According to Oxford and Google experts, Exposure Notification Systems (ENS) itself may reduce COVID-19 deaths by 11%. How powerful can technology be as a weapon against the pandemic?
Network of the future
Internet of Medical Things is not just an object or software. It is a whole network of medical devices connected via the Internet. Pretty straightforward, right? Actually, it sounds so plain one might ask: Ok, but what is so innovative about connected healthcare devices?
Although it does not sound impressive in the first place, IoMT can take the burden off the healthcare system by enabling – among many others – constant transfer of medical data and easy online doctor consultations. It sounds much better, right? And we are still just scratching the surface.
After over a year of fighting the virus, the word COVID became synonymous with terms like pandemic, lockdown, and restrictions. On the one hand, coping with this situation is not easy. On the other hand, it has its bright side. New technologies found themselves at home in a busy healthcare system, launching it a few years into the future.
One of such technologies is blockchain, which allowed a secure transfer of patients’ medical data. All thanks to the system’s transparency and smart contracts that eliminated the need for human assistance in sending data.
Another example is telemedicine, which skyrocketed in 2020, and now people use it 38 times more often than before COVID-19. Online visits cover the needs of both physical and mental health. It is faster and more favorable. It transformed a medical consultation from troublesome stays in the doctor’s surgery to convenient online visits from the patient’s homes.
And what about doctors themselves? As the need for trained specialists’ help rises, virtual reality (VR) helps training new staff. Realistic simulations allow them to practice even without being at a hospital. It is helpful to experienced surgeons as well. VR practice can reduce fading of certain skills and ease supervising students.
Various shades of IoMT
Although the internet healthcare may sound like the future, it is already here, and it benefits from the Internet of Medical Things technologies more than ever. Let us take a look at some of IoMT’s solutions which make the fight with pandemic more even.
With the appearance of the virus, hand sanitisation became a thing. Unfortunately, it was nearly impossible to control people keeping their hands clean. With the IoMT on board, AeroScout Hand Hygiene Compliance Monitoring could be created. The system keeps track of hand sanitisers usage, storing and analysing data along with creating special reports so that we can be sure everybody keeps mutual safety in mind.
When hospitals have so much to do in such a short period of time, the IoMT takes care of inventory management. Due to notable supply chain visibility it provides, we can access information on every step of ordering, delivery, and storage to further optimise this process.
Speaking of transportation, IoMT devices help with pharmaceutical shipments also by other means. Special sensors responsible for measuring the temperature and humidity adjust them to create a perfect environment for medicine delivery. IoMT also helps to improve cold chain management by storing essential data, so when the situation gets heated, we can act as fast as possible.
IoMT for personal usage
Finally, the IoMT offers a wide range of on-body devices that can measure the parameters of your body and – if needed – warn you or alarm your doctor. It helps to not only prevent COVID infections but is a perfect solution to help fighting civilisation diseases.
To learn more about IoMT solutions, check our essay about 28 Internet of Medical Things innovations.
Trends and challenges
Now that we understand the phenomenon of the Internet of Medical Things, let us dive into its possibilities and challenges.
Among many IoMT trends, those patient-focused may appear the most significant for our everyday life. Some of those are:
- Remote diagnostics enabled by on-body devices.
- Medicine prescriptions and adjustments based on real-time patient’s data.
- Patient-to-patient mental health and stress management apps.
- Kiosks - spots that can dispense products and connect us with care providers.
- Mobility services that allow monitoring passenger’s health during transit.
Let us not forget that every novelty, besides possibilities, creates room for difficulties. Here are some challenges that come with the IoMT technology:
- As patient’s data is stored online, data privacy becomes one of the main concerns.
- Internet access exposes IoMT devices to cyberattacks.
- Being electrical-dependent IoMT technologies contribute to increasing CO2 footprint.
- IoMT technologies are internet-oriented hence inaccessible for some people.
- Converting patients’ data to online networks can cause an overload of databases.
Throughout last year we could observe a huge technology leap in the healthcare industry The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), being the network of internet-connected devices, opened a way for new, technology-based solutions in the healthcare system.
Ideas like hygiene monitoring, automated supply processes, or on-body devices dropped from the future right into the present day. On the one hand, they bring revolutionary trends. On the other - modern challenges require modern healthcare software and knowledge.
Stay up to date and explore IoMT in practice. Read about Exo Imaging and see how the Internet of Medical Things supports young cardiologists.