How the Internet of Medical Things is transforming healthcare

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a subset of IoT that networks devices and applications used in medicine and healthcare. Even before the pandemic, market observers projected IoMT to grow steeply from $61 trillion in 2019 to $261 trillion by 2027 (Reports & Data Study). No one could have predicted how much Covid-19 would actually accelerate the technological breakthrough of IoMT. Here’s an overview of innovative applications already possible today thanks to IoMT.

IoT Healthcare

Cleaner air: CO2 room sensors

The most obvious IoT application in Corona times must be indoor CO2 sensors. They record the indoor climate at regular intervals to determine the risk of infection for those present. If a predefined limit is exceeded, an alarm is triggered, either acoustically or visually, directly on the sensor device. Employees responsible, for example in facility management, are informed immediately and conveniently via an app. All measured values are managed centrally in the cloud and used for legal documentation and evaluations.

Relieving the burden on nursing staff: Out-of-Bed-System

Due to increasing life expectancy in Germany, the number of people in need of care has been growing rapidly in recent years – as has the need for personnel in nursing homes and hospitals. Since the pandemic, care managers have been complaining bitterly about the state of emergency and overworked employees. To ease the burden on caregivers, Stiegelmeyer, a leading global manufacturer of hospital and nursing home beds, has developed a digital Out-of-Bed-System based on narrowband IoT technology, benefiting both patients and caregivers. Thanks to a sensor system integrated in the bed, the responsible nursing staff will be alerted if a patient leaves the bed and does not return within an individually defined time. This way, nurses can get there faster to help patients who may have fallen, while at the same time not having to rely on checking all rooms all the time.

The narrowband IoT solution powered by grandcentrix & Device Insight turns STIEGELMEYER's hospital and care beds into smart products that improve everyday life for nursing staff and patients.

Health on the go: Wearables

Smartwatches are probably the best-known category of wearables in everyday life. In healthcare, the functions of wearable technology go beyond viewing messages on a smartphone and tracking activity. In remote patient monitoring, wearables can automatically measure health values such as heart rate, blood pressure or temperature and display them transparently in a dashboard for the patient or doctor. Patients are no longer forced to visit a doctor’s office for routine examinations and yet do not have to forgo personalized care. In addition, algorithms are used to analyze the data and detect disease patterns at an early stage.

At the same time, wearables are giving patients back their quality of life. The best-known example at present is probably blood glucose sensors for diabetics. Patients can view their blood glucose levels on their smartphone via the sensor attached to their body, without having to prick their fingers, and are alerted to dangerous levels. Patients suffering from asthma are supported by smart inhalers that collect data on frequency of use and send a notification if the inhaler is ever forgotten or not nearby.

Home office for doctors: Telemedicine

In addition to the lack of nursing and hospital staff, there is also a chronic shortage of doctors in rural regions across Germany and beyond. Here, telemedicine offers the opportunity to ensure good healthcare when actual access to specialists and physicians can no longer be guaranteed. Beyond pure diagnostics, the 5G mobile communications standard even nurtures the hope of enabling remote-controlled operations. Since 2019, remote surgical procedures have already been taking place around the world, with China leading the way. For example, last year a team of doctors from Beijing performed eye surgeries on three patients from 3,000 km away.

The extent to which medicine is benefiting from new technologies is demonstrated not only by these IoMT examples already in use today. The development of innovations and breakthrough medical procedures is in full swing: Organs from a 3D printer, smart prosthetics or AI-based diagnostics are no longer science fiction fantasies – they will revolutionize modern medicine in the near future.

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