Introduction to the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
Sensor-based and mobile-enabled technologies are expanding very fast in scope and applications.
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What Is IoMT and How Does it Work?
The sensor-based devices that are incorporated with IoT allow for integration with mobile technologies that are being referred to as the IoMT (Internet of Medical Things). When the data collected with these devices are combined with electronic health record (EHR) systems, a new dimension is opened and many possibilities and uses are born in which this technology can play a pivotal role in transforming modern healthcare systems, making them more efficient and robust.
In modern clinical setups, the IoHT technology mostly falls into the following three categories.
Tracking Assets and Resources:The scenarios that IoHT brings about include the location awareness, proximity inferencing, movement detection, and environmental sensing functionality.
Internet of Things in Hospitals:IoMT-based technologies also have the potential to locate patients, medical staff, and visitors that further enhances the concept of smart hospitals.
Collection and Integration of Clinical Data:Collection and integration of clinical data include many technologies. The IoHT is making this process more streamlined and effective. The data generated from medical observations can be collected and communicated as never before, saving time and resources by encouraging promises for the future.
The application of IoT in healthcare is taking new dimensions as IoT solutions to healthcare emerge from healthcare software development. The use of wearable devices programmed with such software is becoming mainstream day by day, as mobile applications and healthcare solutions are becoming accessible to common consumers.
To understand where the applications of IoT in the healthcare industry stands, let’s delve into the main aspects of this promising technology that is bringing a plethora of applications for public healthcare.
Six Major Benefits of IoT in Healthcare
The applications of IoT in the healthcare industry are enormous, and some of the benefits that this technology brings are mentioned below.
- Cut down on the medical costs
- Improved patient experience
- Enhanced manageability of medical drugs and medicinal adherence
- Dramatic reduction in errors
- Better control over wastage in the healthcare sector
- Better outcomes of medical treatments
Disadvantages of IoT in Healthcare
Although IoT is technology has proven its mark in the improvements pertaining to the field of medicines, it does not come without a downside. Some challenges to this industry include:
- There serious concerns about patient privacy (this loophole is hopped to be resolve with the blockchain technology in the near future).
- Security breaches may result in serious data corruption or manipulation, such a hack into healthcare analytics may be disastrous (blockchain technology also promises to overcome this hurdle).
- Management of IoT devices that consists of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system is a challenge for current medical infrastructures.
- Activity monitoring becomes very difficult.
- Compliance with standardization organizations such as HL7 and the established standards such as HIPAA, FHIR and can become technically tedious.
- Standards-based interoperable apps platform for electronic health records like SMART on FHIR may pose difficult technical challenges in areas of medical web development.
- Implementation of the HAPI (HL7 API) project and its port implementation that is nHAPI can become another obstacle requiring more technicality than healthcare domain knowledge.
Future of IoT in Healthcare
When resolution or mitigation of the problems that are hindering the growth of IoT implementation in the healthcare industry is taken care of, the IoT is expected to bring nothing short of a revolution in the healthcare industry. Some experts believe that with the advent of the blockchain, the revolution is already on its way.
IoT-Based Patient Health Monitoring System
The improvement in the healthcare facilities is eminent and better patient care, better preventive care, enhancement in the patient engagement and satisfaction, better care management, and advanced population health management is expected to rise in the future thanks to IoT in healthcare.
Examples of Healthcare IoT
IoT has some very interesting applications in the healthcare sector. The advances in the applications of IoT in the health area are occurring every day. Here are some of the examples that are bound to provide ultramodern medical solutions to some of the age-old medical problems and conditions.
Real-Time Health Systems (RTHS)
- DocBox: It is a vital sign monitoring system that can analyze a high volume, real-time data inputs from critically ill patients in ICU (Intensive Care Units) and reduce the time nurses spend on transcribing data so they can focus on other important tasks such as care delivery.
- Activity Tracker amid Cancer Treatment: A cancer center has devised a tracker to collect lifestyle information of myeloma patients. The patient is required to wear the tracker for a week before or more for the treatment of cancer, so the doctors can be absolutely certain about the information they need.
- Sensors that can be Ingested: Proteus Digital Health has created sensors in the form of pills that can be swallowed and are being dubbed as digital medicine. The company has produced a pill that treats psychotic ailments and hypertension. Both of the kind of diseases in which people lose their commitment to take the pill on a recommended basis. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that 50 percent of the prescribed medication is not taken as directed by the physicians. Proteus is determined to reduce this figure.
The pill has sensors monitors adherence of the patient. The pill gets dissolved in the stomach of the patient and produces small signals that can be picked by a small wearable sensor that can relay the data to a smart device.
IoT in Healthcare/Medical Projects
The IoT has a very significant contribution to the Healthcare technology industry. There have been several projects that engineers are working on, a hand full of them is mentioned below.
- Consumer Home Monitoring: Pioneered by a startup project by a group of companies, the project includes monitoring systems like “Qardio” and “AlivCor,” allowing consumers to do their ECG (Electrocardiogram) testing from the comfort of their homes without visiting the cardiologist.
- Fitness Wearables: One of the major sectors of IoT healthcare is the fitness industry that has produced wearables or smart apparels such as Lumo and OMsignal.
There are great chances that the healthcare devices based on IoT will penetrate much deeper in our lives and the future of these technologies seems very bright and exciting.
- Blockchain-Based Innovations: Blockchain had its cradle in Fintech. A cryptocurrency called Bitcoin became the cradle of Blackchin. A concept that was pioneered by Satoshi Nakamoto, a cryptographer, and a mysterious figure has created the concept of a distributed database that can communicate with computer peers sharing and verifying information on a consensus basis. As different computers communicate, they confirm the validity of the information they contain. The blockchain is extremely advanced and has found numerous innovative applications in and around financial industry including medical healthcare.
Until now, there are no known methods to hack the blockchain data and this leads to secure transactions, safe data storage, secure data exchange, and virtually immutable medical records. Moreover, the transparent data flow is the advantages that make it unique to protect the privacy and security of the patient’s data. The medical organization is taking the initiative to incorporate blockchain into their systems to secure scores of medical records over the network.
- Medical Applications of Machine Learning: Machine learning is finding great applications in the healthcare sector. The improvement of customer experience, determining, and extracting value from piles of data, even efficient analysis of medical records and bettered treatment of patients are the benefits that have come to the surface form the cutting-edge research being performed in the medical field as it is being married to machine learning.
When medical decisions are made by doctors, in general, the undermined processing power of current mainstream technology may convolute the decisions of the even the best medical professionals. It is here the machine learning can help reach a clear decision-saving time and resources so that a greater number of patients can be treated in a limited span of time.
Machine learning application can significantly mitigate the human error. The modern intelligent data processing analytics can bring out a larger number of data points from new sources, sorting out dissimilarities and asymmetries of data and employing automated algorithms to make data processing effective and efficient. The data sources are becoming increasingly diverse, as machine learning and IoT technology are coming up with new and innovative ways to handle the situations in different scenarios, helping medical practitioners reach better and more informed decisions to enhance their productivity and better help patients with their treatment.
- Smart Devices and Biosensors: The increase in processing power of the digital machines has opened new venues to miniaturize devices that can be worn by patients and get more accurate and timely readings that can be interpreted. The enablement of IoT to connect healthcare smart devices with smartphones over the Internet are resulting in the replacement of heavy and expensive medical equipment with lighter ones and equipment that occupies less space, allowing the freedom to have more real-estate resources in medical facilities that can be efficiently utilized for other purposes.
IoHT technologies are something that will be observed more and more in the mainstream healthcare systems and scenarios, making lives easy for the patients and doctors, saving lives, enhancing standards of living, and making the concept of smart hospitals an inevitable reality.
Published at DZone with permission of Kayleigh Davis. See the original article here.
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