With the arrival of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), the healthcare industry is experiencing the introduction of novel technologies that can empower patients, boost clinical outcomes, and lower costs. These include health monitoring devices, internally embedded medical products, wearable external medical devices, and stationary but networked medical solutions. Moreover, with growing technological innovations, more sophisticated and advanced IoT-enabled devices are expected to flood the market in the time to come. Not surprisingly then, the IoT in healthcare segment is poised to reach $117 billion by the turn of the decade.
Watching the IoMT Unfold
The IoMT adds value along the entire healthcare continuum. While many patients did not previously have access to robust health monitoring facilities, the easy availability of compact yet powerful wireless IoT-enabled products now makes it possible to engage in round-the-clock monitoring of health parameters. Backed by sensor connectivity, these wireless solutions can safely record patient health data, leverage algorithms to make sense of the data, and transmit this information to doctors and other relevant stakeholders for timely and quick clinical decisions.
From a healthcare provider’s point of view too, these wireless-based, real-time patient monitoring systems prove to be a boon as they enable the early diagnosis of diseases and improve treatment outcomes. With the availability of IoMT solutions such as smart chips, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, real-time location systems (RTLS), and beacons, healthcare providers can streamline the functions of healthcare practitioners within optimized operational expenses.
Recognizing the manifold benefits of IoMT solutions, Proteus Discover, a digital medicine solutions provider, has created a sensor-embedded pill that can keep track of the medication prescribed and see exactly how it affects the patient. Patients can also monitor heart rate, blood pressure, weight, and other vital parameters, with the help of an app. This ‘smart drug’ allows both the doctor and patient to understand what treatment works best.
Novartis’ collaboration with Google to create a contact lens for diabetics represents another significant development in the IoMT space. Instead of patients having to prick their finger for a blood sample, healthcare providers can now measure blood sugar from tears and receive continuous data on any fluctuations in these levels. With this information, diabetics and healthcare providers can identify complications early and act upon them accordingly.
What Next? Mapping the Proliferation of the IoMT
With several IoMT-enabled products and technologies being developed, the concept of virtual doctors, subscription-based healthcare, and retail medical clinics are gaining popularity. From these developments, three trends are clear—first, we are gradually entering the age wherein technology innovations allow patients to access healthcare at their convenience, often without having to visit the doctor or hospital. Second, do-it-yourself healthcare is fast becoming a reality, with an array of home diagnostic products proliferating the healthcare landscape. Finally, healthcare is moving towards a participatory, personalized model that aims to enhance the overall patient experience.
Are you capitalizing on the latest trends in the IoMT? Please tell us in the comments section below.