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Internet of Things in Medicine

Our lives are becoming more and more technologically advanced with the introduction of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). IoMT is helping seniors with their health care needs as well as reducing medical costs.

What is the IoMT?

The Internet of Medical Things refers to the collection of medical devices and applications that connect to, and communicate with, health care information technology systems via the internet. By allowing the transfer of medical data via secure networks between patients and their physicians, these devices can reduce unnecessary hospital and medical clinic visits.

These devices and applications range from wearable products for a patient’s daily use to large-scale systems used in hospitals and clinics.

Wearable Devices

Wearable IoMT devices fall into two broad categories:

  • Consumer-level wearables
  • Medical- and clinical-grade wearables

Consumer-level wearables include devices used for personal fitness and wellness. Examples include sports watches and wristbands that track the wearer’s activity or vitals. These devices are usually not regulated by health authorities or monitored by health professionals. They are simply for personal use.

Medical- and clinical-grade wearables include devices and supporting platforms usually certified or approved by one or more regulatory authorities, such as the US Food and Drug Administration. In most cases, a physician prescribes these devices, and patients use them with expert guidance. Examples of these types of devices include a smart belt that can detect if the wearer has fallen and a neuromodulation device that connects to sensory nerves to offer relief from chronic pain.

IoMT in the Home

The category of Internet of Medical Things for the home includes devices and services for remote patient monitoring (RPM), personal emergency response systems (PERS), and virtual telehealth visits.

Remote patient monitoring includes devices and sensors that can be used for a range of things, including:

  • Chronic disease management, which involves monitoring physiological parameters in an effort to slow disease progression
  • Continuous observation of discharged patients to aid in recovery time and prevent re-hospitalization
  • Medication management to remind patients of when to take their medications and how much to take

Personal emergency response systems connect wearable devices and relay units to medical service call centers to allow for a faster reaction in case of an emergency. These systems let homebound and limited-mobility seniors live more independently.

Telehealth virtual visits include video consultations and remote evaluations. These can be done through a device with a camera, microphone, and connection to the Internet, such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The advantage is patients can get help managing their conditions and can get prescriptions and care plans while in the comfort of their homes.

IoMT in Hospitals and Clinics

There are many ways IoMT technology can be used in a hospital or clinic setting. Some examples include:

  • Patient flow management systems can improve hospital operation, such as preventing bottlenecks by monitoring patients from arrival time to procedure to post-care, and their hospital rooms
  • Personnel management can measure staff efficiency and productivity
  • Environment and energy monitoring systems can monitor and adjust temperature, humidity, and electricity usage in various rooms and areas
  • Asset and inventory management systems track and manage things such as high-value equipment, hospital supplies, medications, and other consumables

As more hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers adopt more IoMT technologies, more of us will be able to take advantage of their benefits and conveniences.

Our law firm is dedicated to keeping you informed of issues that affect seniors who may be experiencing declining health. We help you and your loved ones prepare for potential long-term medical expenses and the need to transition to in-home care, assisted living care, or nursing home care.

If you have questions about long-term care, estate planning, or related areas of the law,  contact our Houston office today at (713) 582-5088 or schedule a consultation.

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