Home Internet 5 Considerations for Managing Data in the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Era

5 Considerations for Managing Data in the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Era

The following is a guest article by Jessica Rengstorf, MPH, Director of US Healthcare Strategy at Endava

From Alexa speakers to Apple watches, robotic or ‘smart’ devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) are now ubiquitous among consumers.  The healthcare market is no exception. The global Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) market is expected to reach over $187 billion by 2028, more than four times its worth in 2020—owing in part to improving technology and the rise in remote care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of IoMT include ingestible cameras and MRI machines used in medical facilities, as well as smart thermometers and connected glucose monitors available to patients at home.

IoMT Data

The value of IoMT offerings comes from the vast amount of data they capture, which can keep patients informed and give clinicians faster access to critical information. The benefits are evident in improved patient outcomes, reduced wait times, and lower healthcare costs. However, many healthcare organizations face challenges in implementing IoMT solutions and managing the vast amount of data they produce. For instance, smartwatches alone can generate 2 to 5 gigabytes of data per day about a person’s health and movement, and data volumes expand as more people use increasingly sophisticated devices for health monitoring.

A notable example of how IoMT solutions are making an impact can be seen in a program developed by an organization for patient monitoring and data management. The program utilizes a wearable device that monitors vital signs, such as oxygen saturation and pulse rate. Its goal is to promote patient mobility while providing healthcare providers with a real-time, personalized view of each patient’s health status – helping to monitor recovery from surgery and detect potential problems early. This case exemplifies the transformative potential of IoMT to improve accuracy and efficiency in healthcare delivery.

Healthcare organizations must consider the following when approaching the IoMT to ensure they are efficiently and securely managing the data produced:

Integrating Data Volumes

Given the high volumes of data generated by IoMT-driven care, providers must invest in scalable infrastructure. There are a variety of cloud-based solutions that provide scalability, flexibility, and accessibility, allowing healthcare organizations to efficiently store and manage large datasets generated by IoMT devices. They must also address the challenges posed by diverse data formats and standards. To make integration easier and build more comprehensive patient profiles, there is a push for interoperability standards to ensure seamless communication and data exchange among IoMT devices.

Analytics and The Edge

The increasing amount of data from IoMT devices and the need for immediate processing make edge computing essential, as its decentralized approach allows data to be analyzed closer to the source. This enables healthcare professionals to gain instant access to critical insights and make decisions faster, directly benefiting patient outcomes by reducing wait times for analysis and response. Amid the recent boom in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, some practices are using AI to derive faster and sharper insights from IoMT data.

Patient Engagement and Access

The data generated by IoMT care has the greatest impact when patients are engaged alongside their providers. It is beneficial to inform patients of how smart devices are being used in their care and provide an easy-to-understand snapshot of the data being generated to show how it will be used to guide treatment. This education makes patients more likely to use the device correctly and consistently, leading to more accurate data and, therefore, better outcomes.

Data Security

Another key element to patient engagement with IoMT care is ensuring data is secure, especially at a time when the healthcare industry has been the victim of high-profile data breaches. To safeguard patient information, organizations must focus on implementing robust data governance policies and privacy measures such as encryption, decentralized identity management, and edge computing for local data processing. Adhering to regulatory requirements and ethical data practices will build trust with patients and stakeholders, encouraging continued use of IoMT devices.

Collaborative Development

Since the field of IoMT is new and expanding, it is important for stakeholders – including healthcare providers, technology companies, and regulators – to collaborate and share insights and solutions. One key area of collaboration should be high-quality, ongoing training for clinicians and technology partners, to ensure the safe and effective use of IoMT data.

There continue to be exciting innovations in IoMT care, enhancing the way clinicians and patients themselves monitor and manage health conditions. With the right support for innovation and robust data management strategies, IoMT technology is set to continue its transformative impact on healthcare delivery, ensuring that patient care is both advanced and accessible.

About Jessica Rengstorf

Jessica Rengstorf Director, U.S Healthcare Strategy at Endava has over 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry. With a background in health insurance, public health, employer-based benefits, and digital health point solutions, she understands the complex challenges of the healthcare ecosystem. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in public health administration and policy from the University of Minnesota and focuses on healthcare strategy at Endava.

 

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