Bedside Healthcare from a Distance

Bedside Healthcare from a Distance

As the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) gets a COVID boost, remote healthcare is materialising right now

No one could have predicted the world would be in the state it is today. As we are all living and working under the shadow of the global COVID-19 pandemic, innovation is happening too in new areas as the race to control and eradicate the virus is underway. Technology plays a critical role, and the Internet of Things (IoT) has a vital place in this innovation, whether it is monitoring temperatures remotely in airports or using robots to deliver goods in places like Wuhan province, or for contact tracing and tracking vitals on patients affected. The Internet of Things surrounds us, and now we see it in action every day, and it is one of those areas that have seen a COVID-19 bump, giving rise to the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).

The emphasis on contactless medical care is driving healthcare centres to look up to IoT solution providers for an effective approach to tackle chronic diseases. IoMT, along with Cloud and Artificial Intelligence, is enabling healthcare professionals to monitor patients round-the-clock, access and analyse data and provide remote care. IoMT solutions include tools like tracking devices and sensors for remote patient monitoring (RPM), tele-medicine, and connected assistance.Individuals can record their behaviour, get an online diagnosis and manage health more efficiently, without stepping out of home for once.

Interconnected tools work wonders! Devices like a digital “smart” thermometer connects via Bluetooth to an app on the user’s phone and collects temperature data in real-time and reports back to the health station over the Internet. Hospitals use such connected thermometers to screen patients and staff. According to the New York Times, Kinsa Health has sold over one million thermometers to households.

Wearable technology is another major component of IoMT solutions and the most ubiquitous of its implementations to date. Devices, in the form of wearable accessories, can let the care teams collect numerous data points about the patient’s activity, heart rate, temperature, and so on. These devices capture real-time information for caregivers and patients. The efficiency of the data processing by these smart-wears – ranging from rings and wrist wear to clothes –emphasises how IoT technology in healthcare will add value in our daily life.

Apart from emergencies, with IoMT and AI, chronic ailments becomes easy to track;the data stored and progress shared with healthcare professionals for monitoring of treatment. Some of the smart medical devices available for such purpose include wearable asthma monitor,automatic pill dispenser, and wearable blood pressure monitor. Even simple fitness trackers are now finding innovative usage to monitor health and biological metrices without spending a fortune.

And this is one sector that will witness a spike, rather than a slump, due to the pandemic. According to analyst firm IDC, the global spending on the IoT is forecast to reach US$742.1 billion in 2020, an 8.2% increase over the US$685.6 billion spent in 2019. However, the annual growth in previous years exceeded the 2020 growth – owing largely to downward pressure on technology investments by enterprises during COVID-19. IDC expects worldwide IoT spending to resume double-digital growth through the 2021–2024 period, surpassing the US$1 trillion in 2023. In 2020, the largest portion of spending is expected to remain in the device category, representing 28.6%.

The IoT platform and analytics software are growing at the fastest rate, 15.2% and 18.0% respectively. From a regional perspective, Asia/Pacific – albeit the largest spending region – continues to hold the lion’s share, reaching 46.7% in 2024. EMEA takes share from the Americas region, which would reach nearly 26% of overall global spend in 2024.

Since early April, IDC has been running surveys to assess the impact of COVID-19 on IT spending. On an average, 44% of respondents plan to decrease their spending on IoT projects, 25% expect no change, and 29% plan to increase their spending. As the weeks have gone by, however, the percentage of respondents who planned to decrease spending on IoT projects has gone down while the percentage for those who plan to increase spending has gone up.

It appears that this crisis has spotlighted the key IoT benefits, such as the ability to remotely access data about – and remotely control – IoT things. With this said, we must keep in mind that organizations are going to be managing budgets very tightly for the foreseeable future; 2020 is a year for safe bets only.

IoT investments are also being tightly aligned with business goals and the process transformations required to get the fullest benefits from such investments.Organizations are focused not only on the technology needed but also on the business change required. Many enterprises are realizing that investing in an IoT solution is only one step to solving the business problem and integrating it into the business processes that it seeks to impact.

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