The whole healthcare industry is getting smarter with every passing day thanks to an over purging number of connected devices and applications that can deal with data of all types corresponding to individual medical records, patient records, and clinical data. These connected devices, sensors, EHR systems, and healthcare applications together made the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) possible. Internet of Medical Things has not only come as a contextualized domain-specific version of the Internet of Things (IoT) for the healthcare sector, and it is credible to offer a significant contribution in the field of healthcare.
Here we are going to explain various aspects of this buzzing IOT field and the promises it holds for the future of the healthcare sector and clinical practices.
What is the Internet of Medical Things Actually?
Internet of Medical Things which is also referred as the Healthcare IoT is a connected ecosystem of medical devices, equipment, sensors and software applications that are capable of communicating and medical information contextually as and when needed.
From the simple fitness bands to the plethora of medical apps developed for the smartwatches and other wearable devices, from the trackable connected medical equipments with RFID tags to the Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems of large medical facilities, from smart IOT instruments to track and monitor patients to all healthcare mobile applications helping caregivers and patients to obtain the fastest care, all come under this Healthcare IOT or Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
5 Key Types of the Internet of Medical Things
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices and applications are of different types and based on their context of uses, and they can be grossly categorized into five different types. Here we are going to explain them briefly.
Wearable Medical IOT: All the smart wearable devices that are used for healthcare purposes come under this category. They can be grossly characterized as health and fitness wearables and clinical grade wearables. Any smart health and fitness band should belong to the first category. On the other hand, any wearable device that is built to express clinical purposes for patients, and that is mostly prescribed by doctors should come under the second category.
Medical IOT at Home: This category is for all the medical systems used for remote patient monitoring and emergency medical responses. These two categories of home-based healthcare IoT devices are fast picking up to take care of old and diseased people at home. The virtual consultation with doctors through a healthcare IoT app also comes under this segment.
Community-Based Healthcare IOT: All the connected systems that by engaging a community work directly for the patients or help a healthcare system from the backend come under this segment. Smart healthcare inventory management systems that can track and monitor equipment and the supplies come under this segment. Connected healthcare kiosks for public healthcare services and all the connected Point-of-Care devices in medical facilities come under this segment as well.
Administrative Healthcare IOT: All the connected healthcare systems used by healthcare administrators in major medical facilities come under this segment. All the connected Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, asset management, patient flow management, staff monitoring and management, temperature and environment management systems of healthcare facilities come under this segment.
Key Strategies for the Internet of Medical Things
Now that healthcare IoT became invincible as a technological force to transform medical care and processes, we need to have a proper strategy in place to implement and take maximum advantages of the Internet of Medical Things. Healthcare data is most vulnerable to security threats of all types as stakes are very high and lucrative for medical insurance players, equipment manufacturers, healthcare service providers, and all kinds of commercial vendors. To ensure optimum data security and smooth operational process with this new breed of healthcare IoT devices, we must have a proper and well-articulated strategy in place. Let us explain here some key strategies for Internet of Medical Things implementation.
Ensuring Healthy Network: To ensure a strong network, you need to have proper prevention and detection measures for security threats. Some of the critical things to do include providing security patches from time to time, offering security updates for vulnerable systems and replacing outdated systems when required.
Provide Internal Segmentation Firewall (ISFW): Internal Segmentation Firewalls (ISFWs) play a vital role to reduce vulnerabilities in a broad and flat horizontal plane populated with a variety of networks. Internal Segmentation Firewalls (ISFWs) do this by operating inside the network that allows efficiently segmenting networks of various participants in a healthcare process, including patients, administrators, healthcare professionals, etc.
Dedicated Team to Look After:Lastly, the Internet of Medical Things implementation requires efforts from a dedicated team of experts who will detect, monitor, prevent, and nullify the threats to ensure optimum data security and smooth operation at every level.
Impact of IoMT on Healthcare Industry
The impact of this healthcare IoT or Internet of Medical Things on the healthcare industry is vast. Let us have a brief look at some of the ways this facet of IoT can impact healthcare.
- Data-Driven and Real-Time Care: By allowing access to patient data and all types of healthcare data in real time, more precise, error-free, and efficient medical care can be provided to patients who need it most.
- Lower Healthcare Cost: Thanks to remote healthcare consultation, diagnosis, and prescriptions made possible by healthcare IOT applications and gadgets, the cost of availing expert healthcare can be reduced to a great extent.
- Healthcare Analytics: By connecting multiple devices and networks that deal with real-time medical data, a great pool of most useful data can be created for healthcare analytics to garner the most relevant insights.
- Easier Chronic Disease Management: With the connected ecosystem of health devices, remote monitoring of patients, and taking care of their regular dietary habits, as well as drug intake, becomes much more comfortable.
- Taking Care of the Physically Challenged: Thanks to the remote monitoring and remote care made possible by the connected ecosystem of devices and applications, physically challenged people at home or clinics can be taken care of by the well-wishers and caregivers in a better manner.
Healthcare IOT or Internet of Medical Things will continue to transform medical treatment and patient care in numerous ways. In the meantime, a whole array of innovative medical gadgets and smart sensors are going to add more value for the patients and professionals.
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