Improving Connected Healthcare with the Internet of Medical Things

3 min read

December 04, 2023

Quality medical care has always been built on strong personal connections, but recent developments in telehealth have added another meaning to connected healthcare.

Connected health is the delivery and management of healthcare services using remote technology. It utilizes the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) to give practitioners real-time insights into patient vitals, allowing them to monitor conditions and provide treatment without requiring physical visits.

Spurred by the advancement of medical technology and a growing need for services outside the traditional office setting, the connected healthcare market is expanding rapidly. The Australia-connected healthcare market is projected to grow from $796.32 Mn in 2022 to $6444.96 Mn by 2030.

Connected health reflects the global transition towards a value-based, patient-led medical practice model, improving the patient and provider experience through data and healthcare communications.

Introducing the Internet of Medical Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is all around us. It refers to any device capable of exchanging data online, usually via the cloud autonomously. IoMT consists of the devices and networks that enable telemedicine and remote care.

In connected healthcare, IoMT devices monitor and treat patients at home, extending doctors’ reach beyond the clinic or hospital. Some examples of IoMT devices are:

  • Personal emergency response systems
  • Wearable biosensors such as smartwatches
  • Smart medication dispensers
  • Remote insulin pumps
  • Blood pressure or heart rate monitors
  • At-home dialysis machines

These tools provide caregivers with a continuous stream of data, giving them a more comprehensive view of their patient’s conditions than intermittent clinical visits or temporary hospital stays.

Exploring the Possibilities of Remote Diagnostics

Remote diagnostics is a rapidly growing field that promises to change how we approach healthcare. Utilizing the latest breakthroughs in wearable technology, artificial intelligence, and telemedicine, healthcare professionals can now diagnose and monitor patients from a distance.

Wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers can provide real-time patient vital signs monitoring, while AI algorithms can analyze this data to flag potential health issues. Telemedicine allows doctors to interact with patients remotely, providing treatment and advice without physical examinations.

Experts predict within the next three years, more than one-quarter of the US population will regularly be using a device to collect data doctors can use to evaluate their health. With these technologies at our disposal, the possibilities for remote diagnostics offer the potential to revolutionize the way we deliver healthcare services.

The Benefits of Connected Healthcare

Connected healthcare offers numerous benefits for patients, physicians, and healthcare organizations. It’s revolutionizing how we approach healthcare delivery and improving the lives of many individuals.

Better access to care.

Telehealth is an equitable mode of care, as it removes barriers like cost and travel time for patients with limited mobility or who live in remote areas. Patients can interact with their doctors and receive clinical-grade treatment from the comfort of their own homes.

Increased efficiency.

IoMT devices autonomously monitor patient vitals or deliver treatment without direct provider intervention. Clinics can devote in-person resources to acute cases while chronic patients receive care at home.

Improved patient outcomes.

Patients often thrive better in familiar environments rather than hospital settings. Wearable devices, medication dispensers, and at-home diagnostic systems keep them engaged in their treatment while still being able to go about their routines. This leads to greater patient satisfaction and better recovery rates.

The Challenges of IoMT in Healthcare

Although larger institutions like the NHS and Medicare are leading the digital healthcare transformation, it still represents a significant investment of time and money for providers. Telehealth systems can also add another layer of complication to already-complex tech stacks.

Furthermore, caregivers and patients must understand how to use the new technology for treatments to be effective. This can be difficult for elderly or impaired patients who may not be familiar with their IoMT devices.

The security of IoMT devices, which transmit sensitive personal data through the cloud, is another primary concern. An assessment of over 200,000 insulin pumps found that 75% had security gaps that left them vulnerable to hackers.

Governments have begun implementing IoT regulations, but it doesn’t always extend to IoMT devices – although healthcare privacy laws like HIPAA must be complied with. Some countries, however, are starting to take extra measures when it comes to IoMT devices specifically.

In the UK, the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021, which builds on Medical Devices Regulations 2002, provides guidance on the safety, quality, and performance of IoMT solutions but is not specific to cybersecurity. In the US, a recent law authorized the FDA to require that medical devices meet specific cybersecurity guidelines, marking a significant change from the past.

Despite these challenges, healthcare providers recognize the importance of connected healthcare for the future of medicine, with 81% expecting to see more significant telehealth investments.

The IoMT will enable more accurate, personalized, and cost-effective treatments as healthcare continues to move to a value-based, patient-led model. Clinics that adopt these practices can offer higher-quality care to a broader population, leading to healthier communities.

Integrating Healthcare Communications with Mitel

While there are many advantages to real-time communications, one of the most cited solutions is instant notification in emergencies. Mitel is already helping innovative healthcare companies offer patients a more proactive care experience using connected devices, endpoints, and other sensors.

For instance, if a provider has a patient with a heart condition, they could receive a notification directly on their smartphone or desktop if the patient’s heart rate moved above or below an acceptable range – thanks to IoMT sensors and wearable devices. Similarly, a smart pill case could alert staff that a patient missed a dosage, even if they’re at home. Solutions like these can reduce the chances of an emergency and proactively support patient health.

Mitel’s connected health communications solutions integrate with IoMT ecosystems for seamless, efficient remote care. Connect with an expert to learn how to futureproof your practice with secure, scalable technology that doctors and patients can rely on in critical moments.

Ready to talk to sales? Contact us.