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Internet of Medical Things Devices Demand Dynamic Networks

Organizations implementing the Internet of Medical Things need to make sure their network can properly support all devices.

internet of medical things

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations are relying on data more and more as digital tools prove to significantly help clinicians gain better insight into patient health. The data that Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices collect can also keep patients informed about their health so they can make steps to take care of themselves between visits to the doctor.

The IoMT market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 20 percent and reach $322.77 billion by 2025, according to Transparency Market Research.

“Internet connected devices have been introduced to monitor and diagnose patients in various ways,” said report authors. “Tracking health information is vital for patients whether the data comes from electrocardiograms, fetal monitors, blood glucose levels, or temperature monitors.”

“Most of these measures require follow-up with healthcare professionals, creating an opportunity for smarter electronic devices to deliver more valuable data by reducing the need for direct physician-patient interaction.”

Clinicians can get accurate information about a patient rather than needing to ask questions. This allows clinicians to treat patients faster because factors of patients’ health are made known ahead of time. Monitoring patients can also make clinicians aware of conditions that the patient may not even realize hey have.

While IoMT devices have significant benefits, organizations need to make sure their IT infrastructure is robust enough to support all the devices that are going to be connecting to and communicating with the network.

Clinicians and patients rely on connected devices to give and receive care. This dependency on information makes the network one of the most important pieces of health IT infrastructure.

Providers use IoMT technology to keep track of medical tools and supplies, as well as monitor equipment so staff members know when maintenance is required. This saves clinicians time when it comes to locating the proper tools, and it saves money because organizations are able to do more preventative maintenance on tools.

IoMT devices are used for several different things in healthcare and not all connected devices are using Wi-Fi to communicate data. Wi-Fi, along with broadband, is needed to support a full ecosystem of connected medical devices from inside and outside the organization.

Broadband is becoming a more attractive and realistic option for healthcare organizations to overcome healthcare IoT connectivity issues.

Broadband offers more reliable connections and allows device users to be truly mobile. Broadband also offers remote capabilities for patients participating in telehealth programs.

Remote care and telehealth programs that depended on the patient’s home Wi-Fi network were often unsuccessful, especially when clinicians were visiting patients in rural or underserved areas. Home Wi-Fi connections were often unreliable and were not strong enough to transmit large files or stream video for conferencing.

Broadband is used for these situations because it extends over a larger area. Organizations are able to ensure that the broadband connection is secure by partnering with broadband providers like Verizon and AT&T to support their devices.

Broadband also allows IoMT devices to be truly mobile. IoT devices depending on Wi-Fi connectivity have to constantly connect to and disconnect from different Wi-Fi networks as the user moves.

If a device is connected to broadband, it doesn’t have to keep reconnecting to different Wi-Fi networks and constantly ask for network permissions. This makes it the ideal option for clinicians using IoT devices while moving from building to building and for remote patients.

While broadband offers many mobile advantages, organizations cannot neglect their Wi-Fi solution. Organizations need to examine their network and determine if it can handle the number of added devices.

Wi-Fi networks that cannot handle the added strain end up becoming overloaded. This overload of traffic can cause bottlenecking, which slows the network down and makes it difficult for users to retrieve information.

A combination of Wi-Fi and broadband is key to healthcare IoMT success. Providing both types of connectivity keeps network traffic spread out so organizations don’t experience traffic overload and lose control of their network.

As IoMT networks continue to expand, dynamic network environments are needed to support the growth.

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