The IoT is transforming how healthcare providers access and use data. Credit: STANLEY Healthcare

In an increasingly wireless and connected world, many hospitals and healthcare facilities are connecting to Internet of Things (IoT) devices to enhance security, safety, operational efficiency and the patient and resident experience.

Gabi Daniely, the vice president of solutions, products and marketing at STANLEY Healthcare, a company that has outfitted over 5,000 hospital and healthcare systems with IoT solutions, said new technology allows hospitals to enhance how they do business and improve a number of crucial services provided at the facilities.

“In the acute space we are looking at infant protection, patient protection and staff protection,” Daniely said in an exclusive interview with R&D Magazine.

For infant protection, Daniely said the products Stanley offers have resulted in less incidents involving infants being taken from their mothers, either accidently or maliciously, by tagging each infant.

“It is basically a wireless system that enables you to prevent infant abduction but also to prevent mother-baby mismatches,” he said.

In total, hospitals using STANLEY products tag 1.5 million infants each year in 1,600 hospitals worldwide.

Similar tagging technology is also used for high-risk patients, including patients in psych wards, pediatric departments, trauma units and dementia and Alzheimer’s units.

Improving safety

According to Daniely, one of the most important abilities of IoT wireless technology is that it can help curtail some of the violent situations that can occur in hospitals.

“Unfortunately violence in the hospitals is something that is pretty common and there is a lot of violent incidents where staff members are being attacked,” he said. “They need to have a means to be able to alert and call for help in a situation and not just go to the nurse’s desk and hit a call button somewhere under the desk.

“This is where you do need those wireless types of technologies that have a pervasive coverage,” he added. “Wherever you are, wherever you get dragged to you will be able to call for help and get notification that help is on the way and get the required assistance.”

Visual dashboards displaying data from IoT sensors help ER staff optimize patient flows. Credit: : STANLEY Healthcare

Improving health

The patient experience can also be improved via IoT technology. Many hospitals are outfitted with sensors that allow a better monitoring of temperature, humidity and differential pressure, which both aids to the general comfort of patients, while fostering conditions that do not promote bacteria in the rooms.

The sensors also allow refrigerator units to maintain a desired temperature, which allows better storage for vaccines and other items, including breast milk.

“The vaccines that they are going to have are going to be stored at the right temperatures and when a refrigerator goes out of those thresholds then you will be able to get those results,” Daniely said.

Daniely said STANLEY’s sensors also can better monitor wait times for doctors and equipment, which ultimately leads to better scheduling practices and reduced wait times.

With IoT outfitted in thousands of hospitals and healthcare facilities, Daniely said the next step is to use the technology to improve analytics.

“Now that you’ve collected the data and the IoT tools and the IoT hardware and sensors are becoming more accessible you are just getting more and more data,” he said. “How do you basically drive that data into a data warehouse and actually go into detailed analytics on the trends and be able to optimize workflows and do much more with that data.”

“How can we actually prevent something from happening based on this data, based on the trends that we analyzed,” he added. “This ties into artificial intelligence, how do we actually analyze the patterns and based on those patterns predict better.”