What is the Internet of Medical Things?

What is the Internet of Medical Things?

29 Jan 20212 min readMike Anderson
Internet of medical things world map Internet of medical things world map

The Internet of Things (“IoT”) is huge.

There are an estimated 50 billion connected devices within the IoT, spanning across nearly every industry on the planet.

Though we could lose ourselves in discussing how the IoT is changing everything from agriculture to politics, we’d like to focus on a specific subset of the IoT in which we have much experience: the Internet of Medical Things (“IoMT”).

In this post, we’ll discuss the IoMT and how it’s being used to improve patient outcomes around the world.

What is the “Internet of Medical Things?”

In our blog post about IoT-based patient monitoring devices, we described the IoT as a network of connected “smart” devices that are able to communicate information to each other.

Taking this definition a step further, the American Society of Engineers defines the “Internet of Medical Things” as:

[A]n amalgamation of medical devices and applications that can connect to health care information technology systems using networking technologies.

In other words, the IoMT is made up of medical devices, healthcare software, and information technology (“IT”) systems that are connected and networked together.

A heartrate monitor that transmits data to a hospital’s cloud where it can be reviewed by a physician provides an example of a device and IT system within the IoMT.

How big is the Internet of Medical Things?

The IoMT is one of the primary components of the entire IoT.

With the rise of the wearable and remote patient monitoring markets, the number of devices within the IoMT is estimated to exceed 20 billion in the near future.

By 2022, Deloitte predicts that nearly 68% of devices produced by medical device manufacturers will fall under the “connected” category, driving the value of the IoMT market past $158 billion.

As the the IoMT market grows, the medical device ecosystem will too—bringing software, hardware, and cybersecurity companies into the fold to tackle the challenges of a digital world.

Examples of medical devices found in the Internet of Medical Things

The most accessible example of a medical device that would be found in the IoMT is a smart watch.

In fact, over the past few years, we’ve seen consumer smart watches with EKG capabilities cleared by the FDA.

Given the connectivity capabilities of today’s smart watches, this opens the door for physicians to prescribe them as a tool for remote patient monitoring.

Another area within the medical device industry where wireless technology has helped expand the IoMT is the pacemaker market.

In fact, wireless technology has enabled pacemakers to send patient data to physicians via the internet for over a decade.

These “smart” pacemakers help decrease patient costs by reducing the number of times a patient must “follow up” at the physician’s healthcare facility.

The field of prosthetics has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past two decades.

In addition to incorporating intelligent sensors and systems into prosthetics to make them function like biological limbs, advanced prosthetic companies have also introduced mobile apps that enable patients and healthcare providers to wirelessly control the functionality of a prosthetic.

Additional Resources

The IoMT represents the convergence of cutting-edge medical device innovation and information technology.

As sensor, wireless, and cybersecurity technology improve, the IoMT will continue to grow and expand.

Unfortunately, developing an IoMT device can be difficult—especially if you’ve never done it before.

So, we recommend working with a partner who can guide you from development to commercialization.

If you’d like to learn more about the future of medical devices, download our ebook.