Smart Building Technology’s Ability to Transform the Healthcare Industry

Do you believe a time will come when buildings used across various industries will become smarter? This groundbreaking idea can help with multiple tasks such as energy management, prevention of fire outbreaks, building maintenance among others. Even if the concept sounds somewhat vague and not impossible, people think that such a possibility can help with issues linked to a particular industry.

One of such sectors where IoT can make a significant impact is in the field of healthcare. Its basic principles can be applied to improve access to various health care departments, increase the quality of care and also reduce the cost of healthcare delivery.

This article comes at a time when 70% of individuals want their doctors to monitor their health remotely. Furthermore, 81% of people under the age of 45 want to know more about IoT and share data with their doctors. These statistics show that both medical personnel and patients are becoming interested in the immense benefits of using IoT to improve healthcare delivery.

Do you want to know about the Internet of Things and how it can make a positive Ability to Transform the Healthcare Industry? Well, read this article to discover a whole new way of boost healthcare industry without the problems associated with it.

Issues with Traditional Health Care Delivery

When it comes to offering high levels of patient satisfaction, the present method of healthcare delivery performs poorly. Healthcare facilities have access to an immense pool of resources which are not efficiently distributed thereby bringing poor organisation and numerous unwanted functions.

Patients fail to meet their appointments with their doctors or visit the wrong departments. For instance, patients with less severe conditions flood emergency rooms assigned for life-threatening cases.

Over the years, patients waiting times have risen. For example between November 2016 and March 2017, more than 290,000 patients in the UK waited for more at least four hours before admission -an increase from about 70,000 in 2015.

Apart from the patients, the present healthcare system also affects the way medical personnel work. Hospital employees make clerical errors when inputting records thereby forcing files to be recovered by hand. All these examples lead to healthcare facilities being disorganised, inefficient and less likely to satisfy the needs of a growing population.

Furthermore, healthcare centres demand a lot of financial resources especially when patients fail to meet their appointments. Missed appointments cost the U.S. health care sector more than $150 billion annually with estimates showing the effects on doctors can reach up to $150,000 yearly. Meanwhile, an average of 289 people handle hospital bills between the periods of visit and storage. This observation makes us understand that the chances of introducing errors at each point of contact to the system are quite high.

Apart from financial resources, hospitals consume a large amount of energy. Between 2008-2009 and 2011-12, the NSW health recorded a 47 per cent increase in the Energy cost ($81.8 million to $120.4 million). Their findings also showed that for a given unit of energy, the expenditure increased close to 51 per cent ($18 per gigajoule to $27 per gigajoule). All these expenses could have been minimised if efficient energy control measures were in place.

In a regular hospital, lighting, space heating, and water heating represent about 65 % of total energy use. This amount of power consumes a large amount of funds which management could use in buying new equipment and improving the welfare of staff and patients.

Ultimately all these situations lead to an incredible amount of waste which are preventable with the right application of smart building technology.

How Smart Buildings Can Improve Traditional Health Care Delivery

Before we talk about Smart Buildings, we need to understand the Internet of things or IoT for short. IoT consists of cloud-based software, hardware and sensor networks that enable regular items to be smarter and able to interact with other objects and humans.

With IoT, we can connect our devices and procedures online thereby bringing buildings to the futuristic idea of smart buildings envisaging the needs of its occupants or in the case of the healthcare industry, a hospital that offers improved services. The complete integration of IoT into structures where we work or live provides spaces that promote efficiency and maximum satisfaction.

Provides Optimal Care for Patients

For example, a medical centre transformed into a smart building could connect to a patient’s smartphone to guide them to free parking spaces, through the facility to the right department and even to the shortest queue at the reception. Patients could also receive their forms in advance, have them filled and make payments quickly. A smart building can also guide patients to their appointed exam rooms.

These are examples of how smart buildings can help patients move easily within hospital buildings allowing them to utilise the right resources and avoid spending too much time in the waiting rooms. It further frees up the emergency rooms from less severe conditions.

Apart from helping with the movement of patients, smart building technology can help with the earlier mentioned problems in the following ways.

Reduces Energy Consumption

As previously mentioned hospitals demand a lot of power, making them energy intensive and, thus searching for an energy efficient solution should top the management’s agenda.

Since switching off medical equipment is not a wise decision, health centres can save power by adjusting temperature and lighting in the building. This measure will save the facility money and save energy.

Smart building technology enables a network which consists of mechanical and lighting systems in a hospital. It can adjust the internal conditions of the buildings based on selected settings. Such adjustments include switching off unused lights in empty rooms and increasing or decreasing the temperature of a place based on its occupancy.

Ensures Access Control in Sensitive Areas

Smart building technology also enables access control that does not only regulate entry into the facility but also ensures tracking and reporting of various on-site activities. Access control provides a safe environment for patients, staff, and visitors. With the presence of an automated system of designated sensors, management can hand out cards which permit staff into specific areas for a specified period. These cards can also prevent visitors from wandering into restricted areas such as operating rooms.

Regulates HVAC Services

Designated sensors in a smart space can monitor the internal temperature of the building based on preferred settings. For instance, a patient’s rooms will need adjustments based on the temperature outside the building. Other places such as operating rooms and storage rooms require lower temperatures which a smart HVAC system can also provide.

Helps against Fire Outbreaks

Like all buildings, hospitals are prone to fire outbreaks however a smart structure can contain a fire and request immediate help. It can also notify occupants of the building and determine if the fire alarm is a false alarm.

Benefits of Integrating IoT/EMIoT with Traditional Healthcare Delivery

The Internet of Things is one of the innovative ideas today, and one of the ways this technology operates is via smart LED lights. These devices work great with IoT networks to enhance the user experience from managing buildings to checking in for surgery. EMIoT or Emergency Lightning Internet of Things uses lights to interact with other sensors to provide solutions to various problems.

Here are some ways this technology can help the healthcare industry offer better services and achieve higher levels of patients comfort.

Helps with Tracking Supplies

Pharmacies and healthcare facilities can use IoT/EMIoT applications to track items the same way retail stores track inventory with the technology. Items that can be monitored with IoT include equipment use or supplies that need to be reordered.

Helps Occupants of the Building with Directions

Applications connected to the IoT network can offer arrival time instructions and directions based on the entrance or parking area through which patients and staff enter the hospital. Visitors or temporary medical personnel, clerical staff can also be provided with this service by management.

Informs Patients of their Appointments

The applications can also send notifications to each patient’s phone in a language of their choice about the details of their upcoming appointments with their doctors. The features include the time and the exam room of the meeting. The system can also send messages about any changes in location and time.

Improve Efficiency and Performance

With the use of devices such as wristbands or ID badges connected to the network, the hospital’s management can track any administrative barriers that might slow efficiency and hinder limit performance.

Provide Data Analytics

Smart wristbands worn by patients can track a massive amount of biometric data which medical personnel can use to discover more about the health conditions of individuals and whole populations. Results gathered can help improve healthcare practices and speed up medical research.

Saves Time

By implementing IoT solutions in healthcare, medical centres can enhance patient monitoring in real time which may lead to a reduction in the number of visits to a medical practitioner.

Encourages Favourable Treatment Results

Sensors connected to cloud computing or any other virtual framework may permit healthcare providers to collect real-time data to help them in decision making and administer the right treatments. Assuring better healthcare delivery and favourable treatment results.

Monitors the Internal Conditions in Real Time

IoT devices can monitor the internal conditions of a building which include pressure, temperature, humidity, and air quality. For instance, an American healthcare provider installed wireless sensors in its refrigerators, freezers, and laboratories to ensure medical supplies are stored in suitable temperatures.

Reduces Risk of Errors

Accurate data collection and smart workflows combined with informed decisions dramatically help to eliminate wastage and diminish errors.

Conclusion

IoT based technology can make vast improvements in various sectors of the nation’s economy. One area that needs a quick fix is the healthcare industry. The urgency comes at a time when numerous individuals are calling for its use in enhancing healthcare delivery.

Longer waiting times, missed appointments, inefficiency and poor delegation of resources are some of the issues plaguing this industry. However, with the implementation of modern technology, these issues can become things of the past.

Buildings that served as regular medical facilities can now become networks of efficiency and connectivity. This concept known as Smart Buildings rose as a result of current technologies based on IoT (Internet of Things). One of such techniques is the cost-effective EmIoT or Emergency Lightning of Things.

This upgrade to Smart Building Technology can help with numerous functions in a healthcare facility. Such services include: regulation of internal conditions; energy conservation; fire control; asset tracking and offering directions to the occupants of the building. They can also help with better results from treatments and reduce the bottlenecks that hinder efficiency in the establishment.

WBS Technology: The Leading Expert in IoT/EMIoT Solutions for Healthcare Facilities

Implementation of IoT solutions goes beyond offering ideas to solve infrastructural issues. They also have practical applications in fittings and hospital equipment. A new wave of smart LED lights can collect data related to health facilities occupants and its use of its resources. These lights also communicate with other sensors to monitor movements within the building complex. However, to enjoy the benefits of this technology, you need a solutions provider that can offer the best services.

One of such firms is WBS Technology. This company harnesses EMIoT to enable a network of sensors to make any building alive and smarter. The sensors will assist the health care provider in providing the highest levels of health care and ensure quality performance.

However, most IoT infrastructure demands huge capital and maintenance outlay with the installation of cabling and hardware. Alternatively, other types of communication such as WiFi have poor coverage which is enhanced only with expensive equipment.

WBS handles this challenge by providing a cost-effective wireless system that implements Long-Range communication (LoRa) that features a low bandwidth and consumes minimal energy. The wireless system also can penetrate at extreme levels thus covering a healthcare facility completely. The EMIoT network utilises emergency lighting as access points for complete building network coverage whilst ensuring emergency lighting regulations with remote automatic testing.

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Olivia Dibia

Olivia Dibia

Olivia Dibia is a freelance article and blog writer from Canada. She has a strong-driven passion for technology, but her work has covered a wide range of topics.