Sunday, May 19, 2024

Doctor’s Day Special: Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Revolutionizing the Future of Health Care 

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is an innovative and transformative technology which has taken the healthcare industry by storm. By integrating connected medical devices, sensors, and systems, IoMT holds tremendous potential to enhance patient care, improve diagnostics, streamline operations, and drive cost efficiencies.

At its core, IoMT relies on secure communication protocols to connect various medical devices and equipment, enabling seamless data collection and real-time health monitoring. This interconnected network empowers healthcare professionals with access to accurate and timely information, enabling them to make more precise diagnoses, tailor treatments, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

The global Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) market is estimated to reach over USD 357.35 billion by 2031, exhibiting a CAGR of 23.57% during the forecast period. This demonstrates the increasing recognition and adoption of IoMT solutions across the healthcare landscape.

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So let’s see how this is revolutionizing the healthcare systems in India and abroad. And what medical experts have to say about its reach in the coming decade. 

The IoMT: Uniting Patients and Physicians

The IoMT encompasses an interconnected network of medical devices, sensors, and wearables that work together to improve patient care. Through seamless integration with healthcare systems, the IoMT facilitates real-time data exchange between patients and physicians. This enables healthcare providers to gain valuable insights into patients’ health conditions, make timely interventions, and deliver personalized care that is tailored to individual needs.

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Transforming Diagnostics and Advancing Preventive Care 

One of the most significant impacts of the IoMT is in the realm of diagnostics and preventive care. Connected devices continuously monitor vital signs and collect health data, allowing for early detection of potential health issues. For example, wearable ECG monitors can detect abnormal heart rhythms, providing early warnings for cardiac conditions. This proactive approach to healthcare empowers both patients and healthcare professionals to intervene early, potentially preventing serious complications and improving patient outcomes.

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Dr. Sakshi Sharma, a senior pathologist, at a government facility from New Delhi, underscores the transformative potential of the IoMT, stating, “The IoMT has the capability to revolutionize how we diagnose and treat medical conditions. Connected devices and real-time data exchange enable seamless transmission of patient samples, enhancing diagnostic accuracy and speeding up results. This transformation ensures faster and more accurate diagnosis; we are thereby able to proactively identify risks, intervene early, and significantly enhance patient experiences.”

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Tech Applications and Remote Healthcare

Remote patient monitoring allows healthcare providers to remotely track patients’ health conditions and offer virtual consultations. This capability is particularly beneficial for underserved areas where access to specialized care is limited. Additionally, the integration of surgical robots and AI-assisted procedures enhances precision, minimizes invasiveness, and revolutionizes surgical interventions.

Empowering Patients for Active Engagement and Self-Care 

The IoMT empowers patients to become active participants in their healthcare journey. By providing access to real-time health data and personalized insights, individuals are empowered to make informed decisions about their lifestyle, track chronic conditions, and strive towards achieving their health goals. Let’s understand how….

This emerging engagement within healthcare cultivates a culture of self-care, enabling patients to take charge of their health and holistic well-being, because the active involvement translates to improved outcomes, as patients develop a heightened sense of ownership in managing their health. By embracing this newfound autonomy and leveraging the available resources, individuals can make informed decisions, establish healthier lifestyles, and ultimately enhance their overall quality of life.

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Dr Amit Aggrawal, Senior Orthopaedic Surgeon from Delhi NCR and a much-acclaimed surgeon of North India, writes to me, “Let me explain the importance of IoMT in relation to what we do in orthopaedic healthcare, to help you understand better. Connected devices and sensors enable real-time monitoring of patient’s musculoskeletal health, allowing for early detection of issues, continuous tracking of progress, and more informed decision-making in treatment plans. IoMT helps surgeons make more accurate diagnoses, tailor treatment approaches, and predict potential complications or outcomes. But of India has better and more wearable devices and telecommunication technologies, orthopaedic surgeons can remotely monitor patients’ progress, provide virtual consultations, and offer rehabilitation guidance, enabling more accessible and convenient care, particularly for patients in remote areas or with limited mobility. This would a great revolutionary aspect then. By leveraging data analytics and machine learning algorithms, IoMT can identify patterns and risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders, such as osteoporosis or repetitive strain injuries. This will allow us for early intervention and targeted preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of injuries or complications.”

The Challenges

Here Hemani Patel Swamy, a health tech expert from Chennai emphasizes certain challenges that the IoMT field is facing. She states, “The hospital and medical industries face numerous challenges, particularly in the need for enhanced infrastructure and qualified professionals. These challenges hinder the market’s growth and expansion. At times hospitals overlook the importance of endpoint system security, potentially exposing the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) sector to malicious cyberattacks and unauthorized access. We have seen the case happen with AIIMS Delhi happen for the second time in 2023 this year. Additionally, limited public awareness acts as a barrier, hindering the growth of the market. These challenges call for concerted efforts to address infrastructure gaps, enhance cybersecurity measures, and raise awareness among the public about the benefits and potential risks associated with the IoMT.” 

Nevertheless, health experts across the world are of strong belief that the potential of the IoMT extends far beyond individual health monitoring. It paves the way for remote healthcare solutions that transcend geographical boundaries. 

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IoMT: The Future Potential 

As we look to the future of healthcare, the potential of the IoMT is immense, with advancements in telemedicine, AI, and robotics already working with doctors even during critical surgeries like plastic surgery. Furthermore, the integration of blockchain technology shows promise in improving data security and protecting patient privacy within medical records systems. 

As Dr Amit Aggrawal sums it up well, “In surgical settings, IoMT brings forth advancements such as robotic-assisted surgery and augmented reality. Surgeons can utilize robotic systems equipped with precise sensors and actuators, enhancing surgical accuracy, reducing invasiveness, and improving patient outcomes. Augmented reality technologies enable surgeons to visualize complex anatomical structures in real time during procedures, guiding their actions with greater precision. This data-driven approach fosters collaboration among healthcare professionals, researchers, and technology experts, leading to continuous advancements in orthopaedic care.”

With the IoMT as our guiding light, we step into an era of patient empowerment, precision medicine, and a truly interconnected healthcare ecosystem that prioritizes individual well-being. With consistent advancements happening across the globe, we expect India also to be ahead of time in a shorter span than usual.  

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Mahima Sharma
Mahima Sharma
Mahima Sharma is an Independent Senior Journalist based in Delhi NCR known for her multi-niche news reach. She has been in the field of TV, Print & Online Journalism since 2005 (earlier additional three years in the allied media). With a rich professional history at CNN-News18, ANI - Asian News International (in collaboration with Reuters), Voice of India, and Hindustan Times, Mahima is also the Founder & Editor of The Think Pot. Recipient of various awards for different works beyond journalism as well, Mahima Sharma was conferred with the REX Karmaveer Chakra (Silver) 2023, presented by iCONGO in partnership with the United Nations. Known for her Digital Media Strategy skills, in 2022 she was assigned the pivotal role of Entrepreneurship Education Mentor at Women Will, a Google-backed program in collaboration with SHEROES.

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