The Internet of Things (IoT) is basically a network of interconnected smart devices. The network enables users to control devices remotely through apps, while at the same time data is collected through strategic touchpoints. This data can later be processed and used for various purposes.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a practical application of IoT devices, combined with MedTech tools, that are used in healthcare. In this article we explain what IoMT is and discuss how apps play an important role in its implementation and future developments.
Thanks to the possibility of connecting medical devices through networks, healthcare professionals can monitor patients’ key biometrics in real-time. This brings a series of benefits, some of which are not obvious at plain sight.
This technology enables doctors to keep track of any potential issues that might occur, thus helping prevent any future complications.
Suppose a patient is told not to exceed a given weight, otherwise, health problems might occur. With an IoMT scale, 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, given the patient’s condition, and help trigger motivation by using push notifications. It can also share relevant information with medical staff so that they know, before a medical appointment, how the patient has evolved. This can make processes more efficient.
The Internet of Medical Things can also help trigger emergency responses. Imagine a medical device that helps monitor glucose levels. Let’s consider patient A for this example. Patient A, 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 one is able to connect to the internet. With it, patient A can keep track of her glucose levels with a twist. Because the device is an IoMT enabled glucometer, the doctor can check remotely her glucose stats in detail. After looking at the data, the doctor concludes that patient A is experiencing a dangerous glucose level, and since he knows her medical history, a personalized solution can be recommended.
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 patients a better overall experience through great design practices.
Considering a patient’s journey through a specific medical procedure is very relevant. Throughout the years, health 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 IoT devices, MedTech, and apps helps solve many of these problems. At Koombea, for example, our obsessive focus on user experience helps guarantee positive outcomes beyond apps. 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, ensures that nothing is left loose. 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.
IoMT Data Challenges
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 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, 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. Doing so creates trust, an important element that IoMT devices need to help guarantee.
From our experience, we’ve observed two important ways in which IoMT devices can impact patients in a positive way.
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, healthcare professionals can now take into account individual needs.
Digital Therapeutics (DTx) is one of the most attractive opportunities for 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.
Apps are at the core of IoMT technologies. I’ve already mentioned how even the most powerful device ends up being useless if it does not have a powerful app backing it. The best way to guarantee that this does not become a problem is to look out for an experienced medical app development partner.
IoMT app development is not something to leave on the hands of anyone. People’s lives are at stake, and the future of healthcare systems needs developers and designers who can understand its intricacies.
At Koombea we have over 12 years of experience developing both MedTech and IoT apps for all sorts of purposes. Contact us and make sure your project is in the right hands.