The Internet of Medical Things: The Future in Healthcare | futureTEKnow by Raffaella Aghemo
As the diffusion of connected devices proceeds, with the decentralization of the network, with the use of new predictive technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, the need and usefulness of using the Internet of things is becoming increasingly urgent. IoT, the Internet of Things, becomes a fundamental paradigm and an indispensable corollary to effectively connect all the technologies of industry 4.0.
The healthcare sector is also discovering the benefits of the Internet of Things, which would allow the “centrality” of the client and constant and precise “monitoring”. For this and other reasons, the phenomenon of IoMT, Internet of Medical Things, which refers to all those devices, perhaps connected, for example, to hospital beds, that allow the collection of data of the individual patient and his “connection” with the health system, is developing recently, also following the global pandemic crisis.
Up to now, some monitoring of the patient’s state of health, although cyclical, has been carried out following a specialist visit to the appropriate facilities or following periodic checks at the GP: the new technology has modified the doctor-patient, male-care approach, with a certainly more proactive vision, i.e. through a constant control of values, which makes it possible to verify any anomalies, and to have perfect knowledge of the individual’s general state of health. The use of wearable devices, for example, already creates this direct connection, which is also useful for planning the right and appropriate therapies.
We are, in fact, moving from reactive medicine to proactive medicine.
Medical devices of this type can be classified into four macro-categories: ON-BODY
Under this suffix, the devices that can be worn on the body are grouped, which is why the name, in turn, can be distinguished in consumer and clinical use. The former are, for example, smartwatches or pedometers, which due to their shape, not being real medical instruments, do not require informal clinical studies to prove their effectiveness.
Different is the protocol for the latter, which instead must be previously authorised and certified by the Health System, after ad hoc checks and controls, and which are reimbursable, and prescribed by the doctor (such as devices to soothe chronic pain).
Although this is not yet the case, the former may be heading towards a path similar to the latter, integrating, for example, devices such as the pulse oximeter or the sleep control sensor in smartwatches. The amount of data collected by these devices (Real World Data) makes it possible to collect further evidence during the testing of a new drug, supporting the development of personalised therapies.
Under this category we mean all those devices that, at home, allow the clinical control of the patient, making remote visits, television and emergency contacts, especially for the defence and use and consumption of the most at risk categories, such as the elderly. To be precise, this includes personal emergency response systems (PERS), remote patient monitoring (RPM) and virtual telemedicine visits.
In these cases, the greatest use is made in cases of chronic illnesses, through monitoring glucose, heart rate and blood pressure, or simply to remember when to take a prescribed medication. The application is also useful in cases of chronicity such that the patient’s restitutio ad integrum is not possible, but simply maintains the patient’s current state and slows down the worsening course.
COMMUNITY AND IN-CLINIC
If, on the other hand, treatment takes place in hospital and residential facilities, for example through roadside check-ups following specific campaigns, the devices are used to collect data to improve health protection tools.
Five components are included under the first definition:
- Mobility services for monitoring the state in transit
- Kiosks with touch screen display with competent remote staff
- Point-of-care devices used by suppliers on medical campuses for example
- Emergency intelligence for first and immediate emergency calls
- Logistics for transporting medicines
The second definition includes devices that are used for administrative or cynical functions outside of real hospitals, such as the ThinkLabs Digital Stethoscope.
This refers to all those devices that collect data not only on patient care, but also on the workflow within hospitals, medical and nursing staff, drug and inventory management, and mechanical assistance devices such as wheelchairs.
Originally published at https://futureteknow.com on November 24, 2020.