Whether you’re a doctor in the trauma unit, a nurse in the ICU or a recovering patient, having access to the most up-to-date technology helps ensure that the best healthcare services are being provided. The IoT is creating endless technological possibilities across numerous industries, but healthcare is one area in particular where IoT is providing life-effecting solutions—and sizable financial savings.
IoT-enabled devices and solutions applied in the healthcare setting are improving bedside safety, increasing patient satisfaction, reducing overall costs and more. The benefits are significant, and so is the growth. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global IoT healthcare market is expected to reach $136.8 billion by 2021, registering a CAGR of 12.5 percent between 2015 and 2021.
The market’s robust growth is driven by numerous variables, including decreasing sensor technology costs, the increasing availability of wearable, moveable and stationary smart devices—in addition to the ongoing launches of technologically advanced devices—and increasingly stringent healthcare regulations. If you combine these elements with the rising rates of chronic diseases creating surging demand for cost-effective treatment and disease management and the greater accessibility of high speed Internet, it’s easy to see the massive IoT opportunities in healthcare.
The patient-monitoring application segment has emerged as a leader in the space, and is expected to continue to dominate the world IoT healthcare market throughout the 2015 to 2021 forecast period, reaching $72.7 billion by 2021.
One company going all-in on IoT-enabled monitoring is Wachter, the U.S.’ leading designer, integrator and service provider of power and technology systems. The company has leveraged the capabilities of IoT in healthcare to develop its cutting-edge Virtual Patient Observation System (VPOS) solution.
Revolutionizing Patient Observation
Trained technicians rely on VPOS to monitor patients through the use of high-definition video, two-way audio and healthcare-specific business intelligence. Care givers are also using the system to intervene and prevent patient falls and other significant injuries. Healthcare providers reduce costs by using VPOS in the place of more expensive one-on-one patient sitting and monitoring. A single healthcare professional, for example, can precisely monitor the status and safety of multiple patients simultaneously. Plus, a hospital’s workflow is enhanced by faster, more efficient communications of patient status, data and other pertinent health information to the staff in emergency situations.
How VPOS Works
VPOS uses high-definition cameras with pan and tilt zoom capabilities to deliver real-time patient video, audio and integrated data to nurses at a monitoring station or to a mobile device. From there, the monitoring software gives a complete view into the patient’s health and safety stats, telemetry and additional patient data. The VPOS can be deployed as a mobile cart, an easily movable wall-mounted solution or if a permanent solution is needed, it can be hardwired into a patient’s room.
The Rubber Hits the Road
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, one of the nation’s top three pediatric hospitals, successfully implemented Wachter’s VPOS solution to address its need for greater visibility into patients’ room, using the pan-tilt-and-zoom functionality to both clarify status questions and to ensure they were able to tilt away, protecting the privacy of its patients.
They also were looking to avoid the addition of any keyboards, mice and mini-towers at the already overcrowded nurse's stations, making the VPOS’ flexibility in deployment options a good fit. Wachter installed IP high-definition PTZ cameras in 21 critical care rooms, and all support hardware was rack-mounted separately, freeing up space at the nurse's stations. The company also specially designed a touchscreen controller that functioned while wearing medical gloves, essential to supporting the highest level of care.
As a result of the implementation, the hospital administration realized savings and benefits through improvements in nursing efficiencies and requested that the design become the installation standard for all future renovations and additions.
IoT to the Rescue
Whether a hospital is trying to reduce 1:1 patient sitters, improve the treatment of chronic conditions, decrease patient falls and injuries or enhance workflow efficiency, IoT-enabled healthcare solutions are coming into focus as the answer to meeting these challenges.