The healthcare sector today faces a multitude of challenges that require continuous development in order to meet increasing demands and the shortage of skilled workers. The digitalisation of processes is a promising answer to these challenges. In this article, you will learn how digitalisation can optimise processes in the healthcare sector and thus save costs and relieve staff.
What does digital healthcare mean?
Digitisation in healthcare refers to the integration of digital technologies and solutions to improve the efficiency, quality and accessibility of healthcare.
The applications can be very versatile. In addition to electronic patient shares, telemedicine, robot-assisted surgery, IoT solutions such as wearables and smart buildings also ensure greater efficiency in the healthcare sector. As experts for the Internet of Things (IoT), we will go into more detail below on how IoT solutions can create added value in the healthcare sector.
Before we turn to the concrete applications of IoT solutions in healthcare, it is important to understand the concept of IoT. IoT means "Internet of Things" and refers to the networking of physical devices and objects via the internet. These devices and objects are equipped with sensors, actuators and communication technologies that enable them to collect data, exchange information and respond to commands without direct human interaction.
Digital infrastructure creates more overview
In the digitalisation of healthcare, IoT solutions have the potential to improve the efficiency, safety and quality of patient care. This is because by integrating smart sensors that capture data in real time and using the latest communication technologies, IoT solutions enable seamless networking of medical devices, facilities and medical staff. This intelligent networking creates a digital infrastructure that provides a comprehensive overview of the health status of patients, the operation of medical facilities and the use of resources. With this knowledge, decision-makers can make informed, data-driven decisions and optimise processes. The following practical applications show how the IoT optimises everyday processes by networking objects.
1.Precise temperature monitoring: protection for medicines, samples and foodstuffs
The temperature ranges of medicinal products specified by the manufacturer may not be exceeded or undercut during storage in pharmacies - this is stipulated by the Pharmacy Operating Regulations.ApBetrO §4, §29The situation is similar for foodstuffs. The EU Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on food hygiene, which came into force on 1 January 2006, makes it obligatory for everyone who handles food or puts it into circulation to establish a HACCP concept. HACCP concepts are internal self-control systems to guarantee food safety for the consumer and also provide for the documentation and control of temperatures.
Often, the checks are carried out and documented manually, which is time-consuming and labour-intensive, offers an increased risk of errors and makes evaluation difficult. This is where IoT-enabled sensors provide a remedy. Because they enable precise and automated Monitoring temperatures in medicine cabinets, laboratories and canteens. The intelligent sensors detect temperature and humidity and continuously send data to central platforms. Medical staff and administrators receive immediate notifications when temperatures are outside the specified range. This allows them to respond immediately to ensure the integrity of medicines, samples and food. The accuracy of temperature monitoring contributes to improved patient safety and optimised resource utilisation.
2. Patient Monitoring
Wearables in the form of wristwatches and sensors can monitor patients and collect important health data such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and activity level. This data can be transmitted in real time to medical staff to enable continuous monitoring and timely intervention in case of changes in health status or falls, etc.
3. Smart Buildings: Automated Buildings
In the building sector, there are numerous IoT applications that can optimise building efficiency, energy consumption, space utilisation and resource use. For example, lighting and air conditioning can be automatically adjusted to demand in order to save energy. In addition, IoT sensors can detect which rooms are currently being used and which are empty. In this way, the use of space can be optimised and it can be ensured that resources are used efficiently. Smart cameras and sensors can also help increase security in medical facilities. They can detect potential security risks such as unauthorised access and inform staff in time to react appropriately.
4. Networked Medical Devices
The networking of medical devices through IoT technologies is one of the most advanced applications in healthcare and offers numerous advantages. By integrating sensors and communication functions into medical devices, they can be connected to each other and to other IT systems in the facility. This creates a seamless network that captures, monitors and shares important medical data in real time. This enables a comprehensive picture of a patient's condition to be obtained and informed clinical decisions to be made. This in turn can increase patient safety and improve the quality of medical care.
5. Air Quality Monitoring
IoT sensors monitor the air quality in rooms. In doing so, they record the temperature, air humidity, CO2 and volatile organic compounds. In this way, infection risks can be detected at an early stage and appropriate measures can be initiated. Real-time warnings enable quick reactions or the automated control of air supply and exchange.
Digitalisation in healthcare and the integration of IoT solutions offer enormous potential to improve the efficiency, quality and safety of patient care. From precise temperature monitoring of medicines, samples and food in pharmacies to real-time monitoring of patients' vital signs through networked medical devices - the possibilities are many. Automating and networking buildings also makes for more efficient use of resources and increased safety. The monitoring of indoor air quality by IoT sensors helps to detect infection risks at an early stage and to take appropriate protective measures. Digitalisation and IoT solutions thus play an important role in the transformation of healthcare towards a connected, efficient and safe environment for patients and medical staff.