We live in times when smart devices are becoming more and more widespread. We’ve all probably heard about smart homes or smart cars – things that seemed so unreal at the beginning, yet in just a few years became increasingly common. But, smart devices are not just lifestyle changers.
Internet of Things (IoT) is excessively used in many companies. It is uncommon to see smart trackers, sensors or fridges. And, although we believe that smart lives are a futuristic dream, we are closer to them than ever. Let’s take a look at the hospitals. There are many IoT solutions implemented there. This poses a question: are smart hospitals just our future, or do we have them already? Read this article to find out!
What are smart hospitals?
In order to begin our discussion, we need to define what we mean by the term ‘smart hospitals’. For the purpose of this article, we will define them as medical facilities using IoT devices to improve efficiency and enhance patient’s experience.
According to our definition, smart hospitals should be much better in the administrative area. As a result, the whole process of going through them should be quicker and less tiresome. This should also result in a better customer (or in this case: patient) experience. If it was so, all medical facilities should implement smart solutions, and thus we should be able to observe the results. But we do not, so do they actually exist?
Smart hospitals – the present, or the future?
Answering the question from the last paragraph – yes, hospitals already use smart solutions. Yet, although it is clearly visible from the perspective of a hospital administration, regular people cannot see the effects – apart from the shorter waiting time.
This is mainly because smart hospital solutions are currently used mostly to increase the efficiency of administrative duties and to improve security. As such, these solutions often seem invisible for the patients, although they might have a significant effect on their stay in such places.
How are IoT devices used in smart hospitals?
There are several uses for IoT devices in healthcare. Here are the most common examples:
- Hospital beds management – Tracking devices allow the hospital staff to optimize the bed allocation. This way, the overall waiting time is slightly decreased. Additionally, fewer beds go missing in smart hospitals – the tracking devices allow the staff to locate them and thus stop any thefts.
- Improving security – Using smart devices lets hospital create quicker security networks which alert the staff faster than the standard ones. What is more, it is possible to track every alarm that went off in IoT sensors, and thus create a map of the most at-risk areas in the whole facility.
- Improving patient safety – Another function of smart devices that is commonly used in hospitals, is tracking the temperature in the fridges and freezers. Having a complete set of data from every minute allows the staff to accurately estimate whether the meds are safe to be used.
Smart hospitals exist in present times. We are not aware of them, since their benefits are mostly visible for the hospital management. Yet, while invisible, their advantages apply also to the patients – they have a quicker treatment, in a safer and more secure environment. Thus, using smart devices is a must for any modern medical facilities.