The Internet of Things was groundbreaking technology perhaps a decade ago. However, we keep inventing innovative tech solutions and making devices work for us. So, nowadays, smart devices have become entrenched in our lives. We bet you know at least one person who uses smartwatches or has seen e-scooters roaming the streets. People implement IoT in almost any industry, from retail and logistics to manufacturing and oil production.
But have you ever heard about the Internet of medical things? Medicine doesn’t stand still, and in fact, it’s one of the most advanced fields of activity. No wonder, companies use the power of medical IoT devices to offer doctors and patients more efficient products.
The scope of implementing an IoT system in healthcare is impressive. Experts expect the global IoMT market to skyrocket up to over $181 billion by the end of this year and up to $950B by 2032.
If you are planning to develop smart healthcare devices and are in search of some inspiration, read on to learn more about this market and discover the best IoT healthcare solutions so far.
Generally, the Internet of Things is the concept of utilizing smart devices and sensors to collect data in one environment, powered by advanced software. Machines can’t outperform humans in many things yet, but data gathering and analysis are definitely their strong suit. With IoT, you can partly or fully automate data and tracking related procedures, which, of course, is also essential for healthcare.
What is the Internet of medical things, and how can it revolutionize the industry? By applying the idea of IoT to medicine, we can control the storage temperature remotely while transporting vaccines and medications, track the symptoms of various diseases accurately without additional doctor’s appointments, take medicines properly and most effectively, and much more. All of that is possible thanks to the seamless remote monitoring capacity of medtech devices.
The prospects of IoT implementation in healthcare are exciting. Let’s sum up how this technology can transform the medical industry.
Despite constant development and improvement, the global healthcare system is still facing major challenges that often lead to dramatic results. It’s not only about finding a cure to new diseases and long-existing incurable ones, but also about miscommunication, human failure in symptom determination and tracking, maintaining routines, and searching for new research opportunities.
So, what are the possible benefits of IoT in healthcare, and how do IoT medical devices improve the industry?
- Remote healthcare. One of the most straightforward advantages of IoT in healthcare is the opportunity for doctors to monitor their clients’ health conditions, and patients can reach out for help at any time and from anywhere. It’s not only a matter of convenience and emergency care but also an opportunity to make medical assistance more accessible.
- Disease prevention. The best way to cure a disease is to avoid it. For that, healthcare IoT solutions present tracking and monitoring tools that help clients oversee their health state, adjust their habits, improve their lifestyle, and detect early signs of potential health issues.
- Reduced spending and more meaningful appointments. IoT-powered medical devices and sensors help patients track their health conditions autonomously and thus consult professionals less often. At the same time, extensive data gathered with the help of IoT healthcare applications make these visits more productive, and doctors have most of the necessary information at hand.
- Accessible medical data. Earlier, people had to go to labs, visit doctors, or just have a range of devices at home to measure such rates as blood pressure, heart rate, glucose or blood oxygen levels, etc. Fantastically, now you can use small and handy IoMT devices that track all of these regularly, and on top of that, give clear individual statistics in your health app.
- Enhanced diagnostics. Because IoT healthcare devices can track nearly anything related to your general health, it gets easier to catch any abnormalities and symptoms. This helps doctors get a comprehensive picture of your health state and diagnose a potential disease faster and more accurately.
- Better healthcare management. Some examples of IoT in healthcare work not only for individual needs but also for institutions and the system globally. For instance, some kinds of medical IoT help analyze the condition and effectiveness of special equipment or get global statistics on some diseases.
- Improved drug therapy. Medication therapy is a crucial part of treatment, so it’s important to make sure patients take drugs regularly and medication works well for them. A well-designed IoT health monitoring system helps get the most out of the drug treatment process.
- Research assistance. IoMT can be used for studies, as it collects unlimited amounts of accurate medical data. It may help scientists focus on more complex tasks, rather than gather, compile, and analyze this information manually.
Let’s discover how IoT can be used in healthcare and how these benefits work on the most widely used Internet of medical things examples.
Internet of Bodies
As the name suggests, the Internet of bodies technology uses the human body as a source of medical or fitness data. IoB devices collect biometric, physiological, or behavioral data which is then shared through IoT system networks, stored and analyzed with the help of back-end infrastructure, and delivered to the end-user, typically in a mobile app.
Wearable smart fitness devices may first come to mind when we’re talking about the Internet of bodies. However, it’s a much wider concept that includes biometric authentication, implants, prosthetics, artificial organs, pill dispensers, and nearly any technology you can wear, implant, or even ingest. This technology allows doctors to monitor a client’s health day and night, diagnose more accurately, and support patients with chronic conditions.
IoB smart devices in healthcare can be external (smartwatches, wristbands, etc.), internal (artificial organ systems, implants, smart prosthetic limbs, etc.), or body-fused (e.g., smart digital pills).
Let’s take a look at some of the most widespread use cases of this innovative medical technology.
Smartwatches and IoT-powered bands are arguably the most popular IoT healthcare technology. They can be used not only for fitness and medical purposes but also as an addition to other devices.
So, among other things, wearers can see the time, weather, and messages, as well as call their contacts using wristbands. Standard healthcare functions of this kind of smart device include step counting, heart rate monitoring, and even sleep tracking.
Nearly every major tech brand has already launched its smartwatch or wristband, so you can choose from various IoMT devices including Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Garmin, Fitbit, and many others.
The latter one has come out with the newly developed Fitbit Charge 5 fitness and health tracker. Besides its basic features, this device monitors breathing rate, heart rhythm irregularities, oxygen saturation, skin temperature, and menstrual cycle, and it can be used also as a mood tracker.
Hearing aids are getting smarter. The next-level hearing devices are enhanced with the latest technologies to improve the lives of people who struggle with hearing problems. Present-day hearables connect to other gadgets via Bluetooth, so you can adjust the sounds of the real world right on your smartphone.
The Whisper Hearing System is among the highest-ranked Internet of medical things examples for people with difficulty hearing. The company combined the latest advances of IoT in healthcare with AI technologies to make their hearing aids analyze and optimize the sound of the surroundings and provide the best hearing experience. The system is actually smart, as it improves constantly through learning and regular updates.
Scientists and engineers are trying to put full-fledged medical equipment into a pill-sized capsule. These experiments add a touch of science fiction to the medical technology industry, but at the same time, such sensors can provide the most accurate diagnostics possible.
During the last decade, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been working on ingestible sensors that can even replace traditional methods of diagnostics. One of their inventions was a small capsule, packed with sensors and artificial bacteria that can be used instead of an endoscopy to diagnose gastrointestinal problems, particularly bleeding.
Diabetes is a very common disease across the world. In the US alone, over 11% of the population has this diagnosis, and almost 40% of adults have prediabetes. These impressive statistics make glucose monitoring medical devices more relevant than ever.
Some companies are constantly working on improving glucose monitoring methods. For instance, Abbott has developed a range of IoT healthcare solutions called FreeStyle Libre for people with diabetes, including non-invasive sensors that keep an eye on your glucose level round the clock and notify you via a mobile app if there are any warning deviations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how important hand hygiene is. Hand-washing has become a non-negotiable routine for everybody. And for hospitals, it has always been a basic requirement for doctors and other health workers.
The Biovigil company helps medical institutions and facilities maintain hand hygiene compliance at any time. Its IoMT badge reminds workers to sanitize their hands and tracks the level of hygiene compliance across the hospital. In this way, patients can be sure that any operation will be provided safely.
Could you ever imagine that there will be smart healthcare devices that can influence mental health directly? Well, today, people already can improve their mood and cognitive abilities using medtech, apart from classical psychotherapy or medication.
FeelZing has packed the essence of neurostimulation into smart patches that you can easily use for daily productivity and calmness. The patches produce waveforms that affect your nervous system and enhance focus and peace of mind. The method has been proven by over 30 thousand studies to be safe and efficient.
The Internet of medical things empowers hospitals, allowing their staff to operate more efficiently and coherently. It helps establish productive cooperation between medical care professionals and technical staff, as well as provide excellent service to patients, and prolong the service life of medical equipment and devices.
The quality of medical equipment impacts the reputation of a hospital immensely. To make sure it works seamlessly, you need to keep an eye on how it’s functioning, its capabilities, and work to prevent any collapses or failures. In this respect, we’re moving from corrective to predictive maintenance.
The Internet of Things in healthcare steps up predictive maintenance methods, ensuring more efficient work, less risk for patients’ health, and less spending on costly repairs. The Virtos Automatic immunoassay analyzer applies automated IoT monitoring and notifies equipment operators about any potential malfunction.
Many of the IoT in healthcare examples are related to smart connected equipment. That means you can easily get access to the device or equipment characteristics and interact with it via a mobile app. Hospitals use such IoMT-powered pieces as defibrillators, nebulizers, oxygen pumps, and other monitoring equipment.
The Permobil company offers connected wheelchairs that are convenient to manage, both for individual users and service providers. The system makes it easy for hospitals to keep track of their fleet, and patients can check the wheelchair battery, distance, and other metrics, and even use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Asset, staff, and patient management
Medical institutions are complex ecosystems, where great coherence matters for the patients’ safety. Especially in large hospitals, tracking all the devices and equipment, quick cooperation between employees, and monitoring patients’ states become a challenge that requires innovative solutions.
For such purposes, Arrowfinch offers an IoT tracking system, based on sensors, tags, badges, and other connected medtech devices. With this system, you are sure that every patient gets appropriate attention, all assets are in sight, and all the staff is coordinated efficiently.
Lab work consists of productive research and a less exciting, monotonous job. Lab coworkers handle huge amounts of scientific data and manage lab equipment and items repeatedly. Quite often, it leads to exhaustion and naturally occurring errors. That’s why scientists seek a way to delegate these time- and energy-consuming tasks to automated systems. And here, the Internet of medical things comes into play.
Swittons offers a smart solution for one of the challenges that labs face. It takes over all monotonous tasks that often distract lab employees from more crucial aspects of their job. Swittons devices can manage the status of different pieces of equipment and trigger phone and video calls for maintenance issues, help restock lab items, send alerts about emergencies, and more.
Chronic disease management
Patients with chronic conditions need to receive constant support. IoMT developers provide medtech devices that help people track their health, medications, and deviations. Patients can detect early signs of worsening symptoms and get in touch with their therapists. Unlike traditional monitoring methods, smart healthcare devices help keep things accurate and consistent, which in the case of chronic illnesses can be lifesaving.
Quio launched one of such solutions. The IoT health monitoring system collects relevant health data, gathered through dedicated devices, and records disease trends to help medical care specialists adjust the treatment plan.
The world’s leading surgeons in cooperation with engineers and developers pass on their knowledge and skills to robots and apply their accuracy to carry out the most complicated procedures. So, today, automated IoT-powered robotic tools can perform some surgical operations even better than human staff.
Particularly, robotic surgery is proven to be faster and more accurate, less invasive and painful, patients get fewer scars with decreased risks of infections, and require less time for rehabilitation.
This applies to nearly every typical kind of surgery. So, besides general surgery, doctors rely on robots when it comes to heart, spinal, gastrointestinal, thoracic, gynecologic, and urologic surgery.
Intuitive’s da Vinci Surgical Systems are among the most well-known robotic tools in the world. They assist surgeons in performing flawless operations on nearly any part of the human body. Thousands of da Vinci machines operate hundreds of thousands of surgical procedures worldwide.
In many cases, the rehabilitation process represents the last treatment stage. Still, this crucial phase may last long, and patients need constant support and guidance. Medical IoT devices can contribute to a faster and safer recovery.
One of the examples of IoT in healthcare for rehabilitation is the ReHub system by DyCare. It’s a platform where doctors can connect with their patients and track their rehabilitation process with the help of an AI and IoT health monitoring system. You can create an individual recovery strategy for each patient, and manage their progress based on the performance tracked by smart sensors and clear statistics generated by AI.
The IoT applications in healthcare you’ve seen are only several examples of how the Internet of medical things works. It is an extremely huge industry that covers nearly every part of the global healthcare system. For businesses and developers, it’s a space of endless opportunities to express their creativity and apply technological advancements to improve such a vital part of human existence.
If you’re inspired to create your own healthcare IoT device, Eastern Peak can become your reliable development partner. Take the first step on your journey by reaching out to our team for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is IoT used in healthcare?
Healthcare IoT, often called the Internet of medical things, works on the same principle as any IoT-powered system. Smart healthcare devices gather relevant medical data and accumulate it in dedicated apps. An IoT health monitoring system can connect medical care specialists and patients to promote efficient diagnostics, treatment, and communication.
What are the examples of IoT in healthcare?
IoMT represents innovative ways of symptom tracking, diagnosing, rehabilitation procedures, hospital workflow management, etc.
The most widely applied IoT healthcare use cases include advanced medtech devices for health monitoring, smart pills for faster and non-invasive diagnostics, IoT-powered hospital asset tracking systems, robotic equipment for different kinds of surgery, and many more.
How does the Internet of medical things impact the healthcare industry?
Different kinds of Internet of Things medical devices assist nearly any party of the healthcare system. On the one hand, patients can track general health conditions and thus make their lifestyle healthier, prevent issues, and save costs on unproductive consultations.
On the other hand, doctors can use this data to make a more accurate diagnosis. The medical Internet of Things can also be used in healthcare institutions and for medical research.