Smart wards will harness digital technology to provide better and safer care to patients. It will also allow healthcare professionals to spend more time on critical tasks and do their jobs efficiently. With the growing needs of the population, smart wards will enable hospitals to address these issues more effectively.
Implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) in hospitals can make patients more comfortable and help healthcare providers, both doctors and nurses to respond more quickly to emergencies. Smart data processing technology allows patients to connect with smart devices that collect vital signs and health data. These medical IoT devices can then communicate with smartphone applications and send the information to a physician, hospital staff, or cloud platform. One study, conducted by the Center for Connected Health Policy, found that using IoT devices in hospitals reduced the 30-day readmission rate by 50%. This acts as a reasonable platform for the integration of IoT healthcare devices into a hospital ward. So, considering this raising popularity and the benefits smart hospital facilities can bring, we’ve created a 5-steps guide on creating a smart ward for starters.
1. Integrate IoT Medical Devices
The first step in making a smart hospital ward is to integrate different technologies into it. Remote monitoring of a patient’s health status, the performance of medical equipment, and machine learning enabled by the usage of IoT in healthcare allow for better data analytics and hospital management. So, the integration of connected devices into the ward is the first step in making it a smart one.
Adding smart devices to hospital wards can increase efficiency and lower operating costs. For example, some smart healthcare facilities already integrated smart hospital devices, which allow patients to control the temperature and window blinds through their television sets without having to leave their bed or call the nurse. These devices also integrate with the patient’s vital statistics, which saves time and effort for doctors and supplementary personnel when preparing for medical procedures.
Barcodes are a great way to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety. When used properly, barcodes allow for fast data collection and accuracy. Another key advantage of using barcodes in the hospital is that caregivers can easily identify a patient by scanning a barcoded wristband. This eliminates the need to rely on caregivers to manually enter patient information. A single scan can reveal more information than three million characters, making it more reliable than manual data entry.
Barcodes are also helpful in all processes that occur in a smart hospital. They ensure that the proper information is reported back to the hospital’s information system. Barcodes are also useful for tracking a patient’s care and assessing the patient’s progress. They can also help track follow-up appointments. Barcodes are important to patient safety, especially when drugs are administered. In hospitals, nurses should be able to easily see a patient’s medication administration record, so they can make the right decisions and keep them safe.
Wearable devices have the potential to change the way healthcare services are provided. Already, wearables have shown potential in improving patients’ monitoring of vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and oxygen levels. They can enhance provider knowledge, improve efficiency, and prevent human error, so integrating them into a patient care workflow will be a smart choice.
Smartwatches are already widely available, and they can track heart rate, temperature, fitness, and other health metrics. By monitoring these parameters, wearables can also engage patients and provide more holistic care. But smartwatches are not exactly medical devices. Medical wearables are way more diverse and include more features. For example, TEKTELIC eDOCTOR is a perfect choice for continuous health monitoring both in hospital wards and even at home. eDOCTOR measures body temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, and chest expansion, detect sneezing/coughing and has fall detection. It can be comfortably worn under clothes and has a washable adjustable strap for it.
The use of wearables such as eDOCTOR in the hospital ward may also save healthcare costs. For example, now health professionals even in smart hospitals have to go and check patients’ parameters in-person losing time, which can be spent on more important tasks. So, with such type of IoT technologies, hospitals can significantly save on labor costs related to doctors’ overtime.
IoT Solutions for Hospitals
Another type of technology, which can be integrated right into the hospital smart environment is end-to-end solutions. The end-to-end solution usually includes multiple devices, which create a certain ecosystem for accessible monitoring. For example, TEKTELIC has developed an eHEALTH solution, which includes an app, healthcare devices, and gateways. With this end-to-end solution, data analysis, planning, and response time can be several times more optimized. An app that is a part of this solution can solve most of the healthcare services needs; medical practitioners can access all data even from mobile technology. If other doctors need any information about existing patients for deeper medical research on a particular case this solution will be of use as well as it stores all the data related to patients, who ever had TEKTELIC wearables.
The increasing availability of these technologies has made it possible for healthcare providers to actually use IoT healthcare solutions while providing patients with healthcare services. Many IoT medical devices can be used for remote patient monitoring, such as medication reminders, vital signs monitoring, and air quality sensors. With these technologies, healthcare providers are able to monitor patients starting at a smart hospital and ending at their own homes, enabling them to live more independently and be healthier regardless of place. So, as soon as you integrate IoT into a smart hospital ward, you can experience the benefits listed.
2. Accommodate Digital Signage
Digital signage is a great way to inform patients and visitors about different aspects of a medical facility. Digital signage can display schedules, directions, and important information about various areas of the facility. Implemented in the hospital ward, it can be used to display patient status and attendance schedules. It can also provide information about upcoming events and new treatments, as well as current safety measures. Digital signage allows healthcare workers to update the content with the click of a button.
Digital signage is also an effective way for doctors to communicate with other professionals and nurses. Placing signage in hospital wards can let staff and patients know what is happening in real time. This is especially useful when there is an emergency, as staff members will be able to see what’s going on and help the patients in a timely manner.
Another use of digital signage in hospital smart wards is to promote a decent level of hygiene. With such a product of digital transformation, nurses can create messages that remind patients to use hand sanitizer and wear masks. There are also ways to promote better hygiene in the hospital by displaying simple messages such as facts about bacteria found on door handles and their effects on chronic diseases. Digital displays in hospitals are a great way to make these simple messages more effective leading to positive patient outcomes.
TEKTELIC MEMO Display Tablet
Speaking about digital signage, and healthcare IoT devices, we should mention a fully wireless standalone solution called MEMO. It is a display tablet, which is created for custom messaging and is fully wireless. With MEMO, healthcare facilities can display data from numerous devices or deliver other important messages. It supports different languages, has up to 1 year of battery life, and is fully independent of external sources of power.
Using MEMO as a means of digital signage can help a traditional hospital improve its workflow and create a more pleasant experience for patients and staff. Using digital signage in a hospital can reduce patient waiting time, increase staff satisfaction, and prevent accidents from occurring. It can also help hospitals streamline communication with patients and medical field workers, which can help improve the overall workflow. Additionally, the use of MEMO will eliminate the need for extra staff, saving healthcare organizations money and time.
3. Synchronize Ward Data with the Cloud
Considering big amounts of data involved in the healthcare industry, extensive cloud storage is very important. Besides, cloud computing can be used to run medical applications. For example, entering a medical ward, the doctor may need to monitor the patient’s ECG data. If the information is stored in the cloud server, medical workers can access it in real-time without a need to go to the archive room and look for it losing precious time. The system can be connected to each ward separately, so it is capable of supporting the necessary amount of patients’ documents. If necessary, the number of patients can be increased or decreased depending on the size of the ward.
The main benefit of cloud computing is that it provides a reliable, scalable, and efficient way to access collected data. In addition to being able to access required health data from a remote location, cloud computing allows the use of medical applications to store, monitor, and analyze patient data creating clinical decision support systems. Cloud computing can also be used to store patient medical information, making it easier for doctors to share information and see the results of interactions.
Besides, a cloud-based medical application can also help healthcare institutions manage assets. Cloud-connected medical equipment comes with tags that allow healthcare professionals to access data about its condition and availability. This makes it easier for them to identify equipment and disinfect it or fix it, as needed.
4. Ensure Reliable Security System
IoT systems collect data in huge amounts, which makes data security a top priority for smart health infrastructure. As a result, IoT providers together with smart hospitals should develop secure hardware and software to ensure the privacy and security of patient health data. The risk of a breach of privacy is one of the biggest concerns when using the Internet of Things in the healthcare system. Hackers can compromise medical devices to access patient information, which can result in inaccurate vital metrics, which could lead to wrong medication dosages and have life-threatening consequences.
While most IoT devices run on public cloud infrastructures, these environments can be susceptible to vulnerabilities. Therefore, specific security measures need to be implemented to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to patient data. Another concern is a potential distributed denial-of-service attack, which can disrupt healthcare operations. This type of attack is a major concern, but it can be mitigated by a number of methods. One method involves using sophisticated fingerprinting to determine the operating system and software services available to the device. Another security method relies on tagging the devices that are connected to the network. This step is critical for IoT security, as many devices are connected without IT administrators’ knowledge.
5. Connect Voice-Based Control
Voice-based control can improve the way healthcare specialists interact with patients while they are in hospital wards. Using voice technology, doctors and nurses can direct patients to appropriate departments and services without visiting them in person. In addition, patients can tell medical personnel when they need a specific service. This eliminates the need to interact with staff directly and saves hospitals time and money. In general, voice control can improve patient engagement in health management.
Voice-based control is a great way to improve patient care by giving caregivers and patients more control over their health. Voice-transferring devices can also give patients suggestions for overcoming the side effects of certain drugs right away they send an inquiry on that to a nurse. It can help elderly patients remember to take their medicines on time and guide them through emergency situations. In addition, the technology can even be used to prepare personalized care plans for patients.
Boston Children’s Hospital has already implemented several pilot programs in the hospital involving speech recognition (Boston Children’s Hospital, 2022). It can be incredibly useful for those who have difficulty with writing or controlling their hands in general. The hospital plans to implement more programs of such kind in the near future as it proved to be useful.
By integrating IoT in healthcare, hospital staff can access real-time information about a patient’s health and well-being. Smart healthcare devices can also help track visitor information and help the hospital manage resources. In addition, hospital staff can access data through mobile devices, which makes clinical processes easier.
Smart healthcare IoT systems include automation systems and solutions for flow control and inventory management. Internet of Things solutions can reduce operational costs, improve patient flow, and increase revenue. Smart hospitals also help physicians and nurses become more productive. A hospital with the Internet of Things will be able to respond to patient needs faster.
Smart hospital devices deployed in the wards, in turn, can also improve the patient experience by reducing nurse calls and reducing response times for patient falls. Patients will also feel more comfortable and less anxious because of access to real-time medical information. In addition, smart technology can reduce waiting times and increase the therapeutic effect of treatments. At the same time, smart hospitals integrate various technologies to make the entire environment more efficient, and to make your facility smart you have to follow a certain guide. We hope that our guide on the Internet of Things integration into a smart hospital will be helpful to you and if you are in search of an IoT-based healthcare services provider, feel free to contact our sales team, they’ll gladly help you with this matter.
- Boston Children’s Hospital. (2022). Jay S. Fishman ALS Augmentative Communication Program | What is Speech Recognition Software?. Retrieved 20 September 2022, from https://www.childrenshospital.org/programs/als-augmentative-communication-program/access-occupational-therapy/what-speech-recognition-software