Changed global health reality accelerates IoT
Covid accelerated what was necessary – Healthcare Digitisation
A global pandemic accelerated healthcare facilities’ adoption of technology when large patient numbers placed extreme stress on such facilities around the world. While the worst of the impact of the pandemic has now lifted, hospitals, clinics and even private practices are now actively reviewing operations to improve efficiencies and drive cost reductions.
The realities brought upon in 2020 accelerated the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions as this technology improves business processes and unlocks efficiencies in relatively short time frames. A research report by Inmarsat shows that organisations have become significantly more proficient in leveraging IoT and the data it generates to streamline their supply chains. Companies are now shifting to ‘Digital Twin’ models of their value chains, effectively making each stage visible and trackable in digital form.
Ernst & Young states that what began as a necessary shift toward digitally enabled remote care has already reshaped care delivery in the near term in the US. “For example, nearly half of Medicare primary care visits in April 2020 were via telemedicine (43.5%) compared with less than 1% in February (0.1%). What remains unclear is whether the surge in telemedicine has made consumers and physicians more open to virtual care in the future and whether it will accelerate health care organizations’ journey towards a smart health ecosystem.”
How IoT is delivering Benefits for Hospitals
In South Africa, IoT innovator IoT.nxt rolled out a smart hospital solution during the height of the pandemic to create a connected environment that is responsive to the inputs from smart technologies installed at the hospitals, and that interacts with hospital managers to empower them with new levels of visibility and actionable information.
IoT in healthcare can deliver a range of improved business operations. These include:
- Integration with queue management systems at hospitals to ensure relevant service and capacity planning is maintained
- Display a view of all connected hospitals with the capability to drill down to specific sites (hospitals)
- Allows for centralized monitoring of all areas of the hospital in the format of a Digital Twin style interface
- Visualize and manage average time spent by patients per department to determine economic feasibility, process efficiency and real time suggested actions
- Dashboard reporting to provide operational insight such as:
- Visibility of the total number of admissions and visitors to the facilities over time
- Visualize alarms and alerts based on predefined thresholds
- Raise alarms and alerts at selected for beyond-average time spent by patients at the facility and department
- Push-based notifications are sent on critical alarms to a select group of decision-makers or operations managers to act accordingly.
- Compare queueing times across hospitals to advise resource planning initiatives.
Several aspects of healthcare operations can be improved using IoT technology.
- Medical device subscription billing solutions
- Integration of usage data with billing data
- SLA -based fees & monthly usage bills
- Predictive maintenance of devices
- 38% increase in subscription revenue
- 28% reduction in maintenance cost
- Higher margins
- Medical device workflow solutions
- Devices can be integrated with scheduling systems to improve patient flow
- Reduction in wait times
- Predictive maintenance
- Ability to have devices reserve other devices based on procedures (e.g., CT scans)
- Asset usage availability solutioning
- Access to asset usage information to drive improved awareness around availability and maintenance processes
- Future asset needs can be modelled based on historical usage
- An asset sharing network can be developed with adjacent health services
- 28% reduction in capital spending on assets
- 27% reduction in maintenance costs
- Improved patient outcomes by reducing times in hospitals
- 18% reduction in operating costs
The rise and rise of Telemedicine
EY’s report further noted that for physicians, adoption of telemedicine was a medical and business imperative, not an option. Use of telephone and video exploded from 20% to over 80%, making virtual care available at most practices almost overnight. This trend was true not only for primary care and speciality practices but also for brick-and-mortar facilities such as hospitals and ambulatory care centers. In this instance, the procurement of critical medication can be tracked from point of dispatch to receiving.
Physicians report that shifting as much care as possible to virtual channels enabled them to attend to more patients during the pandemic than would have been possible otherwise. The near-universal adoption of telemedicine may explain why very few physicians believe their practices lost patients to remote providers during the pandemic. However, practices with deeper digital capabilities and attractive digital front doors may have a long-term advantage in access to patients and a more satisfying customer experience. Thus, it is not surprising that the vast majority of physicians (81%) plan to accelerate their introduction of new digital technologies. Another 63% will make moderate or significant investments in these technologies in the next three years.
IoT.nxt, bridging the edge
Speak to us at [email protected] to find out how you can gain an advantage in the healthcare space. No rip or replace – our technology is designed to seamlessly intersect your daily running to give insight in the shortest timeframes. It’s still your business, only smarter.
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