One common assumption is that healthcare providers are laggards when it comes to IoT adoption. However, a recent Gartner survey of healthcare CIOs says otherwise. Healthcare CIOs have firmly embedded IoT into their operations, for both clinical care delivery and business processes.
The definition of IoT has expanded to include traditional connected medical devices and healthcare-specific devices, such as lab equipment and real-time location systems. Healthcare providers also use IoT in the back office in the form of HVAC control and physical security systems. Here’s how healthcare CIOs are using IoT across several functional areas, according to the survey:
- Security: Video surveillance, door locks/entry systems, fire alarms
- Building management: Power monitoring, power distribution, energy consumption/ management, elevators
- Environmental controls: HVAC, lighting, room control, water quality, humidity monitoring, tissue/ blood refrigerators
- Medical devices: Smart medical devices, infusion pumps, ventilators, incubators, telemetry, smart stethoscopes, medical imaging
- Clinical monitors: Electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, pulse oximetry, ventilators, capnography monitors, depth of consciousness monitors, regional oximetry, bio patch technology, respiratory rate
Smart patient room
- Smart beds, hand hygiene, fall detection
- Remote ICU telemetry
Remote wellness/chronic disease management
- Implantable device monitoring
- Pacemakers, defibrillators, neurostimulators
- Wristbands, bio patches, smartwatches, earbuds
Remote clinical monitors
- Spirometer, pulse oximeter, ECG, glucometer, fall detection
Real-time location services
- Asset tracking: Wheelchairs, infusion pumps, smart cabinets, medication carts, PAR-level management, rental management
- Employees: Physicians, nursing staff, ancillary staff
- Patients: Infant abduction, flight risk, wandering systems
- Visitors: Wayfinding, digital signage
7 Benefits of Hospital Asset Tracking
1. Remote Patient Monitoring
IoT devices provide easy access to patient data and enable hospital staff to provide high-quality care to more patients. Remote patient monitoring systems reduce costs and increase efficiencies for the hospital, reduce the risk of burnout for hospital staff, and spare the inconvenience of travel for the patient. This is a huge advantage, especially if the patient has limited mobility.
2. Reduce Patient Wait Times
Real-time tracking of hospital staff, patients, and medical equipment improves visibility and helps staff ensure availability before a scheduled appointment. Patients can get real-time notifications about any changes, allowing them to plan in advance, giving them greater control over their time, and helping you manage patient flow. Hospitals can predict events before they happen and optimize resource usage.
3. Smart Pills
Smart pills contain microscopic IoT sensors that can track whether a patient has ingested their medication. They can send alerts to mobile devices and remind patients to take medication on time, ensure the right dosage, and inform doctors while prescribing future medication. Patients and medical professionals can access this information through their smartphones to track patient health and take action when needed.
4. Hospital Inventory Management
Hospitals have an ongoing supply of medicines that are manually counted and updated in the database. This is time-consuming and there is a possibility of human errors during documentation. The use of RFID tags can streamline this process by automating hospital inventory management. Staff can read the labels on hospital drugs using handheld scanners and instantly update their records. Verifying the authenticity of the drugs is also a major issue because of the proliferation of counterfeit medicines. Hospitals need to be extra careful and use RFID tags to authenticate their medicine supply. IoT-enabled hospital asset tracking solutions can be used to set up a minimum threshold level to avoid inventory shortages. Automatic purchase orders are triggered every time this level is reached.
5. Updating Patient Records
Patient history tracking allows doctors to give better prescriptions and provide the required care. Hospitals are using RFID wristbands with patient data to keep track of their patients’ medical history. This is useful while managing patients with a long medical history as crucial details like allergies can be accessed through the RFID wristbands in emergency situations.
6. Maintenance Scheduling
Surgical tools and equipment are used regularly in most hospitals and need to be sterilized frequently, or it can cause infection in patients as well as the hospital staff. Hospital asset tracking systems can help you set up a maintenance schedule for all your medical equipment and tools. You can track maintenance schedules in real-time and get notified when repair sessions need to be scheduled. IoT solutions also help you maintain and update tool records with the maintenance history of each tool through automated medical equipment tracking. You can also assign specific maintenance instructions as recommended by the manufacturer to extend the life of your equipment.
7. Predictive Maintenance
Hospitals use state-of-the-art equipment, some of which can save or sustain human life. IoT devices can track how this equipment is performing, to avoid any issues due to outages or system failures. You can alert hospital staff if there’s a problem and complete any repairs before the machine fails. Not only is predictive maintenance more cost-effective, but it also keeps critical equipment such as CT scanners, ventilators, etc. running at peak efficiency.