What is IoMT and how is it related to IoT? The Internet of Things (IoT) is basically a network of internet-connected devices sometimes referred to as being smart. The network enables medical users to control devices remotely through software applications and connected infrastructure, while at the same time patient data is collected through strategic touchpoints.
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The medical data collected through connected devices, once processed with the right apps, can be used for various purposes, including personal emergency response systems. This is giving birth to a global IoMT market of solutions for healthcare providers.
In short, one of the benefits of pairing up medical equipment with IoMT technologies is to transmit data between remote locations, helping optimize processes such as disease control thanks to point of care devices. Although this sounds like something trivial, it has the potential to revolutionize how many medical services work.
In this article, we explain what IoMT is and discuss how apps play an important role in its implementation and future developments throughout health care systems.
What is IoMT
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a practical application of IoT devices, combined with MedTech tools, that are used in medical care. These devices sometimes referred to as internet-connected medical devices, are used to collect, manage, process, and store medical data.
Thanks to the possibility to collect and transmit data offered by connected devices, healthcare professionals can monitor patients’ key biometrics in real-time through hospital networks. These communication technologies bring a series of benefits to healthcare providers, some of which are not obvious in plain sight.
Internet of Things in the Healthcare Industry
By wirelessly transmitting data, this technology enables doctors to access medical data in remote locations, and keep track of any potential issues that might occur, thus helping prevent any future complications while performing more accurate diagnoses.
Suppose a patient is told not to exceed a given weight, or otherwise, health problems might occur. With a medical device such as an IoMT scale or other internet-connected devices, a patient can keep track of this key metric easily with the help of an app. The app can additionally share information on healthy diets or be used as a glucose monitor and activity tracker, given the patient’s data and condition. This can help trigger motivation and behavioral changes by using push notifications. It can also share relevant information with medical staff so that they know, before hospital visits, how the patient has evolved.
In short, IoMT software applications can make processes more efficient. They can be used for remote patient monitoring, as they allow real-time patient data exchange between the point of care devices and hospital networks. This helps produce more accurate diagnoses while reducing in-person medical visits. In particular, connected infrastructure can help monitor vital signs, body temperature, and blood pressure, for example.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) can also help trigger personal emergency response systems and keep chronic diseases under control. Imagine smart devices that help monitor glucose levels and heart rate. Being in faraway locations, you can use wearable devices to share activity tracker information with a remote medical service provider and get a clinical-grade diagnosis.
Let’s consider patient X for this example. Patient X, a middle-aged woman with a family history of diabetes, wakes up one day feeling ill. Fortunately, her doctor had given her a smart glucometer. Unlike a regular glucometer, this special medical device is able to connect to the Internet. With it, patient X can easily keep track of her glucose levels, but it does not stop there. Because the device is an IoMT enabled glucometer, the doctor can remotely check her glucose stats in detail, avoiding any in-person medical visits while at the same time guaranteeing accurate diagnoses.
After looking at the data, care providers may be able to determine when patient X is experiencing a dangerous glucose level, and since they know her medical history, a personalized solution can be recommended.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Scenarios like the ones above are only a fraction of what is possible thanks to IoMT technologies. Beyond improving processes, generating efficiencies, and reducing costs, the Internet of Medical Things also offers many opportunities to deliver a better overall patient experience through great design practices.
Considering a patient’s journey through a specific medical procedure is very relevant. Throughout the years, medical care systems have become saturated, and this has affected service quality. This is more harmful to some populations, particularly to elders and those with mobility issues.
The combination of traditional medical equipment aided with IoT medical devices, communication technologies, and apps can help solve many of these problems. These allow effective remote monitoring and more accurate patient outcomes.
Pairing up IoMT solutions with other technologies like Artificial Intelligence, for example, can also bring many benefits. Artificial Intelligence can help automate certain tasks, helping reduce the amount of work needed from medical personnel. A great example is smart pills. These devices can use the power of Artificial Intelligence to remind patients when they have not taken their daily medicine. That is why they have become a great IoT solution for the pharmaceutical industry.
Like this, there are many other great examples. At Koombea, our obsessive focus on User Experience helps guarantee positive results no matter your goal. By considering small details like how easy it is for a patient to access a service, to other bigger details like how the treatment will evolve, we ensure that nothing is left loose.
Our expertise in user-centered design becomes extremely helpful in the healthcare sector. Bridging the gap between software and the physical world is a must in MedTech.
For IoMT technologies to work properly, it is necessary to collect relevant data. As a matter of fact, as for IoT technologies in general, IoMT does not work properly without the correct data. This is not surprising if one considers that one of the main benefits of this technology is to help improve decision-making.
It is necessary that IoMT medical devices allow data to be collected, processed, and used. This requires not only setting up a beacon to collect data. It is also necessary to transform it into useful information that medical personnel can use to make decisions. Thanks to MedTech apps and IT systems, this can easily be done.
Apps are playing a major role in how IoMT technologies are being deployed. It is not good to have powerful devices if the software that moves them is deficient. MedTech apps designed to work with IoT devices should guarantee users adequate levels of reliability. In this sense, quality assurance is a necessity that these types of apps cannot leave aside. Quality is a must-have when it comes to guaranteeing patient safety and health.
A critical success factor for any IoMT technology is security. This refers not only to patient security, which is extremely important. Guaranteeing it should be a top priority. Nonetheless, it should also be a top priority to look out for cybersecurity, especially in what relates to data privacy. Medical information is very sensible, so users must be guaranteed that their data is in safe hands and compliant with HIPAA regulations. Doing so creates trust, an important element that IoMT devices need to grow their market.
Healthcare IT Opportunities
From our experience, we’ve observed two important ways in which internet-connected medical devices can impact patients in a positive way.
Personalized Patient Care
Medicine often feels to lack empathy with patients. This is because, in order to reduce costs and maintain efficiency, health systems need to standardize procedures. This ends up affecting a wide range of aspects from treatments to results. However, this need not be.
IoMT data allows a more friendly, gentler form of personalized medicine that considers patients’ actual requirements. Rather than using a one size fits all approach, with IoMT, healthcare professionals can now take into account individual needs.
Digital Therapeutics: A Digital Transformation
Digital Therapeutics (DTx) is one of the most attractive opportunities for healthcare organizations wanting to implement IoMT devices. It is a form of medicine that has been gaining strength in recent years, relying on evidence-based therapeutic interventions to achieve changes in patient behavior. To do so, DTx uses software to prevent, manage or treat a particular illness.
Thanks to the power of IoMT devices, DTx techniques can develop better remote connections with patients. As this form of therapy and IoMT devices become more popular, we expect their respective apps to do the same.