Just as the internet of things (IoT) enables objects from appliances to vehicles to communicate with each other, the internet of medical things (IoMT) connects medical devices to each other. The real-time data generated by medical devices help improve patient health outcomes.
Doctors and other health practitioners prescribe IoMT devices to patients. These devices continuously transmit data about the wearer to a secure database.
Also included in the internet of medical things, however, are wearable technology like smartwatches that track physical activity level or apps that track nutrition and calories eaten. Essentially, any technology that collects health-related data may count as part of IoMT.
IoMT data consists of activity and biometrics—and any kind that medical personnel find useful. That includes anything from the average number of steps a patient takes per day to the brain waves they emit during deep sleep. Even data from within the patient’s body, such as the presence or effect of medicine in the digestive system.
Naturally, medical personnel and their patients use this data to improve the quality of healthcare. Devices that automatically relay information about patient vitals allow for faster identification of problems and faster treatment. Devices that can be taken outside of the hospital or clinic also create better health outcomes, as well. For example, devices that measure sleep quality, work better when a patient can sleep comfortably. Doctors can also carry devices into remote rural areas to provide care for patients without access to consistent medical care.
Additionally, health services and municipal planners can connect medical devices to emergency response teams, to best serve vulnerable populations.
Since IoMT relies on device capabilities, one of the most important measures of IoMT data quality is the state of the devices themselves and their connections to the IoMT healthcare network. Therefore, to ensure the data quality, begin by ensuring the quality of the devices and the wireless network they use.
The second quality test of IoMT data is security and privacy. More than a legal requirement, ensuring vital patient data, including medical history, is a struggle against both benign system failure and malicious action, the consequences of which could prove fatal.
The European Commission has launched an €8 million project that aims to use the Internet of Things (IoT) to increase and enhance the remote care provided by hospitals. At a time when the coronavirus pandemic is stretching health systems to their limits, the project is one of several actions the EC is funding with the aim of developing “Next-Generation Internet of Things” tech that could help hospitals and other organisations operate more efficiently.
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