December 16, 2019
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Offers Significant Opportunities for Forward-Thinking Healthcare Stakeholders
Most of us are familiar with the term Internet of Things (IoT) which refers to all web-enabled devices – smart cars, smart thermostats, home security systems, fitness watches, internet-enabled kitchen appliances – all devices that connect to each other and to the internet. However, what many of us are less familiar with is the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), a term used to describe internet-connected devices that can generate, collect, analyze, and transmit medical data, creating a connected infrastructure of health systems and services. Smart devices such as wearables, medical/vitals monitors, MRI scanners, mHealth applications, smart hospital beds, and medication dispensers, are all a part of the IoMT.
“The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is an amalgamation of medical devices and applications that can connect to health care information technology systems using networking technologies.”
–Alliance of Advanced Biomedical Engineering
The IoMTmarket is estimated to grow to $158.1 billion in 2022, and the number of IoMT devices are expected to top 20 to 30 billion by 2020. There are applications for IoMT in on-body consumer health wearables and clinical-grade wearables; in-home uses such as remote patient monitoring devices; community uses including mobility services that allow passenger vehicles to track health parameters during transit; in-clinic uses such as digital stethoscopes; and in-hospital uses such as wearable defibrillators.
Frost & Sullivan in their take on the IoMT reshaping proactive and coordinated care delivery, noted that there are some disruptive innovations that are possible with the IoMT:
- Medical-grade wearables and smart implants that communicate patient parameters
- Virtual assistants at home to help patients and seniors with their self-care, mHealth applications, and smart diagnostic medical devices that support telehealth services
- Smart cars that can track vitals of passengers during transit
- Exigency support by drones for emergency response
- Smart, digitized clinical devices like digital stethoscopes for clinicians in primary care
- Smart hospital rooms that allow patients to communicate with care teams virtually, from their bedside
- Kiosks at community centers to improve access to informational services, pharmaceutical products, and telemedicine services.
IoMT is continuing to change the face of healthcare and provides the opportunity for healthcare stakeholders to become more proactive instead of reactive. While patients can use IoMT to monitor, inform and notify them of their health status and notify caregivers of any issues, proactive healthcare stakeholders can leverage IoMT by utilizing the data generated to identify issues before they become critical or to allow for earlier invention. Patient-generated health data can be incorporated into care planning and used to provide more personalized care delivery to the patient. Proactive healthcare stakeholders can utilize predictive care solutions and artificial intelligence (AI) software to intelligently sort through the wealth of data from IoMT devices to deliver relevant data to healthcare providers, as well as to stratify and even predict risks and intervene long before a problem develops.
Major benefits can be derived by both patients and healthcare stakeholders from leveraging the technologies available through the IoMT. Healthcare organizations can achieve better patient outcomes, lower healthcare costs, improve efficiency, and activate new ways of engaging and empowering patients. Traditional healthcare is changing, and proactive healthcare stakeholders need to be on the right side of this change, leveraging the capabilities of the IoMT to improve their care delivery and operational efficiencies.