One of the best things about the Internet of Things (IoT) is that it can be paired with many technological industries. The result of doing so is the transformation of all sorts of products, services, and processes. That might explain why many experts consider a technological mix to be the future of healthcare. It has so much potential that it is estimated to be worth $158.1 billion by 2022.
The combination of IoT and the MedTech industry is referred to as The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). In this article we address some of the fundamentals of IoMT, how it is changing the medical industry, where it is headed, and how your company can benefit from it.
What is The Internet of Medical Things
The Internet of Medical Things is a network of interconnected devices that, through smart apps, use data for patients’ benefit. This involves collecting, processing, and utilizing data so that better decisions are made on behalf of medical practitioners, and also to empower patients. IoMT involves not only preventive measures but also management decisions.
Many IoMT devices are specially designed for medical facilities. In general, their purpose is to monitor patients, but they can also serve for other goals like keeping track of medical equipment and assets, facilitating medical personnel’s tasks, and managing inventories and environmental conditions.
It is important to keep in mind that IoMT is not limited to medical facilities. Thanks to the use of wearable and home devices, patients can collect data throughout their daily activities. This allows health data to be easily collected, which in turn helps keep track of medical conditions while saving costs and making processes more efficient. It is worth mentioning that medical data can be collected in real-time. Besides regular data collection, out of medical facilities devices can help perform tasks and activities like monitoring patients, emergency responses, digital therapeutics, and telemedicine.
Many IoMT devices do not require a medical device certification. However, this ultimately depends on each individual device and the extent to which it impacts users. As more sophisticated and complex systems and devices are developed, we expect stricter regulations.
The Internet of Medical Things’ Impact on Healthcare
Using IoT technologies is the strategy that many industries are adopting to overhaul their businesses. Overall, there are three aspects you should know about in order to understand how the Internet of Medical Things is impacting healthcare:
- Data-Driven Decisions
- Smart Medical Devices
- Efficient processes
These benefits seek to ultimately impact patient care, directly or indirectly. As the medical industry is becoming more complex and challenges arise, technology has the potential to help systems become more efficient and robust.
We’ve previously discussed how IoT is all about data. This, and its networks of interconnected devices, make possible the creation of systems that can keep up with the complexities of modern medical practices. Being able to monitor patients in real-time or reminding patients to take their medicine are some of the popular features that this technology offers. However, it does not stop there. Data-driven processes in the medical industry help managers and medical personnel alike to make informed decisions that end up benefiting patients. For example, consider cost reduction and smart drug management.
Smart Medical Devices
Thanks to medical IoT devices, it is now possible to keep track of elements in a way that was impossible just a few years ago. Whether this means supplying inventories or monitoring health conditions, these devices can help achieve medical goals by creating a great patient experience. Smart watches and pillboxes are some popular examples of this. The former can help monitor biometrics while the latter can remind patients to take their medicines. Increasing the accuracy of diagnosis and treatments is also possible thanks to smart medical devices. Facilitating user mobility through home-based devices is of great help for disabled patients.
With many inefficiencies surrounding the medical world, IoMT has the potential to help make things better. Take the example of True-Access, an app developed by Koombea that allows medical staff and patients to move through authorized areas in medical facilities without having to request permission. In practice, it is a smart card that grants access, but it is more than that. Its data also helps keep track of operational matters. With it, security can be improved and better management decisions can be made thanks to the available data. In general, IoMT can help reduce mistakes by making processes better.
The medical industry has advanced a lot in the past decades, but so have the challenges. Most medical systems worldwide are saturated, populations are aging, budgets are constrained, and diseases keep on rising. Without improved conditions, it is very unlikely that needs can be effectively met. Technology has an important role to play in the big picture.
However, IoMT by itself is not the solution. First, it needs to be successfully implemented across a wide range of processes. Adopting new technological infrastructures and increased connectivity are requirements for this. This means that old methods need to be replaced, and that will only occur when new technologies start generating trust amongst health decision-makers. R&D will play a major role throughout this process.
Cybersecurity and data protection must also be considered. HIPAA and PCI compliant measures must be in place, and servers must be secured against possible cyber threats. Having an IoMT development and implementation partner that understands these intricacies is a key factor for a successful implementation.
Lastly, medical personnel must be qualified in order to operate under a new digital medical model. This will require learning how IoMT devices operate, so there is also a large opportunity in terms of MedTech education.
Apps for The Internet of Medical Things
Successful IoMT implementation must acknowledge the fact that devices are only as powerful as the software that backs them. It is of no use to invest heavily in the latest gadgets if the brain that holds the network together is not good.
It is expected that as more IoMT devices reach the market, so will new apps. Apps can help the medical industry improve, but this needs to be done effectively and responsibly. The healthcare industry needs medical app development companies that can handle and understand the delicate requirements of life-saving tools. Technological services like managing development projects, quality assurance, and delivering a great user experience are some of the things that IoMT apps will need.
Ideating new products from scratch will also be something to consider. Only by doing so can great apps be developed based on users’ real needs. However, the process of a medical digital transformation is not something that can be done in a siloed manner. Business models will need to be questioned. What worked in the past may not work under the new paradigm of IoMT. This is something that apps developed for medical purposes need to consider.
Lastly, apps, as well as IoMT devices, need to consider the evolution of regulations. As I’ve mentioned, data privacy and device security are major issues, and apps should guarantee them.
The Future of Healthcare
Although there is much to do, the future is promising. We have no doubt that the healthcare sector is moving towards a digital transformation as is the rest of the economy. The first step in starting this process is to generate trust in IoT development projects amongst the parts involved. There is nothing better than a certified and experienced partner to do this.
If you are thinking about developing IoMT solutions, you might want to consider working with an experienced MedTech and IoT development company. Koombea has over 12 years of experience building world-class apps that have won numerous awards. Contact us and book a free consultation to see how we can help you develop your IoMT solutions. We are digital technology experts who help bring ideas to life.