Health and well-being are something that matters to all of us – from eating right and getting exercise to treating our health conditions. The best care is more than just visiting a good hospital. In the age of the iPhone, there’s an entire universe of data, software and hardware that accommodate our health needs. Let’s dive into the world of healthcare and discover what valuable new role the hospital has to play in this age of data and IoT devices.
How time slows down in hospitals
Whether you’re a doctor or a patient, you need to rely on a system where there’s no confusion or time to waste. Yet, that’s hardly the case with most hospitals. The usual scenario goes like this: instead of actually attending to the patient in need, the hospital staff often gets stuck manually gathering patient information or trying to locate the medical equipment needed for an intervention. Meanwhile, the patient is waiting, confused and frustrated.
Here is a broad picture on how time gets wasted in hospitals:
- On average, people spend 121 minutes for every doctor’s visit. People waste 64 minutes of that time waiting for care or filling out forms (Harvard Medical School study);
- At least 1 in 3 nurses spends an hour or more per shift searching for medical equipment, which rounds up to every nurse wasting 40 hours per month just searching;
- In 16% of the cases, nurses give up the search after failing to find the medical asset they need (NursingTimes.net survey).
The time invested in manually gathering medical information or searching for equipment is actually the time that should be dedicated to patient care. This might be why patients sometimes wait in the emergency room even up to four hours. It’s an unfair experience and, in some cases, all that lost time becomes life-threatening.
How IoT saves hospitals time and money
Hospitals need to give more consideration to eliminating redundant routines that take time away from caring for patients. Because fixing this major pain inherently solves a lot of interdependent problems, from improving the patient’s experience to streamlining hospital flows and cutting down the overhead. Fortunately, emerging technologies like the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence come with brilliant solutions for solving this expensive equation of lost time.
Just to give you one example, IoT can help hospitals track and manage medical assets without effort. The analytics component of IoT solutions enables the hospital staff better manage and streamline medical information and utilization of equipment. They no longer need to manually search for assets or gather patient information. With indoor location tracking platforms, they have instant access to corroborated data, which gives them time to focus on what truly matters – delivering patient care.
With technology already filling up our homes and personal lives, we would expect to see the same thing in hospitals too. Even though it’s not happening as fast as we need it to, Gartner reassures us that by the end of 2020, 40% of large health systems will shift from digital health pilot programs to full-scale rollouts, up from less than 5% in 2017. With a 35% growth across 3 years, we can at least say there’s hope on the horizon.