Internet of Medical Things Revolutionizing Healthcare

Approximately 60% of global health care organizations have already implemented Internet of Things technologies, and an additional 27% are expected to do so by 2019. Read about products currently on the market and what Frost & Sullivan is anticipating in the next few years.

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is an amalgamation of medical devices and applications that can connect to health care information technology systems using networking technologies. It can reduce unnecessary hospital visits and the burden on health care systems by connecting patients to their physicians and allowing the transfer of medical data over a secure network. According to Frost & Sullivan analysis, the global IoMT market was worth $22.5 billion in 2016; it is expected to reach $72.02 billion by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate of 26.2%.

The IoMT market consists of smart devices, such as wearables and medical/vital monitors, strictly for health care use on the body, in the home, or in community, clinic or hospital settings; and associated real-time location, telehealth and other services.

On-Body Segment 

The on-body segment can be broadly divided into consumer health wearables and medical and clinical-grade wearables. 

Consumer health wearables include consumer-grade devices for personal wellness or fitness, such as activity trackers, bands, wristbands, sports watches, and smart garments. Most of these devices are not regulated by health authorities but may be endorsed by experts for specific health applications based on informal clinical validation and consumer studies. Companies operating in this space include Misfit (Fossil group), Fitbit, Withings and Samsung Medical. 

Clinical-grade wearables include regulated devices and supporting platforms that are generally certified/approved for use by one or more regulatory or health authorities, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Most of these devices are used in conjunction with expert advice or a physician’s prescription. Examples include a smart belt from Active Protective that detects falls and deploys hip protection for elderly wearers; Halo Neuroscience’s Halo Sport headset, which is worn during workouts and physical training to stimulate brain areas responsible for muscle memory, strength and endurance; and Neurometrix’s Quell, which is a wearable neuromodulation device that taps into sensory nerves to provide relief from chronic pain.

In-Home Segment

The in-home segment includes personal emergency response systems (PERS), remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telehealth virtual visits. 

A PERS integrates wearable device/relay units and a live medical call center service to increase self-reliance for homebound or limited-mobility seniors. The package allows users to quickly communicate and receive emergency medical care. 

RPM comprises all home monitoring devices and sensors used for chronic disease management, which involves continuous monitoring of physiological parameters to support long-term care in a patient’s home in an effort to slow disease progression; acute home monitoring, for continuous observation of discharged patients to accelerate recovery time and prevent re-hospitalization;  and medication management, to provide users with medication reminders and dosing information to improve adherence and outcomes.

Telehealth virtual visits include virtual consultations that help patients manage their conditions and obtain prescriptions or recommended care plans. Examples include video consultations and evaluation of symptoms or lesions through video observation and digital tests.

Community Segment

There are five components of this segment:

Mobility services allow passenger vehicles to track health parameters during transit.

Emergency response intelligence is designed to assist first responders, paramedics and hospital emergency department care providers.

Kiosks are physical structures, often with computer touchscreen displays, that can dispense products or provide services such as connectivity to care providers.

Point-of-care devices are medical devices used by a provider outside of the home or traditional health care settings, such as at a medical camp. 

Logistics involves the transport and delivery of health care goods and services including pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical supplies, medical devices and equipment and other products needed by care providers. IoMT examples include sensors in pharmaceutical shipments that measure temperature, shock, humidity, and tilt; end-to-end visibility solutions that track personalized medicine for a specific cancer patient) using radio-frequency identification (RFID) and barcodes; and drones that offer faster last-mile delivery.

In-Clinic Segment

This segment includes IoMT devices that are used for administrative or clinical functions (either in the clinic, in the telehealth model, or at the point of care). Point-of-care devices here differ from those in the community segment in one key aspect: instead of the care provider physically using a device, the provider can be located remotely while a device is used by qualified staff. Examples include Rijuven’s Clinic in a Bag, which is a cloud-based examination platform for clinicians to assess patients at any point of care; ThinkLabs’ digital stethoscope; and Tytocare’s comprehensive telehealth patient examination device for the heart, lungs, ears, skin, throat and abdomen, which also can measure temperature.

In-Hospital Segment 

This segment is divided into IoMT-enabled devices and a larger group of solutions in several management areas: 

Asset management monitors and tracks high-value capital equipment and mobile assets, such as such as infusion pumps and wheelchairs, throughout the facility. 

Personnel management measures staff efficiency and productivity. 

Patient flow management improves facility operations by preventing bottlenecks and enhancing patient experience—for example, monitoring of patient arrival times from an operating room to post-care to a ward room. 

Inventory management streamlines ordering, storage and use of hospital supplies, consumables, and pharmaceuticals and medical devices to reduce inventory costs and improve staff efficiency. 

Environment (e.g., temperature and humidity) and energy monitoring oversees electricity use and ensures optimal conditions in patient areas and storage rooms. 

Innovative devices include Zoll’s wearable defibrillator, which continuously monitors patients at risk of ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation; Stanley Healthcare’s hand hygiene compliance system, which incorporates an occupancy sensor and a real-time location system receiver to track the identity of employees using the dispenser and uses analytics to determine whether employees are following hygiene protocol; and Boston Children’s Hospital’s GPS-based MyWay app, which guides visitors to their destination using the quickest route.

What’s the Future?

Approximately 60% of global health care organizations have already implemented Internet of Things technologies, and an additional 27% are expected to do so by 2019. Traditional health care is witnessing a paradigm shift as digital transformation puts technologically advanced and connected products in the hands of consumers and gives patients and physicians even in the poorest and most remote locations better access to health care facilities. 

Copyright © 2017 Frost & Sullivan