One of the greatest innovations in modern medicine is the advent of the internet-of-things (IoT), or in healthcare-specific parlance, the internet-of-medical-things (IoMT).
The IoMT involves connecting medical devices or applications to a cloud server, with device inputs uploaded directly to a central server for storage, review, and analysis.
Connecting a medical device to the cloud in this way opens up a world of new possibilities for patient care. It also supports far better internal efficiency and collaboration that unconnected tools ever could, which is likely why the healthcare IoT market is projected to hit nearly $136 billion in revenue by 2025.
Let’s review a few of the biggest benefits of medical device connectivity and how connected medical devices are reshaping patient care.
Connectivity of medical devices makes telehealth solutions more feasible than ever. These solutions range from online platforms that enable virtual appointments to connected wearables that monitor critical health data.
Devices and platforms have revolutionized the way patients and doctors manage critical medical data as well as routine checks. For example, recent cardiovascular patients that need constant monitoring can now report ECG readings through a cloud-connected device.
Similarly, patients with blood pressure, oxygen level, and hypoglycemia issues no longer need to manually monitor and report important datapoints thanks to cloud-enabled devices. Clinicians are able to keep track of their patients’ status and connect with them from any location with an internet connection.
Overall, it’s a system that transforms the traditional healthcare delivery model and enables quality care access to patients, regardless of their location.
Related to the above, IoMT technologies make data capture and analysis easy for clinicians. Just consider how many types of health devices there are these days, each of which sends an ongoing stream of data to healthcare providers:
Without a way to centralize and review this data, it’s hard to see the big picture and determine the best course of treatment. But when providers connect healthcare devices and send all information to the cloud for review, clinicians can see all the data available for each patient and make smarter, data-backed decisions to support better outcomes.
Certain medical devices – such as fitness wearables – are merely improved with the IoT. But for more serious medical tools, IoT integration can be a life-saving feature:
These devices provide important information about a patient’s biological functions that need to be maintained at all times. IoT integration provides an “always on” link to these devices, giving clinicians information about device performance. If aberrations in the data are discovered, providers can assess the data to determine whether the problem is with the patient or the device itself.
Combined with predictive analytics on cloud-based data sets, healthcare providers can proactively determine when certain devices may be at risk of failure – and then come up with remediations before any damage is done.
IoMT strategies improve healthcare efficiency by making it easier for providers to collaborate, share information, and develop cohesive treatment plans for complex medical needs.
Think back to the old days of medical care, where doctors had to fax paper charts and other medical details to their network of referral specialists. It was time-consuming and limited; the information the specialist received was restricted to what was in the chart.
Today, IoT integration makes specialist collaboration easy. Documents can be centralized in an online medical record and transmitted securely to other clinics. Primary care physicians can collect ongoing data from their patients and transmit those details to specialists, keeping them in the loop with the most up-to-date patient data available.
It’s a system that reduces the need for outdated communication technologies and ensures that all providers have the information they need to deliver successful outcomes.
The right medical device connectivity solutions can bring a wealth of benefits to any healthcare organization, and new solutions are coming out all the time.
Consider the remote monitoring solutions from bio-T that allow continuous collection of user telemetry data from patients, easily and securely. This is just one example of how medical IoT solutions can change the way clinicians deliver care, but in terms of efficiency benefits, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.