IoT applications in healthcare. The Internet of Medical Things
Bringing intelligent connections and new opportunities for workflow optimization, the Internet of Medical Things is about to change the healthcare industry. Under the impact of the healthcare digital transformation, IoT-enabled approaches are starting to be widely introduced in the sector.
Healthcare providers have a lot of issues that IoT applications can solve or improve. Remote monitoring and maintenance of medical equipment, remote monitoring of patient health and treatment, collection and analysis of data, minimization of errors, more responsible tasks assigned to connected devices are the things that you can get with IoT technology.
According to the report by Allied Market Research, the global IoT healthcare market will reach $136.8 billion by 2021. Already now, 3.7 million medical devices are being used.
Here are some important insights into the Internet of Things in healthcare:
- 60% of healthcare organizations worldwide have already had IoT technology integrated into their facilities.
- By 2019, 87% of healthcare providers will have introduced IoT solutions in their work.
- IDC report predicts that 40% of healthcare organizations will use IoT-enabled biosensors by 2019.
- 80% reported an increase in innovation with the implementation of IoT solutions, Aruba Network says.
- According to the report by Aruba Network on the state of IoT, 73% of healthcare providers managed to save costs due to the use of IoT applications.
- The market segment of smart pills is predicted to reach $6.93 billion by 2020.
- The most popular IoT applications in healthcare organizations are patient monitoring and maintenance – 73%, and remote operation and control – 50%.
- IDC report expects that by 2020 the IoT spending worldwide will reach $1.29 trillion.
- The global IoT spending will be $1.4 trillion by 2021.
With the upcoming creation of the fully connected healthcare industry, there comes a new concept, called the Internet of Medical Things.
The Internet of Medical Things
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a network of connected healthcare devices and applications that gather data and transmit them to the central IT system for further analysis. There is a wide range of network participants, including sensors, wearables, mobile apps, smart beds, smart pills, and health measurement devices.
The IoMT is going to change and modify the way how we treat people, keep them safe and healthy, and collect information. It can provide healthcare organizations with real-time data, automatically alert about potential issues (e.g., equipment underperformance) before they are critical, help improve patient care, control energy consumption, and much more.
IoT solutions for the healthcare industry
1. Sensors and smart devices
IoT solutions like wearables and smart medical devices offer plenty of advantages for health monitoring and management. With them, you can collect large amounts of data, which accurate interpretation will allow to improve diagnosis and detect health problems and issues on time.
You can connect sensors and smart devices to mobile and web applications and switch the remote health monitoring on. By doing so you will reduce the utilization of heavy medical equipment with light IoT-enabled devices, and save costs as a result.
A constant health monitoring will enable healthcare providers to have a holistic accurate picture of patient health, which is almost impossible to obtain even if a patient regularly visits a doctor.
Smart pills, smart inhalers for treating bronchial asthma, smart blood glucose monitors, syringe pens for diabetes mellitus treatment, wireless plasters, and many other devices are being adopted in the healthcare industry. Soon, they will become an essential part of patient treatment.
IoT solutions for remote health monitoring have a top priority for treating an aging population. By 2025, 1.2 billion of the 8 billion people worldwide will be elderly.
Elderly people are more likely to have diseases. Therefore, costs and efforts for treating them increase, which leads to higher demand for remote health monitoring technologies. With sensors and smart devices, they will receive better treatment.
2. Equipment tracking systems
Internet of Medical Things solutions can track medical equipment in real-time. Sensors will instantly detect its incorrect functioning and automatically notify specialists about the failures, so they can promptly repair and continue the work with minimal downtime.
You can integrate IoT with the current equipment management systems and get the visualization of the healthcare organization – the map containing the location of all objects and their statuses. An employee receives alerts and views the map on a mobile app, PC, or a tablet.
3. Temperature control solutions
You can adopt a network of sensors to monitor and control the temperature in laboratories, refrigerators, and hospital rooms. By using it, you will be able to simultaneously and remotely regulate the required temperature in all rooms via a WI-Fi connection.
You can also place smart refrigerators with built-in sensors so that they independently maintain the correct temperature, monitor available stocks, and instantly report about their soon ending.
4. Real-time health systems
Many healthcare organizations are saddled with a paper-driven workflow consisting of thousands of medical records, plenty of documents, and various data dispersed across medical facilities.
Some individual providers deal with hundreds of different information systems that make accurate data storage management even more difficult. It also complicates and extends an information search process and in some cases decision-making.
Real-time health systems (RTHS) are poised to solve data-related challenges. It is the combination of EHR systems and sensor data gathered from wearable devices. RTHS is closely connected with Big Data Analytics, required for processing dynamic and static healthcare data for predictive analytics and modeling.
Integrating data from different systems, RTHS applications provide doctors and other specialists with an instant access to overall medical information – case histories, patient health records, various reports, etc. – on any device.
Having delivered 5 healthcare projects and having one at the development stage, we understand healthcare industrial challenges and know how to solve them using technologies.