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Few of us realize that the Apple Watch on your wrist telling you your heart-rate, the IV in somebody’s arm, and the electrical panels in hospitals are all intertwined within the Internet of Things (IoT). These are just a few of Gartner’s predicted 20.4 billion connected things that will be in use by 2020, and BI Intelligence predicts that by the same year, the installed base of healthcare IoT devices will reach 646 million. What do these numbers mean, exactly? That healthcare will account for 25% of the IoT market.
The era of IoT has allowed Schneider Electric to essentially act as a virtual hub, linking what is most important in the healthcare realm: patient care and satisfaction. In hospitals, healthcare IoT or also commonly referred to as the Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT) is used to improve daily operations, patient care, and ultimately the patient experience. There is truly no limit to the benefits that Healthcare IoT can bring.
In a recent article written by Solution Architect Warren Rosebraugh, we are beginning to see a rapid switch to a convergence of building management, including HVAC (controls), lighting, energy management, power distribution, power monitoring, and security into a centralized hub. Essentially, IoT is the foundation for smart hospitals.
Schneider Electric is a powerhouse for the IoT, connecting everything within the hospital infrastructure and producing data that can enable better informed business decisions. EcoStruxure for Healthcare, Schneider’s digital hospital platform, allows individuals and devices to connect and interact simplistically and safely using an extremely secure IoT-enabled architecture to draw connections between the array of information enclosed healthcare facilities.
Now, you might ask, “What does this expansive healthcare IoT look like in the real world?” To answer that, Schneider Electric would draw you an image of a patient using a mobile app or a facility manager accessing data about the health of the electrical equipment. Inside of hospital doors, clinics and doctor’s offices, healthcare IoT will provide physicians with new opportunities improve the patient experience, thus leading to better patient outcomes.
IoT will allow patients to gain more control over their surroundings through solutions like patient-controlled mobile apps. For example, a mobile app installed on the patient’s smartphone allows them to create and control their own room preferences for lighting, temperature, window blinds, entertainment and more. They can even call the nurse or order their lunch from the same app.
The IoT is also playing a large role in ensuring patient safety. In healthcare facilities, a power outage can cause patient harm or even death. IoT-enabled power management solutions such as smart panels, connected power meters and power monitoring software can ensure reliable electrical power to critical areas, identify potential issues before a failure occurs, reduce operating theater downtime and automatically test emergency power supply systems. With access to predictive analytics, they can see which equipment needs attention first, and perform conditions-based maintenance, ensuring a power outage doesn’t occur.
The root of healthcare is ensuring that the patient is satisfied and safe. The IoT is Schneider Electric’s means to do more than just make sure that the patient is in bed and smiling, though. With EcoStruxure for Healthcare, Schneider Electric provides hospitals of the future with the intelligence needed to improve business operations and guarantee the mission to save lives.