With IoT technologies on the rise, industries such as healthcare seem to turn their full attention towards internet-connected devices, capable to collect and react to data. IoT is extremely beneficial and practical, especially in complex working environments, such as hospitals. Preventing misplacements, IoT tracking devices can be used for tracking real time location (RTLS) of medical equipment like stretchers, wheelchairs or various monitoring equipment (e.g., defibrillators, nebulizers, oxygen pumps etc.). Deployment of the medical staff at different locations can also be analyzed real time. A busy hospital is a place where tracking doctors, nurses, expensive medical equipment, and even hospital beds can be an overwhelmingly complex and challenging task and being able to solve this quick and easy can optimize workflows and sometimes, even save lives.
What are a few of the hospital challenges?
- Slow treatment process and delays in patients’ discharge. Even on normal days, hospitals often do not have sufficient staff to service all the patients that are coming in. Pandemic only escalated this problem and underlined weaknesses in existing healthcare processes and lack of sufficient qualified specialists, etc. IOT can provide the necessary data and information to help speed up and simplify the process of providing medical assistance. It can help monitor patient admission, optimize workflows, correlate staff activity with a number of patients, etc.
- Underfunding and misplacement of resources. Similar to other domains, medicine can be very resource-intensive, and it is not always possible to meet all the requirements. IoT can help locating misplaced resources, monitor usage of various assets (energy consumption monitoring, working hours monitoring) and monitor environment conditions (temperature, humidity). Asset usage monitoring can provide valuable data to assess different investment necessities or facilitate reduction of maintenance costs.
By use of low-power sensors (BLE), our RTLS solution can redefine healthcare specific activities by ensuring better processes and workflows, thus better care and improved treatment outcomes while reducing overall hospital management costs. Ultimately this is reflected in improved performance of the medical act and better patient experience for the healthcare providers. It typically includes location sensors (tackers) that are attached to various assets, be it a staff member or a piece of equipment. Utilizing a unique ID, the system can locate the tracker and give real-time information about its positioning within the facility, at floor level. The unique ID is configurable and allows – by means of different colors and symbols – a meaningful and user- friendly representation on the respective floorplan of the tracked assets. Last but not least, various zones can be defined and smart geofencing rules can be set to generate automatic alarms when such rules are violated.
What are the benefits?
The major advantages of IoT in healthcare include:
- Cost Reduction: IoT enables patient care monitoring in real time, allowing to cut down unnecessary hospital stays and re-admissions;
- Improved Treatment and full transparency of the medical act;
- Equipment Management: Management of medical equipment can be a major challenge in a healthcare facility. Through IOT, these are managed and utilized efficiently with reduced costs;
- Error Reduction: Data generated through the usage of IoT devices ensures smoother healthcare operations with reduced errors, waste, and system costs.
Historical data is stored in a GDPR compliant manner, safe and in large amounts, allowing to trace back different events with high accuracy and providing a reliable basis for post-factum analysis and corrective actions to be taken for improved performance.