Even if you don’t realize it, you are already familiar with the Internet of Things. Do you have an Alexa or Google Home in your house? There are tons of applications in the home for IoT, and now the technology is entering the workplace. In healthcare, how is the IoT making the field more reliable and efficient for patients as well as workers? Let’s take a closer look at the future of healthcare.
Real-time location systems, or RTLS, are an amazing feat of technology that allows healthcare workers to expedite care and improve customer service. It’s a tag that can be attached to a patient, caregiver, or equipment to report the location in real-time. For example, it can be integrated into a staff ID card and use RFID to indicate the location of that staff member to ensure they’re where they need to be at any given time. It can be integrated into systems like electronic medical records, computerized maintenance schedules, patient discharge and transfer, and access control.
You know how your Fitbit tracks your health stats and shares that data with your platform of choice to create reports? IoT technology in healthcare environments can do the same thing. For example, hospital beds can be fitted with similar monitoring devices that allow for real-time access to vitals and other data to assist in immediate treatment. These smart beds can even prevent bedsores.
Of course, the internet of things may be best used to monitor patients throughout the care cycle in a clinic or hospital. Most of the time, patients are brought into the hospital, and vitals are taken during triage. Then this information is entered into the computer or shared with the other caretakers on the team. With the Internet of Things, this can be monitored in real-time and compile the data to be reported immediately.
This is where the most significant benefit of IoT technology in the healthcare industry comes in. When patients rely on the human translation of medical data from system to system, things may not remain consistent. Through no fault of your own, merely through the way human brains are designed to function, information can be off by fractions of degrees. The data collected by the IoT is fast and accurate and stored as Big Data that can be accessed and parsed based on a variety of criteria.
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