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Diagnostic Directions - The Internet of medical things

December 29, 2015
From the December 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

By: Bipin Thomas

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is the network of wireless medical devices and applications that connect with health care systems through real-time computing power. It is a unifying platform that addresses the “Internet of Things” needs for the medical industry. Examples of IoMT include remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions; tracking patient medication orders and the location of patients admitted to hospitals; and patients’ wearable devices, which can send information to caregivers. Infusion pumps transmitting data in real time to clinicians’ dashboards and hospital beds rigged with sensors measuring patients’ vital signs are medical devices accelerating the deployment of IoMT technology.

By 2020, experts predict that more than 20 billion everyday objects will be able to capture, receive and share data via a vast, interconnected global network linked together by inexpensive sensors and cloud computing power. Health care laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that protects the privacy and security of patient data, and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 which supports the creation of national health care infrastructure, are among the strong factors in the growth and development of a secured infrastructure for IoMT.

The Need for an IoMT Platform
The health care industry is in need of an Internet of Things platform delivering consumer-centric care with an integrated set of health care services from the providers, payers, medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical/life sciences companies. All these entities in the health care value chain are shifting from a product-centric view to a consumer/patient view. The consumer is in the middle of it all, no longer the product. IoMT plays a pivotal role in bringing the care team together to improve patient engagement across the continuum of care.

The HITECH Act and new policies for the meaningful use of patient care data now allow for increased monitoring of the patient at home that is beyond an off-the-shelf wearable. Health care needs to go where the patient is. The hospital or exam room is no longer the boundary. It’s about creating the ecosystem around the patient. How do you bring technology capabilities to the patient to get the biometric data and functional status on a real-time basis when they are not in the hospital or at their care provider?

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