Reinventing Healthcare with Groundbreaking IoT Tech
February 20, 2023
This year is going to be a big one for IoT devices in healthcare. See what capabilities are expected to grow and how technology will transform the industry by optimizing care.
Healthcare is evolving into the next IoT frontier. With consumers already familiar with smart homes and work-from-home environments, it was only a matter of time before the Internet of Things (IoT) made its way into the healthcare space.
According to a report by AllTheResearch, the market for the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is experiencing a compound annual growth rate of 24.4 percent and is expected to reach a worth of $254 billion by 2026. Innovative devices are already transforming how doctors treat patients — from automated data management software to connected pill bottles that alert caregivers of medications taken, IoMT is extending care beyond the traditional doctor’s office and into patients’ homes.
As the industry continues to undergo an IoT upgrade, here’s what users and developers can expect from healthcare technology in the near future.
Today’s Top IoT Health Tech Trends
Wearables are one of the leading drivers in this uptick of healthcare IoT technology. As of last year, the global market for wearable devices reached $61 billion — and it’s still soaring.
Smartwatches, skin patches, ear-worn devices, and other bodily sensors have gained traction in healthcare for their user-friendliness and convenience. Wearables allow medical professionals to monitor patient symptoms and vitals outside of appointment hours for around-the-clock visibility. This helps doctors paint a more comprehensive picture of a patient’s health status for earlier diagnosis, better treatment, and an enhanced quality of life.
For consumers, wearables eliminate the inconvenience and discomfort associated with prolonged hospital visits. For example, patients experiencing heart palpitations no longer need to spend a few days at a hospital connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine to monitor abnormalities — wireless and discreet ECG patches give patients the freedom and flexibility to go about their day while sending valuable information to specialists for medical evaluation.
With advantages for physicians and patients, wearables are expected to diversify in application and function. Capabilities being explored in today’s health systems include:
Remote Monitoring: Wearables and in-home sensors relay patient health information to doctors in real time, no matter where they are. From body temperature to glucose levels, these devices automatically collect patient data and send it to software applications that medical staff can securely access and view. Additionally, wearables and sensors alert medical staff of concerning symptoms as they unfold for faster emergency response times, which can potentially save a patient’s life.
Medication Adherence: Most treatment plans consist of a regular medication schedule, and skipped doses can lead to severe consequences for some chronic conditions and diseases.Connected devices, such as smart pill bottles and dispensers, remind patients when to take their medication while notifying caregivers and doctors of necessary refills and missed doses.
Self-Tracking: Fitness trackers and wellness applications are expected to reach a market worth of 192 billion by 2030, signaling a steady demand for devices that facilitate an active lifestyle. Hydration biosensors, wrist monitors, and even smart beds help consumers track their sleep patterns, water consumption, and other habits necessary to maintain peak physical health and keep up with preventative care.
Automated Record-Keeping: Besides data collection, some IoMT devices are embedded with artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that help organize and filter information for medical personnel. This allows healthcare experts to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time addressing urgent patient matters.
Advanced Analytics: AI and machine learning features are used alongside diagnostic devices to spot medical anomalies and operational lags before they happen. With predictive analytics, researchers, clinicians, and other healthcare professionals can help prevent diseases from progressing and make data-driven decisions to reduce complication risks associated with invasive procedures.
Features for IoT Health Tech Success
Not all healthcare IoT devices are made equal. It’s important to ensure that every connected touchpoint is up-to-date with the latest security features, machine processing capabilities, and connectivity standards for an integrated IoMT network to work effectively. At minimum, IoMT-connected devices should have a System-on-Chip (SoC) that supports these characteristics:
Ubiquitous Connectivity: The cornerstone of IoT, all smart medical devices should seamlessly connect and interact with each other using widely available technologies, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Connectivity issues in one device can either ruin user experience or cause the entire IoT infrastructure to run improperly, leading to latency issues, gaps in data, and limited capability.
End-to-End Security: From data collection to file viewing, IoMT devices should fortify all communication channels with encryption algorithms and multi-factor authentication to verify authorized users and establish viewing restrictions. Devices composed of SoCs with embedded security features and PSA certified are highly recommended. Embedded security features facilitate cryptographic security measures, while PSA testing gauges a device’s security against industry standards.
Long-Lasting Power: Devices with a short battery life can also hinder the performance of an IoT system. Low-power protocols like Bluetooth® LE help preserve battery life with lower data rates, multiple topology options, and sleep periods to save energy and keep all communications running smoothly.
Cross-Platform Interoperability: All IoMT devices need to connect to each other, but their purpose becomes futile if they aren’t able to transfer and share data. Electronic health records are often stored in various software databases depending on a health system’s preference, so cross-platform compatibility is essential to prevent disruptions in communication.
Intelligence Processing: As more healthcare professionals venture into predictive analytics, medical IoT devices will need to be equipped with advanced AI and machine learning abilities to identify patterns in data logs and present accurate forecasts. With medical teams overwhelmed by busy schedules and burnout, smart devices with analytic features are crucial to help professionals keep up with patient demand.
Small Footprint with High Integration: For medical apparatuses such as small cameras and ingestible sensors, SoCs need to shrink in size while retaining the above capabilities. Otherwise, these smaller tools won’t be able to communicate with other smart devices, leading to data segmentation and causing users to resort to manual record-keeping.
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, these features will help developers stretch the limits of medical technology. To help developers innovate new ways to help doctors better assess and treat patients, Telink provides the SoCs and firmware to make it happen.
Design Better IoT Health Devices with Telink Technology
The future of healthcare is now. Telink’s best-in-class connectivity solutions can be tailored to achieve the most challenging design goal, fueling innovative minds to create the next series of cutting-edge IoMT technology. Our highly integrated, feature-rich, and low-power SoCs and a comprehensive portfolio of SDKs allow your device to securely connect with any infrastructure for easy integration.