Internet of Medical Things: The new Revolution in Healthcare
The Internet of Things (IoT) has bred a range of latest technology solutions, used across several disparate industries. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is essentially IoT devices used among construction, development and industrial environments. Similarly, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) involves connected devices used among the medical and health care business. They dissent from general IoT not just in terms of usage, but also in design. IoT is more often focused on consumers, designed to provide maximum convenience and usability. The other forms are more about accuracy, reliability and above all, security. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is an amalgamation of medical devices and applications that can hook-up with health care information technology systems using networking technologies. It will scale back unnecessary hospital visits and therefore the burden on health care systems by connecting patients to their physicians and permitting the transfer of medical knowledge over a secure network.
The sensor-based devices that are incorporated with IoT provide integration with mobile technologies that are being referred to as the IoMT. Once the data is collected from these devices are combined with electronic health record (EHR) systems, a new dimension is opened and lots of potentialities and uses are born in within which this technology will play an important role in transforming modern healthcare systems, making them more efficient and robust. IoMT technologies cover a wide range of clinical uses. Smartwatches and MedicAlert bracelets, which can detect falls and call emergency medical services. An implantable pulmonary artery catheter can connect to an external device, for example, a mobile phone, and notify the doctor directly when pressure increases. Another high-tech device on the IoMT is the “smart pill.” These oral medications have an ingestible sensor that, when activated by stomach acids, transmit messages to a patch on the patient’s arm. Which in turn then sends a message to a smartphone app., which allows physicians and family members to make sure dementia patients or patients with mental health problems, for example, are taking their medications as prescribed by the doctor.
The IoMT market consists of smart devices, such as medical/vital monitors and wearables, which are strictly used for health care on the body, in the community or in the home, clinic or hospital settings and associated real-time location, telehealth and other services.
- The on-body devices can be divided into consumer health wearables and medical and clinical-grade wearables
- Consumer health wearables include consumer-grade devices for personal wellness or fitness, for example, sports watches, activity trackers, wristbands, bands and smart garments
- Clinical-grade wearables include regulated devices and supporting platforms that are generally approved for use by one or more regulatory or health authorities, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Most of these devices are advised to be used in conjunction with expert advice or a physician’s prescription. Such as a smart belt from Active Protective that detects falls and deploys hip protection for elderly wearers
- The in-home segment includes personal emergency response systems (PERS), remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telehealth virtual visits
- A PERS integrates wearable device units and a live medical call center service to extend self-reliance for homebound or limited-mobility seniors
- RPM contains all home monitoring devices and sensors used for chronic disease management
- Telehealth virtual visits include virtual consultations that facilitate patients to manage their conditions and obtain prescriptions or suggested care plans
There are five components of this segment:
- Mobility services
- Emergency response intelligence
- Point-of-care devices
This segment includes IoMT devices that are used for administrative or clinical functions (either within the clinic, in the telehealth model, or at the point of care). Point of care devices, in this case, differ from those in the community segment in one key aspect: instead of the care provider physically using a device, the provider can be located remotely while qualified staff uses a device.
This segment is split into IoMT-enabled devices and a larger group of solutions in several management areas:
- Asset management monitors and tracks high-value capital instrumentation and mobile assets
- Personnel management
- Patient flow management for example, monitoring of patient arrival times from an operating room to post-care to a wardroom
- Inventory management streamlines ordering, storage and use of hospital supplies, consumables, and pharmaceuticals and medical devices to help reduce inventory costs and improve staff efficiency
- Environment (e.g., temperature and humidity)
The application of IoT in healthcare has taken new dimensions as IoT solutions to healthcare emerge from healthcare software development. The use of wearable devices programmed with such software is nowadays becoming mainstream day by day, as mobile applications and healthcare solutions are becoming accessible to common consumers.
IoMT has increased the human-machine interaction, which enhances real-time health monitoring solutions and patient engagement in decision-making.
Major impact areas for the enabling of IoT in healthcare
Major Advantages includes:
- Benefits for Patients
- Real-time interventions in emergency situations
- Reduction in cost
- Reduced morbidity and financial burden because of less follow up visits
- Benefits for Healthcare Service Providers
- Optimal utilization of resources and infrastructure
- Reduced response time in case of a medical emergency
- Benefits for Device Manufacturers
- Standardization/compatibility and uniformity of data available
- Capability to sense and communicate health-related data to a remote location
Major Limitations includes:
- Technical limitations
- Security of IoT data (hacking and unauthorized use of IoT)
- Lack of standards and communication protocols
- Errors in patient data handling
- Data integration
- Need for medical expertise
- Managing device diversity and interoperability
- Scale, data volume and performance
- Market challenges
- Physician compliance
- Data overload on healthcare facility
- Mobile hesitation
- Security policy compliance
Although the healthcare industry has been slower to adopt Internet of Things technologies than other industries, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is poised to remodel how we keep people safe and healthy particularly because the demand for solutions to lower healthcare costs increase in the coming years.