Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) – Meaning, Strengths, and Weaknesses

With the accelerated pace of life, people don’t want to spend more time on hospital registration, procedure, and other trivial things. Internet of medical things can help it by applying internet in medical staff, like the patient can make an appointment online, the personal information and the very first disease description can be sent to hospital information system and assigned to a doctor, which decreases time on waiting and personal information registration. For people living somewhere far away from medical resources, remote medical treatment may be a good choice to let the man away from distant puzzles. Even inside the hospital, the internet can be useful by sending physical checking messages from doctor to specialist for a traffic injured patient. Internet of medical things can be really helpful in our life, and we do need it.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

Information technology is the basement of internet development, and internet application also accelerates the development of the information industry. Before around half of a century, the internet emerges to send and receive messages out for military purposes. After decades, the internet can be used by usual people in their life, especially for information exchange. With the sensors are becoming perfect, the data science theory is completer than before, the hardware is getting humanized and economic, people can apply these things into what they really need, for example, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). The Internet is based on information technique, data collecting job can be done by sensors, and data analysis job is operated by a program generated from data science theory. People need the internet of medical things, therefore, IoMT has a rapid development.

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is to apply internet in the medical industry, also refers to the new applications of the internet in healthcare including the internet as the carrier and technical ways of health education, electronic medical records, medical information query, disease risk assessment, online disease questions and answers, electronic prescription, remote consultation, remote treatment, and rehabilitation. Internet of medical things can act as a health butler, people can ask for something from the butler, which is the communication between human and machine; the machine can send something, usually the data, to another machine, and another machine can make reaction about it, which is the communication between machines.

With IT has been improved at an unprecedented speed, all kinds of industries have been changed a lot. The medical industry is one of the most influenced industries. The internet of medical things can be used in many ways: healthy information query, medical electronic records, electronic prescription, remote treatment, and rehabilitation, etc. Once the internet of medical things is completely done, patients will not spend much more time waiting for registration, pills picking up, queueing for physical checking, waiting for referring to another specialist, etc. The doctor can monitor patient recovery situations by distant sensors, physical data can be sent back and the doctor can adjust the recovery plan according to the result of data analysis. And the patient won’t need to go to the hospital to have another physical check before adjustment.

Life Before IoMT

According to the Traditional Medicine Strategy from World Health Organization, traditional medicine is the mainstay of health care delivery or serves as a complement to it at least to 2023, which means that traditional medicine has been a major part of health care for thousands of years and will be the same till 2023 at least. No matter the medical technology has changed that much, what process people use will still the same. The patient needs to go to the hospital and ask for help from a doctor. The doctor needs to use special ways to check what happens to this patient and then, have therapy to the patient, maybe some pills, and maybe recovery training, and may the doctor cannot make a choice at that time, so the doctor turns to other specialists for help, which means this patient needs to wait for a long time before she/he can know what disease she/he has. Message among patients and doctors, doctors and doctors can be hard to send and receive through traditional health care. Most of the time, people are walking on their way to find something instead of a direct and sufficient solution after an efficient search. But people cannot avoid this until a new way for information transformation emerged.

IoMT Development

The development of network medical is very rapid, also a hot spot of the computer network technology applied in the medical application. The development of network medical services can be divided into online health counseling, online remote consultation, online inquiry three levels by the type of division. The first level is online health counseling, providing medical and health counseling and medical information services, answering questions such as seeking medical advice, and popularizing knowledge about health and disease prevention and treatment. The second level is the online remote consultation, providing remote consultation, remote diagnosis, remote clinical consultation, image consultation, difficult case discussion, ECG consultation and monitoring, preoperative guidance and emergency treatment, and other functions. The third level is an online inquiry, dedicated to the traditional part of the outpatient department function to the Internet so that patients can seek medical diagnosis and guidance through the Internet to create a green access channel.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Devices

Network medical, but also can be called the network era of telemedicine. From the 1960s, mainly through the telephone network and cable television network, including text and video images, including all kinds of information for the exchange of information from doctors or expert consultation to the case assist in the diagnosis. In the course of development, telemedicine uses a series of new communication technologies and electronic technologies such as fax, telephone, radio communication to still images and real-time interactive television technology, as well as virtual reality and remote robots, and is combined with healthcare technology. The United States is one of the countries that have advanced telemedicine, and the earliest developed telemedicine system is used to carry out noninvasive monitoring of astronauts and first aid to the sick and wounded. Since then, medical institutions began to carry out telemedicine, and gradually carried out remote consultation, remote consultation, the medical image of the long-distance transmission, remote control surgery, and other projects. Other countries such as Western Europe, Japan, and Australia, and other countries on the development of telemedicine also attach great importance to invest huge amounts of money in telemedicine information technology research and development.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Strengths


With the help of the internet, all kinds of data can be transferred vis seconds. These data can be electronic medical records, physical check results, electronic prescriptions, diagnostic reports, medical reference invitations, personal daily health information, etc. The patient can make a registration at home through an online healthcare service to make an appointment with a doctor without waiting for that long; the doctor can send the prescription to the medicine department without a paper prescription taking by a nurse; computerized tomography will not need a patient or nurse to wait and pick up but will be digitalized and sent to doctor’s computer immediately with a preliminary medical diagnose report; patient can get their medicine after leaving doctor’s office because the doctor may have already sent the prescription to medicine department and nurse have already taken pills back.

Wearable detection devices can be small and portable. Many companies have launched health management applications on a smart cellphone. PICOOK is famous for its body fat scalers which can measure weight and body fat through statistical numbers and report your body fat indicator, how much you exceed, visceral fat index, how many calories are burnt through basically metabolized, bone mass through its own App. OMRON from Japan is a world-famous automation control and electronic equipment manufacturer. Almost every family has a Blood Pressure Monitor from OMRON if there is a hypertensive patient in this family.

People can check how many steps they take every day to be a rough health assessment index through applications on the cell phone or smartwatch, or connect them together so that users can read the historical records and make a curve to review their health plan.

Large Industry & Room for Growth

The arrival of network health care is bound to promote the development of all walks of life. Related medical equipment will be improved a lot. A few years ago, a mercury sphygmomanometer is what everyone needs to read blood pressure, no matter in a hospital or in a clinic. With the assistance of a stethoscope, the doctor can tell people a rough number of diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure. However, the essence of the mercury sphygmomanometer is a pressure gauge. Therefore, what it offers is not an accurate value. What’s more, a mercury sphygmomanometer should work with a stethoscope, which means inconvenience. As a result, what people need promotes medical equipment development. Due to demands of portability and accuracy, an electronic sphygmomanometer has come. An electronic sphygmomanometer can give a relatively detailed value of diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure, and some products of blood pressure measurement can be connected with a phone or a computer, all information from this sphygmomanometer can be sent to this device. Corresponding applications will help people analyze information and tell you why you can see a changed result of your blood pressure. If the user has some questions about the result, it can contact a specialist via the App. If the specialist tells that there is something wrong and the user needs an advanced physical check, the user will receive a warning and can make an appointment through the App with a specific doctor.

Internet applications are available for people to use. Ali cloud offers services for medical image diagnoses. Once the medical image you have uploaded to the cloud, the cloud will help you process the very first check. Although this process can only guarantee 95% accuracy at least, this first process can help increase medical efficiency by multiple doctors diagnose simultaneously. And, Ali has tried its best to gather data analysis related experts through many ways: high salary to attract talents, holding famous Tianchi Competition (including Repeat Buyers Prediction-Challenge the Baseline, Precise Positioning of User’s shop with advanced algorithms, Microblogging prediction contest, etc.). Not only Ali but internet headers like Google, IBM, Facebook all work hard wishing to lead the world internet development.

Cloud computing should be called the hottest industry in recent years. Everyone who knows how to work with the cloud can get a nice job after graduation. Therefore, cloud maintainers, cloud architects, cloud big data experts, cloud data integration experts, and anything related to the cloud will be hot positions and more and more people like this will be needed.

Many Applications

The very original purpose of the Internet of Medical Things is for the convenience of people’s lives, to solve meaningless affairs through digitalizing everything on paper, and to apply big data in the medical industry.

Internet of Medical Things can convenient people’s life by achieving part of outpatient functions through the internet. The patient can make an appointment through an online service by finishing registration on the hospital website. If the patient needs another doctor, this patient can go to the new doctor without a reference or make an appointment again because these things can be done through email by the electronic medical system. The patient won’t need paper records anymore; any doctor who has checked patient can use the internet to have electronic records of the same patient; therefore, patient and doctor won’t need to worry about losing records, and any doctor can review the whole disease history at any time with the permission of the patient, and the patient can ask for other doctor’s help with the first doctor’s diagnose result as a reference.

Applying big data in the medical industry is one of the greatest achievements of IoMT. Through data mining, we can obtain deeper cognition of the reason why disease happens to someone. The well-known human genome project can use data mining to detect the secrets of the gene. For example, by using association rules, researchers can know the potential relationship among genes of disease. After the study of the patient with Alzheimer’s disease, scientists can realize there is a potential causal relationship among a series of genes. For example, when patients with Alzheimer’s disease all have gene A, gene B, gene C, and gene D. Gene A, B, C, D have the following characters: if A exists, B must exist; if B exists, C must exist; if C exits, D must exit. We may the following guess: A is the reason why B, C, D exist. And if all patients with this disease have A, B, C, D genes existing in their gene, and people that don’t have this disease don’t have any of them, and, people with one of them, two of them, three of them don’t have the disease, we may have the guess that the existence of gene A, B, C, D together may lead Alzheimer’s disease.

What we get from data mining cannot tell us something for sure, but some detailed guesses and researchers can continue studying genes with such guesses as reference or direction. When people know the relationships among some genes for sure, they may turn to study medicine which can prevent the very first gene to express, like A, so that B, C, D won’t appear and numbers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease would decrease. And Scientists can also figure out some medicine to prevent the expression of pathogenic genes like A, B, C, D, which means even people have all of the pathogenic genes, but these genes don’t express, therefore, the patient would not have the disease.

Internet of Medical Things can still help patients solve distant health care problems. If a patient has a disease, it should go to the hospital to have a cure. The doctor will check the patient and give him/her some directions and therapy according to the result of diagnosing, and with the patient is recovering, the doctor may need to adjust the therapy. Therefore, in traditional healthcare, the patient needs to go to have a check so that the doctor can adjust therapy. If the patient lives in a faraway place from the hospital, this patient will spend much more time on the road. With the help of the Internet of Medical Things, body check can be done by advanced sensors and other portable medical equipment, and the patient can send information to doctor far away from itself or even not need to do that because the doctor can access the patient’s health records database which is connected to every medical equipment with data.

Large Customer Base

With the Internet of Medical Things, people won’t feel hard going to see a doctor. Excluding being really seriously injured, most people can make minors injure themselves according to directions of online search. Minor illness won’t be a time costing issue, pills without prescription can be found online and in the supermarket, special directions can be obtained by remote treatment.

Above conveniences will be welcomed by most of the people. For the patient, they will use the Internet of Medical Things more because they want to know better doctors, more advanced medical resources, easier ways to cure the disease, a lower bill from healthcare, and more insured therapy. For doctors, they will use the Internet of Medical Things more because there are a lot of referenced cases to study, more information to use, easier to schedule with patients, faster to exchange information, more data on the report to analyze and obtain therapy, more chances to help more people. For students, they will use the Internet of Medical Things more because there are a lot of learning resources to have healthcare education, more ways to know the medical things around the world, more chances to serve in the medical industry.

New Job for Experts in Medical Industry

The development of Internet Medical Things would create new positions. With the Internet of Medical Things, the number of outpatient doctors will decrease, while special data analysis experts will be increasingly needed. These experts may not work in a real hospital, not work with a scalpel, not use a stethoscope, no operate nuclear magnetic resonance instruments, but they work with computer, to receive medical data from the cloud, to study what the data can tell: the shadow of a certain medical image might indicate that the owner of this image has cancer or tuberculosis. Besides data experts to read the medical images, and other experts are needed for another department. For example, department of gynecology and obstetrics, pregnant should go to the hospital periodically to make sure that everything is OK for the baby, and during the hospital check time, the mother-to-be can use a smart cell phone with special and specific service for a mother as a health butler to assist until baby born. Doctors and related data experts for the department of gynecology and obstetrics could study pregnant through the smart cellphone and transfer essential information to the mother-to-be.

Patients can Communicate Online

The constraints of time and space can be broken by the internet, the limitation of communicating, too. Since the very first phone invented by Bell emerged in the 1850s, communication has been able to cross the distance. Humans would not be limited by space. Via phone, sound can be transferred to miles away to send some information. When the internet first came as a requirement for military purposes, information transformation is under extremely secure conditions. Until after the 1990s, the internet became generally used by people. After the invention of the PC, tablet, smart cell phone, smart bracelet, people can go into virtual reality and communicate with other people wherever and whenever they want. Therefore, people with a specific purpose can use this way to exchange their ideas.  People who like flowers can discuss how to plant the rose in dry areas like St. Louis; people who like to travel can share their experience from Japan to Germany; people who need healthcare can also post their thoughts on the website or other ways to ask for help or help other people. Patients can offer some suggestions like “you can try to put your feet into hot water for over 30 minutes to help sleep” to answer some people’s insomnia problems. The internet help people to enjoy healthcare.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Weaknesses

Battery Life

Every kind of electronic device needs the power to run. The portable facility relies on a battery as a power source. Therefore, the weakness of the battery turns into one of the weaknesses of the Internet of Medical Things. The battery life is what we most concern about the weakness of the battery. Battery life is a measure of how well the battery performs and how long it can work with a certain confidence. The most common battery in our life is Lithium-Ion Battery, including battery on a cell phone, watch, laptop, and other portable devices. Therefore, how well and how long does battery work determines how well and how long the portable devices work. With the development of technology, the battery can work under a secure circuit so that the battery can continuously output a stable current until the voltage drops to the minimum even there is some unstable current. Even though, the ambient temperature at work, storage conditions when not working, time to recharge, minimum voltage when recharging still limit the usage of Lithium-ion Battery. This kind of battery can basically meet people’s daily requirement except when there is extremely cold (<-20℃) or extremely hot (> 60℃), that is why battery energy drops fast when people using the phone in the north area outside in winter. Lithium-ion Battery can be recharged with specific current intensity; every kind of Lithium-ion Battery needs different input current, like iPhone and iPad, are both recharged under the voltage of 5 V, whiles iPhone needs 1A current intensity, and iPad needs 2.1A. As a result of the above, every device requires the corresponding adapter if people want the battery to work as long as it can.

Processing Power

Hardware for the Internet of Medical Things can be fine.  Applying could increase the ability of data computing, and cloud storage can be a good way to keep data secure. Using the cloud is the hottest tendency of internet technology currently. As far as it can tell, the cloud platforms can be used inside of the enterprise and the related applications of this enterprise. Medical Big Data is not a new concept. Premier, the U.S. healthcare alliance network has medical data to build a database for clinical, financial, patient treatment from over 2700 members, hospitals and health systems, 90,000 non-acute facilities, and 400,000 physicians.

Traditional medical records are kept in paper form, and personal data accumulates over time. These data cannot be transferred into digital data to store in the cloud or somewhere we need to use for data processing. What’s more, the current data structure is hard to utilize to dig.  Even there are a lot of digital data, what can be used is not so much, most of what we have cannot really help. For example, to predict disease, physical indicators are required and some of the concurrent symptoms should be recorded; however, not all symptoms will present, and it is hard for people to make a judgment only through some concurrent symptoms and variated indicators.

The algorithm is a great challenge. Although Alpha Go beats humans on Go, artificial intelligence still needs to go on for many years until it can really assist people in health care.  Ali cloud has published medical help by assisting medical images analysis job and offer remote monitoring by applications on a smart cellphone. This kind of medical help is to apply image classification through the cloud and check whether there is a shadow indicating illness. In fact, image classification is not so good, with the highest accuracy of 92%. It has to admit that 92% is a really good number at image classification, but for medical use, 99% is still not a good number, because there is still 1% of uncertainty. For people’s health, it is required 100% certainty, even the doctor make sure one patient has a disease, this doctor cannot guarantee 100% success of the surgery. Therefore, the way we use to analyze data cannot meet people’s real requirements of medical things. There is still a long way to go.

Monitoring Liability

There are a lot of medical disputes when there is no Internet of Medical Things. There can be more disputes with the IoMT if there is no relatively perfect legal system.

In the traditional medical system, once there is medical malpractice, all doctors, anesthetists, nurses that are related to the case will be required to contact their insurance company and lawyers to book a court with the lawyer of the patient. Everything in the US can be done by lawyers as long as you have bought insurance. However, the above things must be done with complicated research and assessment by the insurance company.

While the Internet of Medical Things is coming, everything is new to the world. For example, if a patient was under monitoring by a specific doctor with certain portable devices, and the data from these devices can be sent to platform A. All data of platform A will be analyzed by study group B, and study group B are from biomedical company C. Suppose this patient was suddenly sick and the physical check told that this patient had seriously leukemia, but the data from monitoring devices, data analysis result, and doctor who is responsible for this patient told nothing about it, which let this patient miss the optimal time to have a cure. If this patient wants to ask for something back, he turns to his lawyer. And his lawyer turns to the insurance company. Well, now this is the question: which part of the Internet of Medical Things should be responsible for this mistake if all of them should be, which one should take the biggest payback.

There is no complicated legal system for the internet, nor the even Internet of Medical Things. Who should be responsible for the monitor, is a big question until the Internet of Medical Things is done.

Data Security

When talked about data collecting, people will worry about data security. Internet of Medical Things needs massive data, and these data are from people even they are not sick. The data analysis center requires case data and control data as a resource to help classify and predict what kind of features may lead to disease. Like the credit card, Personal data like name, gender, real-time location, pulse, blood pressure, and even disease history may be collected from the bio-stamp. These personal data will be sent back to the data center through the wireless network, therefore, cybersecurity can be another reason why people worry. No one can know for sure how their personal information will assist disease prediction, because, in their minds, the data study maybe like a dark box, and nothing personal and private can be seen but the related data. .

What’s more, the cloud platform is another object to worry about. Cloud computing and cloud storage can reduce hardware pressure. More and more enterprises choose the cloud as their business data storage place and computing method. However, even there are a lot of ways to secure the cloud and more and more people turn to study how to increase safety confidence, there are still some people who want to break into the cloud and do some illegal things. Fight between maintainers and breakers never stop no matter what way people choose to use. Therefore, the cloud is not absolutely safe for people’s personal data.

Medical Industry

When people do not need nurses to do registration jobs, physical checks, treatment assistant jobs anymore, people do not need so many nurses anymore. Therefore, the number of nurses decreases due to this change. And then, nurse education will grow slowly or even stop. If every disease can be predicted accurately or can be controlled by remote monitoring, the life of patients won’t be influenced by this disease, the number of doctors waiting in hospitals for patients will drop slowly. Because the Internet of Medical Things can help to monitor exercise, disease-preventing, disease diagnosis, recovering after surgery, which means lots of jobs needed a doctor won’t need a doctor anymore. When physical checking can be done by some applications, people do not need to go to hospitals to have a body check, therefore, hospitals won’t need so many advanced medical facilities anymore. When people can cure themselves at home without going to the hospital by themselves, the patient department won’t need too many beds for patients except people who have a serious disease and they cannot treatment through the Internet of Medical Things.

Uneasy for Elderly People

Emerging technology can be both love and hate things for elderly people. They love its portability and convenience, but complicated operation prevents these people to easily use. New things are always difficult for elderly people. These things can be fragile and should be used carefully. For example, the smart cellphone can be really useful for collecting data and reading physical reports every day. Some applications on the cell phone should be turned on when using, and the report may be at another place. For elderly people, they may have difficulty finding the button to turn on the checking function and go to another page to read the report. Some devices need to be operated with a lot of buttons, like an ECG monitor, the elderly cannot do it without other people’s help. Portability means small. Elderly people don’t have very good sights because aging leads to presbyopia. Therefore, the elderly need larger ones. Being larger and being portable cannot exist together. Once the devices get bigger, they lost portability.

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