It appears as though a new industrial revolution may soon be upon us, and the Internet of Things sits exactly at the centre of it. Whilst it may be taking a little longer than expected for this concept to extend to its further reaches, it is certainly on the rise, and taking hold in healthcare.
There is no single technological invention that the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution can be pinned on, and that is kind of the point. IoT focuses on developing a network of interconnected devices that use internet and cloud based services to create collaborative, mobile and intelligent information systems.
Robots, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence: these are all current examples of IoT inventions, and they have been around for a while. Now, medical devices are entering into the realm and being implemented around the globe. From access to online medical portals to cloud based data storage, let us take a look at how medical devices and the Internet of Things are coming together.
Medical engineers have access to wireless sensor technology, remote and continuous monitoring, microscale motor tools, mobile connectivity and more thanks to the IoT world. The assimilation of these two worlds is referred to as the Internet of Things for Medical Devices (IoT-MD). Information will flow quickly and be easily accessible to patients and healthcare providers with IoT-MD, reducing clinical error and treatment costs in the process.
The IoT-MD market is projected to grow from $41 billion in 2017 to around $158 billion by 2022! This growth will be largely attributable to the evolution of artificial intelligence and increased investment in (and implementation of) IoT technologies in medicine. Penetration of IoT medical devices is also expected to rise.
Wearable Connected Devices
Speaking of which, a major contributor to the IoT-MD phenomenon, and perhaps a precursor of the revolution, is the advent and popularity of wearable devices and home health monitoring devices. Wearable devices are extremely popular in the tech world, and are gaining major traction for medical purposes, as people with chronic illnesses can derive great value from them. With the push of a button devices can send out alerts for emergency services, as and when a vulnerable or ill person requires. Often, the device can put you in contact with a professional for advice, as well.
The majority of wearables come in the form of fitness bands, often imbued with mobile phone technology and connectivity to boost their popularity. They also fall under the IoT-MD umbrella, connecting a person and their healthcare data, wirelessly, to their other devices.
Cloud Based Medical Devices
Cloud based platforms are another huge driver of the Internet of Things. Cloud platforms allow for the wireless transfer, storage and display of clinical data, such that interoperability with other medical devices, and even organisations, is not only possible, but easy. Such platforms generate huge amounts of clinical data which are vital resources for the healthcare industry.
The most important consideration with cloud based medical data storage is security and privacy. Much care is taken to protect the consumer in these cases, making sure that such important data is kept private and in the right hands.
Advanced Analytical Capabilities
The Internet of Things, perhaps unexpectedly, enhances the analytical abilities of healthcare professionals as well. With near unlimited cloud storage available, and an increasingly connected world, data sources can be merged and thoroughly analysed to improve everything from diagnoses to decision making to trend analysis to medical research.
All in all, the IoT-MD will undoubtedly change how we view healthcare, and how it is carried out in the future. We hope that personalized, well-informed healthcare solutions will support a higher standard of living and easier access to quality healthcare, globally.
Contact us to learn more about our current medical devices and healthcare solutions that could be the next piece in your puzzle, taking your organization to the next level of patient care.