Editor’s note: Alena shows how the Internet of Health Things can benefit patients and healthcare organizations and outlines the common challenges to consider when planning an IoMT initiative. And if you’re interested in establishing cost-effective technology-based care, check out ScienceSoft’s offer at IoT medical solutions.
Grand View research report states that the IoT healthcare market will reach $ 534.3 billion by 2025. Not surprisingly, as in 2019, most healthcare companies surveyed maintained or increased their IoT budgets, according to the Gartner search. And now, the situation of COVID-19 contributes significantly to market growth, as people are urged to receive certain types of medical care remotely. telesalut solutions.
My experience shows that most doctor visits are likely to become virtual in the future. Let’s see how IoT solutions make the healthcare environment more comfortable for patients and medical staff.
What are IoT and IoMT?
My colleague Alex Grizhnevich, IoT consultant at ScienceSoft, defines The Internet of Things as a network of physical devices with sensors and actuators, software and network connectivity that allow devices to collect and transmit data and perform user tasks. Today, IoT is becoming a key component of the digital transformation of healthcare, so we can distinguish a separate group of initiatives, the so-called IoHT (Internet of Health Things) or IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) .
Popular use cases of IoMT
IoT-based patient care
Monitoring medication intake
IoT-based drug tracking allows doctors to monitor the impact of the dose of a prescribed drug on a patient’s condition. In turn, patients can monitor medication intake, for example, by using reminders on the app and writing down on the app how their symptoms change for further analysis by their doctor. The patient app can be connected to smart devices (e.g., a bottle of smart pills) to facilitate the management of various medications.
Remote health monitoring
Among the examples of the use of the IoT in healthcare, this use case is especially feasible for the management of chronic diseases. Patients can use connected medical devices or biosensors for the body to allow doctors or nurses to check their vital elements (blood pressure, glucose level, heart rate, etc.) through applications aimed at doctors / nurses. Healthcare professionals can monitor this data 24 hours a day and study the reports generated by the app to get information about health trends. Patients who show signs of deteriorating health are scheduled for face-to-face visits.
Monitoring of medical assets based on IoT and RFID
Medical inventory and equipment monitoring
All medical tools and durable assets (beds, medical equipment) are equipped with RFID tags (radio frequency identification). Fixed RFID readers (for example, on walls) collect information about the location of assets. Medical staff can view it using a mobile or web application with a map.
RFID-enabled drug tracking helps pharmacies and hospitals verify the authenticity of drug packages and timely detect drug shortages.
Smart hospital space
Room sensors connected to the cloud (e.g., a light switch, door and window contacts) and environmental sensors (e.g., hydrometers, noise detectors) allow patients to monitor their environment for a comfortable hospital stay.
Advantages of using IoT technology in healthcare
Medical IoT helps to turn patients into active participants in the treatment process, thus improving care outcomes. In addition, IoMT helps increase patient satisfaction with the provision of care, from communication with medical staff to physical comfort (smart lighting, air conditioning, etc.).
Reduction of costs related to care
Non-critical patients can stay home and use cloud-connected IoT medical devices, which collect, track, and send health data to the medical facility. And with the help of telehealth technology, patients can schedule e-visits with nurses and doctors without traveling to the hospital.
Patient applications connected to biosensors help ensure compliance with a discharge plan, allow for the rapid detection of deviations in health status, and offer the opportunity to timely contact a healthcare professional remotely.
IoMT challenges and how to face them
Potential security breaches of health data
The connected nature of the IoT poses information security challenges for healthcare providers and patients.
We recommend implementing HIPAA-compliant IoMT solutions and conducting vulnerability assessments and penetration testing periodically to ensure the highest level of protection.
Each medical center has its own unique set of applications to integrate with an IoMT solution (e.g., EHR, EMR). Some of these applications may be highly customized or obsolete.
Develop the integration strategy from the start of your IoMT project, including the scope and nature of custom integrations.
Improve care delivery with IoMT
According to my estimates, the use of IoT technology in healthcare will continue to increase over the next decade, driven by the impact of the COVID situation and the growing demand for remote care. If you need help creating and implementing a suitable IoMT solution, we invite you resort to ScienceSoft healthcare IT team.
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Medical IoT (IoMT) from ScienceSoft
Thinking of launching an IoMT initiative? With more than 10 years in IoT, ScienceSoft helps healthcare providers deliver more efficient services and improve patient safety.