Almost every aspect of people’s life could be set to change because to the Internet of Things (IoT). One sector where IoT technology has already been widely adopted is healthcare. Doctors and nurses are using connected medical devices to remotely monitor patients, retrieve health information, and conduct follow-ups online. IoT in health care has the potential to completely transform the sector over the next few years.
How Does the Health Care Industry Use Connected Devices?
Devices used both within and outside of healthcare facilities are included in the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). These devices typically offer some of the same advantages, such as faster patient care, decreased chance of error, and improved accessibility to essential data like patient vitals.
Smart Patient Monitoring Devices
The smart patient monitor is one common IoT application in healthcare. This gadget continuously gathers patient health information, such as measurements of blood oxygen levels, temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Doctors and nurses inside these institutions now have easier access to patient health data because to these gadgets. The medical staff can swiftly and securely check a patient’s vitals from any secure device or hospital workstation in the world. If a patient’s vitals are above safe limits, the smart patient monitor can also notify professionals.
Doctors can keep track of patients’ vitals without forcing them to stay in the facility thanks to smart medical wearables and remote patient monitoring. Additionally, those who have just received a hospital discharge may bring smart patient monitors with them, enabling them to transmit doctors critical health information without having to go back to the hospital for a follow-up. They can view this data as well and gain useful insight into their post-release health.
Using a telemedicine video call service, the patient and their doctor can communicate about any health information that is of concern online. If the monitor indicates the patient’s health is in danger, the doctor can also summon them back to the hospital right away.
There are numerous IoMT patient monitoring tools available, from heavy-duty wearables for tracking health to big machines built for hospital settings.
General-purpose smart patient monitors, motion sensors that track the evolution of Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and mood sensors that can assist clinicians manage a patient’s mental health are some examples of specific use-cases for IoMT monitoring technologies.
Smart Infusion Pumps and Medication Delivery Devices
Correctly dosing and delivering medicine is essential for patient treatment. However, medication errors remain a common challenge in many medical environments. These mistakes can cause serious injuries or adverse reactions that can lead to death.
The IoMT can help prevent medication errors by streamlining the dosing process and delivering IV medicine.
Smart infusion pumps are IV medication administration systems that employ cutting-edge technology, barcode readers, and drug information databases to minimise risk. An area of use, such as the adult ICU or NICU, will be designated by the healthcare professional, and the pump will then be configured automatically based on requirements. The doctor will then choose the medication they must deliver from an online drug database, decide on a concentration, and set the dose for the pump.
The drug library’s information will aid in preventing some of the most frequent prescription errors, such as incorrect dosage and dangerous medicine combinations.
Some pumps may require that the clinician scans the drug using a barcode on its packaging rather than choosing one from a list.
Many safety measures are included into most pump systems to assist lower the frequency of medication mistakes. To help guarantee the patient receives the proper dose, the pump, for instance, may contain the patient’s height and weight information.
Information on average drug concentrations and dosing units may also be included in the pump system. As a result, it can confirm with medical personnel that an unusual dosage is accurate, potentially reducing the chance of drug errors.
Smart Device Scanners
Manufacturers will often use laser marking to create a unique device identifier (UDI) codes on the surface of connected medical devices like orthopedic implants and medical instruments. They provide a wealth of information about the marked device — including the specific version or model number.
Under current regulations, the manufacturer must provide this code in plain language and a machine-readable format.
Smart medical scanners have the ability to rapidly read the second version of the UDI, get pertinent data from cloud-based systems, and update records. As a result, they are effective for conducting inventories, identifying the precise model or lot number of an instrument, and confirming the plain-language portion of UDIs.
These devices are connected to the internet, so they can also be used to update cloud-based records as they scan automatically. For example, hospitals that maintain an online database of critical medical instruments can use a smart scanner to update it with new products.
In practice, these scanners can also make it much easier for health care organizations to comply with traceability requirements. For example, clinicians can use information from the UDI to quickly verify the model number, expiration date, and recall status of a medical instrument or device before it is used.
Clinicians that locate faulty or expired equipment can quickly remove it, ensuring it won’t be used for a procedure.
Smart Pills, Capsules and Medications
Patients who routinely take their meds may benefit from new smart tablets and capsules. They are equipped with specialised sensors that react when they come into contact with the stomach acid of a patient. Once the pill has been ingested, they communicate with a wearable medical device, such as a patch on the person’s chest.
A log or report indicating the medication was successfully taken can be generated automatically by the wearable device that receives the signal.
The patient’s activity and rest periods can be tracked by the connected medical equipment in addition to other data.
Abilify Mycite, an antipsychotic drug intended to treat disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, was the first smart drug approved by the FDA. Patients with these illnesses may find it difficult to recall when they last took their medication, but skipping a dose can have unfavourable effects, such as nausea, dizziness, anxiety, and a return of the symptoms of the mental health condition that aripiprazole is intended to treat.
Patients can monitor their medication compliance and evaluate patterns in when they take their medications with the aid of the intelligent system.
Smart pills are not widely used yet, but they may soon help patients and health care providers improve medication adherence and track home-usage.
Future smart pills may also provide additional functionality. For example, those containing onboard sensors could help doctors track a patient’s core temperature, detect intestinal bleeding, or keep tabs on gut health. Many of these pills already exist in an experimental capacity and may become commercially viable by the end of the decade.
The Future of Connected Medical Devices and IoT in Health Care
Connected medical devices can make providing effective health treatment much easier. The right one can streamline care, reduce error risk, and simplify record-keeping.
IoT in health care is growing fast over the next few years. According to Fortune Business Insights, the market may be worth as much as $187.6 billion by 2028, up from just $41 billion in 2020. As a result, new applications of smart medical technology may become widely available.
For example, adopting networked robots like those utilised in Italian hospitals in the early stages of the COVID-19 epidemic may grow to be common practise for healthcare facilities.
In the coming years, IoMT devices that are already in use, such as smart monitors and smart medications, will probably become much more widespread as the market grows and healthcare facilities try to incorporate tools that make their everyday work easier.