Ashwini Prakash, managing partner, Asia Pacific Lead – Pharma, Life Sciences, & Healthcare and Consumer Products, Stanton Chase India reviews how IoMT is redefining the way hospitals work
India is a growing economy and healthcare is now one of the largest sectors in India both in terms of revenue and employment. The sector is fuelled from increased investment by private players and the growing popularity of medical tourism. The government is looking for the best way to foster the industry and deliver quality medical treatment to the influx of foreign patients travelling to India for low-cost treatments, and the most promising technological advantage is the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which has become a game changer in the healthcare sector.
IoMT brought the most remarkable impact on humankind by connecting the healthcare ecosystem and its stakeholders in real time, delivering better services. The Indian healthcare sector leapfrogged and adopted the technology, helping in transforming drastically in a very short span of time.
IoMT offers the connection of smart medical devices and software applications to improve the services offered by hospitals, medical equipment, outsourced expertise, telemedicine, medical tourism, and health insurance. IoMT holds the capacity to reduce healthcare costs and improves better patient outcomes effectively and efficiently.
As per a report by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, there were 749.07 million active internet subscribers in 2020. With Next Billion Users (NBU) – a classification given to the segment of users getting online for the first time across the world, human and devices will be better connected in coming years. The growing number of internet users will work as a catalyst to stimulate the usage of connected medical devices in remote areas as well delivering the best patient service to all categories of population.
The latest technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and 3-D printing, to name but a few, has unquestionably disrupted the healthcare sector worldwide. In almost every instance, however, this disruption is positive – resulting in both better healthcare for patients and improved operations for businesses in the medical sector. IoMT enables smart medical devices for quality patient treatment, and pharmacovigilance — the practice of studying, managing, and helping prevent adverse effects from drugs — is being heavily impacted by technological developments.
Artificial intelligence can help life science organisations filter through vast reams of this data to discover how patients are impacted by the pharmaceuticals they are using. Along with 3-D printing, which can be used to customise everything from drugs to prosthetics, this is changing the way new drugs are developed. Data can now be collected in more sophisticated ways than ever before, such as using mobile sensors to collect patients’ biometric data.
IoMT is redefining the way hospitals work and helping healthcare services to move from hospitals to home. The ongoing pandemic accelerated the need for remote patient monitoring and usage of IoMT in ambulatory and home care, leading to a boom in teleconsultations and monitoring, which reduced the number of in-hospital visits consequently reducing contamination.
Teleconsultation and remote patient monitoring proved to be instrumental during the pandemic in containing infection and opened new avenues for healthcare service providers. Remote patient monitoring and home monitoring may increase especially for chronic disease management. This may lead to an increase demand of personal IOT devices for tracking vital signs and enabling remote care, chatbots/machine learning tools for initial diagnoses based on symptoms of patients – shaping the future of the medical devices sector.
The benefits of bringing technology in healthcare are innumerable and enabled remote patient monitoring, equipment, and inventory management, tracking patients’ conditions, etc. Since the government pushed for electronic health record (EHR) adoption, more and more patients have their files in electronic form. This not only makes it easier to share records for individual patient care, but the wealth of information available is also opening up possibilities that only come with big data.
Artificial intelligence is gleaning insights from conglomerate EHR data at a rapid pace, and the potential of this information is only growing as more patients get electronic files. These insights may prove useful to researchers and clinicians alike as they try to better understand and treat conditions.
Adding to the existing potential of the sector, 5G is the next big thing technologists are eyeing on. All of these advancements and the changes they bring rely on one essential upgrade: 5G wireless connectivity. 5G is the next generation of wireless, and it’s particularly well-suited to inter-device communication. 5G definitely seems to be the next big disruption in healthcare with faster Internet speeds, lower latency, virtual networks, and a greater number of connected devices. It helps accelerate remote patient monitoring and increase access to healthcare without the current perils of travel, expenses, and time.
The information generated using IoMT is intelligent and measurable to help improve the speed and accuracy of diagnostics and target treatments more efficiently and effectively. IoMT enables remote clinical monitoring, preventive care, and chronic disease and medication management, and it supports people who require assistance with daily living – such as the elderly and those with disabilities – to live more independent lives.