Several companies have begun to implement IoT technologies and weave connectivity into medical devices which has been assisting both physicians and patients for a while.MarketsandMarkets has predicted that the medical device connectivity market is projected to reach USD 4.9 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 24.4%. According to its applications, connected medical devices are categorized as Consultation and Diagnosis Solutions, Patient Health Monitoring, Fitness, Treatment, and Wellness Solutions.
Advantages of connected healthcare solutions
Connected devices offer numerous advantages to both healthcare providers and patients in the healthcare sector.
Healthcare providers can take advantage of accurate and consistent data to offer customized and improved care to patients. Physicians can easily understand patient behaviors, monitor the efficacy of several drugs, and make necessary modifications. For instance, a physician might prescribe a certain drug that has been embedded with a sensor in a container, to record the number of times and period the bottle is opened. This will enable the healthcare provider to gain insight into the level of compliance and how the drug is being accessed by the patient.
Improved drug safety
IoT technologies and connected devices have helped providers to anticipate a malfunction or a serious event before they occur. These devices can be effectively observed by technical teams and producers. Early warning notifications can be released whenever something goes wrong, permitting the resolution of any possible problem before it causes the breakdown of critical systems and large-scale breakdown.
Examples of Connected Medical Devices
Let’s consider Patient Health Monitoring Systems.
Real-time Patient Monitoring
Connected medical devices can instantaneously track the behavior of patients and directly transfer data to medical providers. Data monitoring can be done for both inpatients and outpatients. Numerous patients in the hospital are regularly monitored for crucial information, such as vital signs, which is usually difficult. Innovative patient monitoring systems can offer updates and notifications to healthcare providers and nurses on crucial data about patients such as oxygen saturation and heart rate without constantly checking up on the patient. Mobile versions of the health-connected devices can help track patient symptoms and conditions while providing healthcare providers with this information, enabling them to properly monitor them at home and reducing the need for constant home visits.
How connected medical devices could make healthcare services more efficient and effective
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
The commonly used connected medical devices are the remote patient monitoring devices that instantly log physical health information of patients, such as body temperature, heart rate, and many more, without requiring the patient to visit the healthcare facility.
Chec out this blog to understand the Factors to Consider for Remote Patient Monitoring System Tech Feasibility
Major parts of the RPM systems
The top-level key parts of RPM can be described as the following:
Personal Monitoring Device
These devices can be used to collect relevant data from patients, which usually come with a Bluetooth module. Wearables or sensors integrated into or above the skin can monitor the health conditions such as heart rate and blood pressure.
Currently, only non-invasive devices that can measure different physiological conditions would be permitted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S.
Wearable devices are required to transfer patient information to the physician. The common method of transmitting the information is through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication.
Patient side mobile app
A mobile app can gather patient data logged by wearables and transmit it to the healthcare provider. These applications should be compatible with BLE data transmission methods and come with a caching mechanism to protect against issues with connectivity.
A fully secured API developed on Rapid Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) methods would introduce the app to the system of the physician.
Usually, the application comes with descriptive visuals that are engaging and user-friendly for the patients. These applications have been integrated with drug reminders video calling and access to informative content.
The cloud database can be used to store information generated from the wearables of the patient. Intelligent analytics categorizes this information into organized, tagged clusters.
Numerous systems come with direct to cloud connections for RPM devices, that enable the transmission of the generated data to the cloud database.
Hospital Web Application
A Hospital web app is similar to the patient app which is usually in compliance with the standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
This application utilizes an FHR-enabled API to communicate with the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system of the medical facility. This application can also interact independently with departmental data repositories.
For example, a cardiac telehealth initiative was established in California by a physician during recovery from heart surgery. Patients that are discharged are given cardiac kits which come with a blood pressure monitor, tablet, heart rate monitor, and pulse oximeter. The system provides instant information and notifications to physicians and the hospital team whenever there is an issue.
Patients can also provide updates about their health condition using a questionnaire, every day. This innovation enables caregivers to instantly recognize and tackle issues such as shortness of breath, dehydration, negative reactions to drugs, and symptoms of pneumonia. Conclusively, the initiative has helped to limit potential complications and re-admission after a surgical procedure.
The introduction of connected medical devices in different aspects of the healthcare sector, a rise in the use of real-time tracking among physicians, and a demand for smart healthcare solutions following the recentpandemic have contributed to the exponential demand for connected medical devices. Technological improvements will drive the growth of additional connected medical devices which can evaluate, transmit, collect, and store crucial health information.
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