The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to touch every industry. Disruptive innovations will, for example, allow for a connected healthcare system that improves not only individual healthcare, but can enhance operational efficiency and advance best, evidence-based practices in the healthcare industry at large.
Greater Operational Efficiency
With the IoT’s connected technology, sensors and tracking devices, healthcare administration will gain the ability to monitor data and service remotely. Opportunities include:
- Real-time tracking of patient diagnostics and information
- Greater productivity of doctors, lab operators and hospital staff who can triage more effectively, access electronic health records more easily, and benefit from applications providing core functionalities for them
- Monitoring of hand hygiene compliance in hospitals to reduce the spread of infections to patients. According to Aditi, “proper hand hygiene only occurs approximately 55% of the time by hospital care providers. In the U.S. alone, healthcare-associated infections have resulted in 99,000 deaths each year and cost $3-4 billion in healthcare costs.”
- Real-time location system technology attached to employee badges and sanitizer stations to enable monitoring and modification of hospital staff compliance
- Application of mobile scanners and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for medical inventories can help ensure hospitals have what they need, where and when they need it
- Spending less time manually managing processes and tracking down resources, leaves healthcare professionals more time to dedicate to patient care and optimizing strategies
Big Data Enhances Best Practices
Healthcare is becoming focused on “evidence-based practice.” The volume of data generated by connected devices is a payload of the needed evidence. Analyzed IoT data can encourage better understanding of how certain determinants of health affect patient populations and inform treatment guidelines.
Additionally, big data capabilities are helping with monitoring disease outbreak and mobilizing response teams. For example:
- The CDC and a Swedish non-profit used big data mobile mapping to contain the Ebola outbreak
- Data collected from bedside monitors of heart rate, respiratory rate and other signs can be analyzed to create a predictive model to anticipate sepsis
- Pharmaceutical tracking could reduce drug counterfeiting while also insuring patient compliance with dosage instructions
To fully leverage the opportunity of connected healthcare, providers will need a horizontal device management platform for the Internet of Things that can offer secure device management and insight into analytics to enhance efficiency and offerings.