4 Ways Hospitals Use IoT To Save Money & Improve Services
The environment hospitals operate in produces a number of challenges. As we are witnessing during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, crisis situations only add to those challenges and bring the very functioning of healthcare institutions in danger.
Internal organization, patient care, and supply chains could all use improvement. Introducing new technologies, such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, or Big Data analytics, is probably the quickest, most logical and cost-efficient way of improving the hospital services.
The use of IoT, especially, helps hospitals enter the new age. Implementation of platforms, such as Oracle JD Edwards IoT Orchestrator, sped up a number of processes within the institution, simplified the hospital-patient relationship, and improved drug and equipment inventory management. We’ll look into 4 ways hospitals use IoT to improve their services and become more efficient.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
The ability of doctors to timely react is often critical to saving a patient’s life. Whether we are talking about the emergency situation or patients with chronic conditions, the distance and time needed to reach the hospital can make the difference between life or death.
Through RPM devices physicians can monitor the patient’s condition in real-time even while they are in their own home and have all of the necessary medical data readily available. Sensors and remote equipment allow the tracking of crucial biometrics, as well as proper medication prescription and dosage.
At the same time, it makes patients more involved in the treatment process and raises their awareness about their health. Since remote patient monitoring reduces the need for on-site treatment, it significantly decreases the cost of patient servicing, frees-up the hospital’s capacity, and makes better use of health professionals’ time.
Staff and Inventory Management
In any other industry, mistakes in inventory can lead to business losses and financial damage. In the healthcare industry, they can cause the loss of lives. Precise tracking of inventory and equipment is crucial for the normal functioning of a hospital.
IoT real-time location devices help healthcare professionals to always have a clear picture of the stock quantities and location of the hospital’s assets. Sensors attached to equipment, drugs, and other resources, besides the location information, can alert of the expiring dates, which is particularly important when storing medicaments.
IoT systems, like Oracle’s JD Edwards, can also track temperature and humidity in storage locations, helping not only preserve drug usability but reduce costs of potential waste.
IoT devices can also help track hospital staff, and get them to patients requiring assistance as soon as possible. Furthermore, they are also capable of providing information on the patients’ whereabouts, which is helpful for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s or similar diseases. Besides, these systems are used to alert for any unauthorized access to the hospital’s restricted areas.
To successfully treat patients, hospitals need to be as clean as possible, and, also, staff hygiene needs to be at the highest level. Easier said than done. Infections associated with health-care are, unfortunately, a constant danger to admitted patients, and staff as well. IoT based monitoring systems help hospital managers improve safety and accountability throughout the organization.
Many institutions already use devices that track and control the route of instruments, equipment, and laundry making sure that proper procedure is observed, especially regarding sterilization. Hand hygiene devices monitor handwashing techniques and behavior of the staff and report on compliance with the rules and dispenser use. Before, hospitals had no way of controlling this and it used to cause serious health hazards.
Hospitals deal with enormous amounts of data on a daily basis. All of this data used to be handled manually, leading to inefficiency and time-wasting of hospital employees.
IoT systems can gather information from remote devices, be it from RPM devices or equipment sensors, and analyze and store it in real-time. This provides doctors and other healthcare experts with ready-to-use data and analytics, significantly cutting both the time needed and cost of treatment.
The data is usually stored in the cloud and easily accessible. This way, for example, the physician can pull and review the medical history of any patient in a matter of seconds. Most importantly the data is presented in a way that medical experts, who are usually not versed in data science, can easily make sense of all the information available.