Cloud-connected medical devices started to emerge around 2 years ago. Shortly thereafter the buzzword IoMT, which is an acronym for the Internet of Medical Things, was born.
Yet, I hear a lot of hesitation around whether IoMT is here to stay. Why? Because many people imagine just the obvious use cases of cloud connectivity, where there are so many other exciting ones. So that’s what this post will cover.
Basics First. What’s IoMT?
Technically speaking, IoMT is the trio of a medical device that is connected to a cloud and to applications (mobile/web/etc.). The cloud usually performs the processing and stores the data, where the applications collect the data through interaction with users.
But the true meaning of IoMT is the unprecedented accessibility it provides to patients, physicians, healthcare providers, and patients’ families. Accessibility which ultimately brings better health in a faster, more user-friendly environment.
Benefit #1: Tele-health and Tele-medicine
Nowadays, when we need medical care we set an appointment with our doctor, and visit them when our turn comes. Now imagine a world where this is not necessary, where you have a medical device at home that assesses you, uploads your indicators to the cloud, and later on your doctor analyzes them and provides you with a diagnosis and treatment.
How many hours of driving and waiting could patients and healthcare professionals save if they rarely had to go to the clinic? And in parallel the efficiency of doctors would rise since they could use their extra time to heal more patients.
And indeed, IoMT devices that bring this tele-health and tele-medicine vision to reality already exist. From wearables that measure heartbeat and blood pressure, to more advanced products such as HeraMED‘s home pregnancy monitor.
Benefit #2: New Research Horizons
Think about it, data-wise, today’s medical devices are small pools of data. With IoMT, all these pools will be united into one big data sea.
Moreover, IoMT is also about going from the clinic environment to the home environment. Therefore, due to the availability of the medical device, the sheer number of data samples is expected to increase by several orders of magnitude.
The result of this aspect of IoMT will provide exceptional oceans of data to explore and run big data machine learning algorithms to find cause and effect correlations. For example, to check how symptoms react to treatments and which early signs can be detected before deterioration happens.
In this respect, IoMT is a promising step towards better quality of life.
Benefit #3: Real-time Artificial Intelligence
Imagine yourself as a doctor checking a patient. For example, examining his skin. And while you do this with your smart magnifying glass, an alert pops up and tells you that there’s a new deformation around the place you’re looking at. Moreover, you also instantly get a visual analysis of where the change is. Would that better you as a doctor?
Or imagine yourself as a patient who bought a new home medical device, which may not be straightforward to use. Yet, when you place the device next to the organ it needs to check, your device talks to you and tells you “Hey, please move me a bit to the left so I can get a better signal.”
This and much more can be done with IoMT devices that use the power of the cloud to process and execute complex algorithms that provide results almost instantly.
I’m sure you get how such cloud-powered real-time AI would improve the efficiency of our medical care.
Interested in learning what else can be done with IoMT? Stay tuned for Part 2.