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The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming Hospital Operations

Posted by Kelli Cleary on Apr 23, 2015 1:07:00 PM

In Hospital Operations Management, Departmental Communication, Equipment Availability, Tracking Equipment, IoT Technology

Data is more important than ever in healthcare

Where healthcare sensors once meant things like vital signs monitors for patients, those monitors, and a host of other equipment tied to hospital operations are now streamlined by the Internet of Things (IoT) — generating data that has nothing to do with medicine, but everything to do with delivering exceptional, efficient healthcare.

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Improved auxiliary services

Healthcare is now realizing what retail has been saying for years: it’s all about customer service.IoT devices are generating constant feeds of real time data, not only on patients’ medical conditions, but on their flow throughout the hospital, giving auxiliary service providers like operational staff the ability to better serve a patient’s comfort and care needs. Similarly, clinical staff get their operational requests filled quicker, meaning they can concentrate on their core functions of healing sick patients. Reducing the stresses of a hospital’s clinical staff has long and wide-reaching positive effects like improved turnover rates and, ultimately, better patient outcomes. 

 

Less downtime for revenue-generating equipment

In concert with the equipment’s own data feeds, external wireless sensors provide data that can be used to predict equipment failure and alert technicians to equipment that may need preemptive maintenance. By flagging possible failures before they happen, crews can schedule the service of revenue-generating equipment during the equipment’s downtime. That translates to better-maintained equipment that is almost always available and in service whenever it’s needed. Not only does that positively impact patient care and outcomes, it minimizes revenue loss due to inoperable resources.

More efficient use of equipment

IoT devices are generating data on equipment as well, showing in real-time where it is, who’s using it, and what kind of maintenance it will need before being ready for the next patient. Hospital wireless networks are tracking equipment usage patterns that not only locate available equipment for the immediate need, but also inform the distribution of resources throughout the hospital over time and across sites. The flow of mobile equipment is streamlined, which improves availability and utilization to deliver more and better care with less costly excess equipment.

Quicker bed turnaround

Bed availability is a constant concern for hospitals. Bed turnaround is quicker than ever with the implementation of radio-frequency identification (RFID) and Real Time Location System (RTLS) sensors that feed room status information to operational staff. Working in tandem with data gathered from the hospital’s Admission-Discharge-Transfer (ADT) alerts, these sensors alert staff to room availability for cleaning, and a clean room’s availability for a new patient. By automating room maintenance communications, staff can move quicker than ever to ready a room for the next patient, reducing the amount of time needed to flip a room for those who need it.

In each use case, the theme is efficiency. In a healthcare system charged with delivering more, better and faster care than ever before, efficiency is absolutely vital, meaning operational tasks must be streamlined, with the communications surrounding them made easier through automation. It’s an era of extraordinary challenge to healthcare, but through that challenge, extraordinarily elegant solutions will emerge, enabling high levels of patient care at a lower cost. 

 


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