Internet of Medical Things and How It Benefits Healthcare
The Internet of Things is commonly known, but did you know about the Internet of Medical Things? This is also known as IoMT and is essentially all medical devices and healthcare applications connected to technology systems. In short, it is the connection of millions of health care information collections.
The Internet of Medical Things is crucial these days because so many people are isolated.
Input Types for the Internet of Medical Things
There are so many ways to connect in the world of medical things. From bracelets to monitors and hospital machines, they collect information that may be deciphered by medical personnel. Here are the main types of input.
Health wearables fall into two main categories, consumer and clinical. They are designed to collect information from the patient’s body, and this information is then collected and managed, either by the person or by the clinic.
Consumer health wearables are things the average person might wear for their personal fitness tracking. These include sports watches, smart clothing, fitness tracking bands, and activity trackers. In most cases, these are not health authority approved, but the information collected may be used by clinical studies. Most people use this type of device to track their heart rate, oxygen levels, and calories burned, among other things, to help them stay on top of their health.
Clinical wearables are created specifically for medical tracking. The vast majority are approved by health authorities and are recommended for use with medical supervision. These may include things like the Halo Sport headset, which helps stimulate the areas of the brain that will improve muscle memory and endurance, or the Holter exam, which tracks the patient’s heart as a portable ECG.
Both these types of wearables are part of the IoMT and can provide valuable information.
Not all medical data is collected directly from the person. Some systems can be set up in homes, such as emergency response systems and virtual health visits.
Personal emergency response systems or PERS requires the person to use a button or other device on their person to call for help if needed. These are frequently used for those who are somewhat mobility impaired, such as senior citizens. If they have a fall, they can push a button on their wrist or neck and have emergency medical care within minutes. This allows for more independent living.
Remote Patient Monitoring is another at-home option for collecting information. It’s used when someone needs frequent monitoring but would prefer to be at home rather than in the hospital. There is a range of monitoring devices and sensors used in these cases. It’s commonly the method used for those who have difficulty remembering their medications, who are dealing with a chronic disease, and those treated in a hospital and are in-home recovery.
Finally, virtual or telehealth visits allow patients to speak with their healthcare provider over video calls or via phone. The doctor can then give out prescriptions, prepare health care plans or send the patient more tests. For patients, the advantage is not having to leave home. While virtual health visits did exist before, the pandemic made them much more common, and it is now widely acceptable for people to have telehealth visits.
Health clinics also use a wide variety of methods to monitor a patient’s health, which can be done in person or from a distance. Some companies have developed unique ways to assess patients and convey the information to a trained health professional. For example, ThinkLab has devised a digital stethoscope that can be used from afar and the Tytocare exam device that checks everything from the respiratory system to the circulatory system.
Hospitals are, of course, one of the biggest parts of the Internet of Medical Things. They use the vast majority of equipment provided and are large enough to use multiple machines often. For example:
Asset management includes tracking items such as wheelchairs and infusion pumps, ECG machines, and other high-value equipment that needs to be monitored.
There are also programs to monitor both staff and patients and ensure the overall flow of patients from arrival to ward is optimal. These systems help ensure that productivity is kept high.
Everything from the environment and inventory is monitored and tracked to prevent medicine from going bad or missing. But these aren’t the only things you’ll find in the hospital. Much of the equipment also monitors and tracks information, from heart rate to location monitoring via chips or cards.
How IoMT Is Impacting Healthcare
Nearly all medical exams include some sort of medical device. From testing your blood sugar to checking blood pressure and temperature, machines are used constantly for exams. In fact, there are over half a million different medical technologies on the market and more coming out each day.
Many of these devices collect information and transmit it, making it easier to analyze and find patterns. But what does this mean overall for healthcare?
Doctors and scientists are using the information they collect to devise better methods of managing chronic diseases or even prevent them in the first place. It will have a major impact on the future of healthcare, that’s for certain, but it’s more than just what is happening in research.
When doctors have access to their patient’s health information, they’re less likely to make dangerous and costly mistakes. It also tends to improve their diagnosis. For example, smartphone apps can be crucial to ensuring doctors get the right information from their patients.
One good example of this is the FitBit, which permits doctors to track and evaluate those with heart diseases in real-time. According to mHealthIntelligence, 88% of healthcare providers are focused on investing in devices to monitor their patients remotely.
The more healthcare workers know about a person’s body and habits, the better they can diagnose and attend to the issues. It’s about far more than just being able to diagnose someone remotely. Now it is about improving outcomes and preventing disease.
In short, the Internet of Medical Things is set to make great strides in the coming years, and this will help everyone in the world of health.