IoT – The Big Change in Healthcare
By Kapil Asher
You’ve heard it before. The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing an uproar in just about every industry, but it’s especially true in healthcare. IoT is driving the development of innovative solutions so hospitals can focus more on the patient care and less on the equipment that supports that care. So, what’s to come?
The Impact of IoT in Healthcare
Rewind to a short time ago, when we were introduced to Fitbit Flex, the first Fitbit tracker worn on the wrist. Tracking movement 24 hours a day, including sleep patterns. Four years later we’ve got everyone from Apple to Google innovating on smart devices that can measure human vital signs like heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing rates and temperature– all in real time. Patients no longer have to search Google or make unscheduled doctor visits if something doesn’t feel right. Backend analysis integrated with mobile apps are used to monitor the health of a patient and can alert their doctor immediately if something is suspect in their health. So, your watch can tell your phone to tell your doctor that you’re not in good health.
While getting health information from your mobile app isn’t the norm quite yet, we’re very close to seeing this capability ubiquitously once the backend infrastructure of patient to doctor connectivity is seamless and secure. In the coming years, IoT will play a key role in saving lives on a daily basis. It’s a big shift considering the smartphone app was introduced to us only 10 years ago, and now it’s gearing up to save lives.
What Does Accruent Have to Do with IoT in Healthcare?
As a company that provides healthcare facility and asset management software solutions, we’re feeling the big change too. IoT helps in automating the healthcare processes that fail when they depend on humans alone. We’ve noticed a few key things that are helping to take the worry out of the healthcare professionals’ hands and placing the burden on technology – allowing the focus to remain on the patient.
- Monitoring inventory. Inventory has standards to remain clean and ready to use.
- Increasing availability of equipment. Using sensors to locate devices and reduce the delivery times of those devices to nurses means less time for the patient to wait.
- Increase efficiency by redirecting labor. Managing all the equipment and inventory manually can be overwhelming and turnaround time can be lengthy. IoT is alleviating this burden.
- Avoiding wastage. Monitoring refrigerators by way of IoT has proven to avoid costly wastage of expensive medicines and vaccines.
In essence, IoT puts the word “care” back into patient care, rather than healthcare professionals wasting attention and “care” on other operational aspects outside of their hired skill set.
We help hospitals maintain their own “health” with respect to keeping capital costs low, allocating resources appropriately, providing patient care in a timely manner and ensuring the arteries of a hospital are constantly operational.
As IoT becomes more prominent in healthcare, Accruent has its pulse on integrating more “healthful” solutions to provide efficiency like integrating with solutions that monitor expiration dates of pharm items and alert technicians to replace them in a timely manner or integrating solutions with medical device software to alert biomed techs of a device failure and remind them of a service due – two problems that can severely disrupt an effective healthcare experience.
Efficiency is key. Without efficiency, healthcare facilities would fall prey to operational problems leading to perceived shortage of equipment, hoarding of equipment by clinical staff, lack of trust and overall mismanagement.
While it may seem that IoT is becoming the solution for healthcare, it’s really only just beginning and will continue building momentum as the years go on.
About the Author
Kapil Asher has been working on successfully integrating sensors in various industrial applications long before the term “Internet of Things” was ubiquitous. Having deep knowledge of cutting edge technologies, Kapil has been able to leverage their use in creating process efficiencies through automation. As Director of IoT Solutions, Kapil works with hospitals in identifying challenges related to medical equipment availability, compliance on preventive maintenance and monitoring environmental conditions affecting patient care. Leveraging LEAN methodology and technological nuances, he prescribes long-term sustainable solutions to achieve operational excellence and enabling hospital staff to focus on care delivery. Kapil’s specialties include sensor hardware including passive and active RFID, software architecture, data analytics and workflow optimization.