As we discussed in our HIMSS recap, the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the healthcare industry, and innovations are seemingly introduced every day. But what is the glue that holds this transformation together? Connectivity. Without it, the transformation of an inanimate object to healthcare solution simply isn’t possible.
Whether via Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G network, healthcare IoT solutions depend on reliable connectivity to reduce costs and improve the productivity of the healthcare practitioner. Data needs to flow from the various devices (RFID, NFC, beacons, tablets, watches, etc.) into the cloud or enterprise systems that process and correlate the raw data from devices and things.
One way that IoT—powered by always-on connectivity—improves the patient experience is by enabling a more “hands-free” approach to data entry and instrumentation location:
- Instrumentation of Things: In a world where a “thing” is individually identifiable by mainstream technologies like bar codes, RFID, NFC or by more advanced technologies like image recognition, it becomes possible to track all objects in a healthcare facility, including medical or clinical supplies, pharmaceuticals, surgical or clinical instruments, assets (beds, wheelchairs, beds, infusion pumps, dialysis machines, diagnostic equipment, etc.).
- Instrumentation of Places: In this same world, one can identify locations within a healthcare facility, lobby, waiting rooms, examining rooms, ICU, OR, recovery rooms, supply rooms, etc.
- People Proxies: Though a bit controversial because of privacy concerns, many of the same technologies may be applied to identifying and locating people within a healthcare facility. Devices like a tablet, a smart phone or watch, a wrist band, a badge, allow many activities to be simplified, without any data entry. For example, patient rounds and visits are easily recorded, and charging for services or supplies by location association is not difficult.
- Indoor Location Technologies: With beacon or visual recognition technologies, it is possible to identify the position of things and people, and apply many of the same techniques of GPS-based navigation systems like routes and geo-fences.
- Voice Assistants: Technologies like Siri, Alexa, Go and Cortana can facilitate natural interactions and simplify data entry or documentation tasks.
With reliable connectivity, healthcare organizations can implement IoT solutions that can drastically reduce the time performing clerical tasks and increasing the facetime healthcare practitioners have with their patients. Learn more about how KORE assists healthcare organizations to power their IoT applications.