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How the IoT can help the healthcare industry

By having a resilient WiFi network, healthcare providers can begin to adopt technology, such as the Internet of Things, to help with their day-to-day operations.

Nearly 60% of healthcare providers have introduced some form of IoT devices to their facilities, with 87% hoping to have implemented some by the end of 2019.

These technologies can help patients and citizens have greater control over their health and wellbeing, reduce administrative burden for health professionals, and allow for efficient maintenance.

Not only will adopting new technologies help the healthcare industry run more smoothly and efficiently but will also save them time and money. 

Care

The first way that new technologies could help the healthcare industry is through remote health monitoring.

Healthcare providers could provide online appointments with patients, monitor their condition, and decide whether they require an appointment or if they can be treated at home. This would work well for those with chronic illnesses, as 39% prefer online consultations to face-to-face medical appointments.

In the Five Year Forward View, the government outlined their plan to expand the set of NHS accredited apps that patients will be able to use to organise and manage their own health and care. They also aim to have family doctor appointments and repeat prescriptions available routinely online everywhere.

Implementing this could help cut down the amount of unnecessary appointments in doctors’ surgeries that are already overstretched. 

Emergency care

The NHS is overstretched, and A&E waiting times are at an all time high. In 2016, 40% of patients in A&E were sent home without treatment, and just over 18% were admitted to the hospital.

Patients accessing care online can help reduce queues at the hospital, with non-emergent cases being treated from the comfort of their own home. This will also save the NHS money as fewer resources will be used. 

Electronically recorded data

Most patients in hospital are hooked up to multiple machines collecting data that needs to be recorded to monitor their health. It is the role of the nurses to manually collect and record this data, which can be a tedious and time-consuming process.

There is no surprise that nearly 64% of IoT in the healthcare industry is patient monitors as implementing this technology could help relieve nurses from this duty and could help minimise any errors. 

Medical information

In 2005, the NHS started to deploy electron health records across its trusts in the UK, with the goal to have all patients with a centralised electronic heath record by 2010. However, this plan failed due to its £12 billion price tag.  

In 2014 the UK government reassessed the situation, and aims to have all patient records digital, real-time and interoperable by 2020, making healthcare largely paperless. By having hospital records digitalised, the transferring of patients to other healthcare providers is smoother and the chance or errors is minimised. 

Tracking devices

NHS Scotland have begun to pilot IoT, with Caithness General Hospital using IoT-enabled beds. The beds are equipped with Bluetooth sensors, enabling them to relay information about their location and maintenance records.

Having this information can help save time looking for hospital equipment, and can ensure that their condition is regularly monitored, allowing for early maintenance prevention work.

Conclusion  

Having a resilient WiFi network infrastructure can be used as a framework for the delivery of vital services, allowing hospitals to begin introducing IoT technologies.

Pinacl have provided Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board hospitals across North Wales with LAN equipment, helping to improve the health and wellbeing of 678,000 people.

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