The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) market is currently experiencing a rapid expansion and is projected to grow from $30.79 billion in 2021 to $187.60 billion in 2028. In tandem with this extreme growth is the fact that these devices are becoming more compact and innovative. The charging cables and disposable batteries we once relied on are now inhibiting the growth and innovation of these devices, imposing design constraints on manufacturers.
As industries seek innovative solutions, wireless charging distinguishes itself and its profound impact on healthcare is unmistakable. What are the various benefits that wireless charging can provide within the healthcare sector? Let’s take a closer look at the top advantages.
Reliable Source of Power
One of the most impactful benefits of wireless power technology is that it provides IoMT devices with a reliable and uninterrupted source of power. This consistency is paramount within the healthcare sector as these devices aid with patient, equipment, and medicine tracking that must operate continuously. When powered wirelessly, these critical services will not run the potential risk of downtime or maintenance disruptions compared to if they were powered by more traditional methods.
Wirelessly powered medical devices also offer operational advantages by ensuring uninterrupted service with a reliable source of power, thereby enhancing the real-time tracking of crucial patient data such as movements and vitals. For example, wireless power can ensure consistent product monitoring and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals or medications in areas including storage management and asset tracking. This allows healthcare providers to closely monitor expiration dates, shelf life, temperature, humidity and other critical metrics of these medications. This also ensures that medical personnel can instead focus on protecting their patients and can have these materials ready at a moment’s notice.
Ease of Sterilization
Bacteria and infections pose a significant threat in examination and operating rooms, and outdated charging cords are a breeding ground for these germs since it is time-consuming to sanitize and it is also difficult to keep them clean.
Cordless tools that are wirelessly powered reduce this bacteria threat, as these devices can be designed in a manner that allows them to be completely sealed with no open ports required for chargers or batteries. Since medical professionals would typically have to work around the countless cords and openings during the sterilization process, this can then cut down the amount of time that it would normally take for sterilization. This extra time that medical professionals have been taking to sterilize these cumbersome charging cables and battery ports can now be spent focusing on one’s patient health.
Without the need for these IoMT devices to be charged by cords or batteries, wirelessly powered technology also offers an eco-friendly advantage by minimizing e-waste that commonly and eventually ends up in our landfills.
Many IoMT devices also use highly toxic replaceable batteries or cables that directly impact the amount of e-waste stocking our world’s landfills. The EPA reported that there are over 3 billion batteries that are discarded annually. In tandem, the EPA additionally estimates that only 15 to 20% of electronic waste and power cords are properly recycled while the rest is disposed of in landfills. Separately, Statista reported that in 2023 alone, 61.3 million metric tons of e-waste are expected to be generated. Looking ahead to 2024, this number is only anticipated to skyrocket as 74.7 million metric tons of e-waste is projected to occur. If these billions of IoMT devices tap into the capabilities of wireless power, that alone will have a significant impact on the amount of e-waste that we will see appearing in our landfills moving forward.
If the IoMT industry fails to innovate the power solutions for its medical devices, instead relying on outdated methods like replaceable batteries or cumbersome charging cords, it risks not capitalizing on the full potential of these devices. By adopting wireless power technology, the healthcare industry can remove past constraints, setting the IoMT market on a path of unhindered growth and innovation.
Giampaolo Marino is Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Energous.