How the Internet of Medical Things is set to revolutionise healthcare

We take a look at the technologies behind the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), the ways IoMT looks set to improve the treatment of patients and the challenges still to overcome…

Like many other industries, healthcare is looking to revolutionise itself with the help of the Internet of Things (IoT). Connected devices can transform the sector in myriad ways, from speeding up diagnosis and improving doctor-patient communication through to saving costs and freeing healthcare professionals to focus on the most important aspects of patient care. As Alan Lowe, CEO of Visionable points out, it also enables improved access to healthcare.

"Right now, the greatest opportunities lie in connecting the dots that ensure consultation and care can travel to patients, no matter where they are."

According to Deloitte's report entitled Medtech and the Internet of Medical Things, medical technology (medtech) companies currently manufacturer over 500,000 different types of medical devices and new products continue to appear. Interesting examples include the BAM Labs Smart Bed that detects even the slightest movement of immobile, or bed-bound patients, the ingestible PillCam that provides real-time data and visual monitoring during a colon cancer screening, and even the Apple Watch's ability to monitor for symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.

A cost saving initiative

In 2017 the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) was valued at US$41.2bn by research firm MarketsandMarkets, which forecast it will rise to $158.1bn by 2022. Fellow analysts at Frost & Sullivan expect this figure to be even higher, estimating that by 2021 approximately 30 billion IoMT devices will be in use, worth more than $160bn.

This rise in the IoMT couldn't have come at a better time according to Deloitte. Its report notes that healthcare is becoming increasingly expensive, with spending expected to grow 4.2% a year - from $7.1tr in 2015 to $8.7tr by 2020, largely down to a growing and aging population in need of more care. IoMT has an important role in helping to reduce costs by allowing healthcare professionals to work ‘smarter'.

"IoMT can assist clinicians, augment their skills, but also take on some of the more [supervisory] tasks that currently tie up a lot of time ­- like monitoring vital signs, taking temperature or blood pressure. This frees up their time [to focus on other work]," points out Karen Taylor, director of Deloitte's Centre for Health Solutions.

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