The Internet of Things, commonly shortened to IoT, refers to the connection of devices (aside from typical ones such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet. Cars, kitchen appliances, and even heart monitors can be connected via IoT.
As the Internet of Things grows in the coming years, more devices will join that list. In short, the Internet of Things refers to the rapidly growing network of connected objects that can collect and exchange data in real time using embedded sensors.
Artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are some of the most popular connected devices in consumer IoT. Users can talk to voice assistants like Alexa for help performing a variety of functions, including playing music, providing a weather report, getting sports scores, ordering an Uber, and more.
Any stand-alone device connected to the Internet that can be monitored and/or controlled from a remote location is considered an IoT device. With smaller, more powerful chips, almost any product can be an Internet of Things device.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a subsection of the more well-known Internet of Things. In general terms, IoMT is a connected infrastructure of medical devices, software applications, and health systems and services. This infrastructure aims to improve the accessibility of health care, while improving patient health and satisfaction with health care services.
That kind of disruption is evident in the healthcare sector, where pen and paper have been the primary means of recording patient information for decades. But now, health care technology is changing in major ways.
Digital healthcare apps now allow patients to schedule their appointments without the need to call a doctor’s office and wait for a receptionist. Healthcare information technology allows doctors to take information with them wherever they go through apps on their smartphones.
Microsoft, for example, has built its Microsoft Azure cloud platform to facilitate cloud-based delivery of multiple healthcare services.
Additionally, Apple has worked to turn its consumer products into portable health centers.
Apple Watch continues to advance its health features with each iteration, such as its FDA-cleared electrocardiogram (EKG) built into Series 4, a female health tracking feature, and a dedicated Research app added to Series 5.
The list of potential IoMT applications is long, but it’s easy to see the potential benefits. Imagine a seamless hospital experience that includes appointment confirmation, the ability to check wait times, parking payments, check-in, patient medical data collection, instant transfer of data between departments, medication prescription, medication intake monitoring and continuous remote monitoring of patients, all using the IoMT and including aspects accessible by your smart device.
Victor Andrade Carmona*
* The author is a medical researcher of the Science Prevents Violence movement, an initiative of the Anahuac Public Health Institute, Anahuac University, Mexico.