What is the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)?

Major advances in technology are driving innovation in the health care ecosystem, leading to the development of an increasing number of connected medical devices that can collect, analyze, and transmit data. That data, along with the devices themselves, are creating a new larger network of understanding in the world of health care, known as the IoMT. New research shows how the IoMT is transforming the role of digital technology in health care, and how companies can use digital transformation to tap into new opportunities. 

What is IoT?
The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. A thing in the internet of things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, an animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address and is able to transfer data over a network.

What is the IoMT?
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is the collection of medical devices and applications that connect to health care IT systems through interoperable, connected computer networks. Medical devices equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities allow machine-to-machine communication that is the basis of IoMT. IoMT devices link to cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services, on which captured data can be stored and analyzed for greater performance, user trends, abnormalities, and smart advancements.

How is the IoMT used?
Examples of IoMT uses include remote patient monitoring of people with chronic or long-term conditions; tracking patient medication orders and the location of patients admitted to hospitals; and patients’ wearable devices, which can send information to caregivers. Infusion pumps that digitally-connect to analytics dashboards and hospital beds rigged with sensors that measure patients’ vital signs are some of the latest medical devices that can be deployed as IoMT technology.

What creates the IoMT?
The practice of using IoMT devices to remotely monitor patients in their homes is also known as telemedicine. This kind of treatment spares patients from traveling to a hospital or physician’s office whenever they have a medical question or change in their condition. The security of sensitive data — such as protected health information regulated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — that passes through the IoMT is a developing issue for health care providers.

What are the challenges of IoMT?
While the IoMT has the potential to help alleviate some of the cost, access and care coordination challenges facing health care, the generation of data points through millions of connected medical devices will need to become actionable insight to truly deliver value.  Tech companies will need to develop new strategies to harness the data provided by their digitally enabled products and make business and operating models competitive and valuable to complex health care and pharmaceutical systems. 

What is the future of IoMT?
Approximately 60% of global health care organizations have already implemented Internet of Things technologies, and an additional 32% are expected to do so by 2023. Traditional health care systems are experiencing a paradigm shift as digital transformation puts technologically advanced and connected products in the hands of patients. This digital-first approach gives patients and physicians even in the most remote locations better access to health care facilities.

But achieving these goals will require further adaption of existing business models. The industry’s future will depend on its ability to demonstrate to providers and payers how connected medical devices contribute to the new value-based paradigm.

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