The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a term used to describe the network of connected medical devices that is currently in use all over the world. These devices are typically linked to medical IoT platforms that help healthcare providers manage the data generated by these devices.
The IoMT encompasses everything from X-ray and radiography machines to smart watches and implantable pacemakers. You can see the IoMT at work:
Patients with chronic diseases like hypertension, and patients at risk require ongoing medical support to manage their conditions. Connected medical devices allow healthcare providers to monitor the progress of these patients on a daily basis, offering them the treatments and counseling they need to overcome health-related challenges before they develop into health emergencies.
Healthcare providers have always struggled to provide quality care to patients in rural areas with few hospitals or clinics. Now, IoMT networks can capture in-depth health data on each patient and build a comprehensive health profile based on their personal data readings. Physicians can use this information to provide better quality care, even over long distances.
Medical research studies need as much data as they can get to come to useful conclusions about human physiology and effective treatments. Connected medical devices automate much of the data collection process and allow researchers to observe how patients fare in real-world conditions as well as clinical settings.
Poor treatment adherence is a major problem in the healthcare industry, but many patients perform significantly better in this respect when they feel motivated and engaged. Connected medical devices automatically track patient adherence and can be programmed to issue automatic alerts if patients fail to follow their treatment plan, keeping patients accountable for their own health.
Each patient's unique lifestyle and physiology influence the effectiveness of their treatments. Healthcare providers can use the feedback provided by IoMT devices to guide their patients’ treatment and ensure that each person receives the type of care that works best for them.
Because IoMT devices offer unprecedented amounts of personal health data on top of round-the-clock care, they can drastically improve the health outcomes of patients - especially those who suffer from chronic diseases.
Medical IoT devices excel at prompting early health interventions before patients’ health reaches a crisis point. This results in fewer emergencies, shorter hospital stays, and lower overall expenses than conventional care models.
One of the major problems impeding the mass adoption of IoMT networks is the unique cybersecurity environment in which they operate. Personal health data is considered highly sensitive information and is protected by law in most countries. Some connected health devices are also directly involved in patients' treatment (for example, automatic pill dispensers) and pose an additional safety risk. If these devices become compromised, patients' privacy and health could both be at stake.
Organizations using IoMT connectivity in any capacity must ensure that robust cybersecurity measures are upheld in every layer of the stack. Some recommended security precautions include: