Smart hospitals will deploy over 3,850 connected Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices, amounting to 7.4 million devices globally by 2026, according to a study.
The study by Juniper Research showed that the global figure represents total growth of 231 per cent over 2021, when 3.2 million devices were deployed.
The concept of the IoMT involves healthcare providers leveraging connected devices such as remote monitoring sensors and surgical robotics to improve patient care, staff productivity, and operational efficiency.
"The emergence of remote monitoring within healthcare presents an opportunity for network operators to place themselves within the digital healthcare value chain," explained research author Adam Wears.
"Smart hospital technologies generate significant quantities of data, meaning that the edge computing function provided by network operators will be crucial to the successful roll-out of these systems," he added.
The research identified smart hospitals in the US and China as leading the global adoption of IoMT devices, accounting for 21 per cent and 41 per cent of connected devices respectively, by 2026.
It highlighted digital healthcare initiatives implemented during the ongoing pandemic and high levels of existing digitalisation within healthcare infrastructure as key to these countries' leading positions.
The new report also identified remote monitoring as key to delivering smart hospital services.
It analysed how adoption of remote monitoring technologies accelerated during the pandemic significantly, due to difficulties associated with delivering in-person healthcare.
This accelerated adoption is set to continue over the next five years, as patients become acclimatised to remote monitoring and benefit from proactively managing and treating health conditions.
However, it identified that the real-time nature of remote monitoring requires low latency, high bandwidth connections to ensure transmission of patients' health data is not interrupted or distorted.
As a result, it encourages smart hospital vendors to develop partnerships with network operators to leverage multi-access edge computing to drive major reductions in lag and latency.
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