should involve data encryption, access controls, authentication protocols, and regular security audits to protect sensitive data.
Run Pilot Project for Evaluation
While everything else is ready, it is time to test the IoMT system in a controlled environment with a small-scale pilot implementation. After that, refine and scale up the implementation using user feedback and performance assessment.
Successful implementation does not end here. Organizations have to continuously monitor performance and optimize processes according to the latest advancements and best practices.
Future of IoMT in the Health Sector
Till now, what we have seen of IoMT is just the tip of the iceberg. This rapidly evolving field has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare sector. As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of IoMT in the past years, which is expected to grow in the coming years.
In 2022, the IoT in the healthcare market size reached $277.8 billion. By 2028, the market size is expected to reach $687.5 billion, with a growth rate of 16.4%. There will be upgrades in the technology, and more devices will join the IoMT networks. Apart from advanced sensor devices that can provide better real-time data, AI and ML-driven data analytics technology will improve predictive healthcare.
The healthcare data generated by IoMT will open doors to enhanced research and novel treatment options. IoMT will not only streamline medical management but will also facilitate better collaboration among healthcare institutions.
The world has started to see the use of IoT in the healthcare sector, which has definitely made life easier for patients and doctors. The IoMT has a lot more to offer, and technological innovation will go a long way to make it accessible to all.
I am a technical and creative content writer with 10+ years of experience in the relevant industry. My degrees in English and Sociology, coupled with working experience in software development companies, help me understand how technology… read more