A new study by Juniper Research has found that smart hospitals will deploy 7.4 million connected Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices globally by 2026; over 3,850 devices per smart hospital.

This global figure represents total growth of 131% 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 research identifies smart hospitals in the US and China as leading the global adoption of IoMT devices, accounting for 21% and 41% of connected devices respectively. It highlights digital healthcare initiatives implemented during the ongoing pandemic and high levels of existing digitalization within healthcare infrastructure as key to these countries’ leading positions.

Collaboration with network operators crucial to delivery of remote services

The new report, Smart Hospitals: Technologies, Global Adoption & Market Forecasts 2021-2026, identifies remote monitoring as key to delivering smart hospital services. It analyzes how adoption of remote monitoring technologies accelerated significantly during the pandemic, due to difficulties associated with delivering in-person healthcare. This accelerated adoption is set to continue over the next five years, as patients become acclimated to remote monitoring and benefit from proactive management and treatment of health conditions.

However, it identifies 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.

Research author Adam Wears explains:

“The emergence of remote monitoring within healthcare presents an opportunity for network operators to place themselves within the digital healthcare value chain. 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.”