IoT is changing everything. By 2019, it is estimated that 87% of healthcare organizations will have adopted IoT technology. We’ve all seen it in wellness apps and health monitoring, but it is now making its way into the patient journey and facility infrastructure. With IoT, hospitals can embed intelligence into their connected hospitals, from the ground up or layered on top of existing systems. And those that do will be seen as world class providers and will set the stage for the future of modern healthcare. Healthcare executives that are looking to lead the way should look for solution providers with deep healthcare expertise and an innovative, IoT-enabled digital hospital architecture. The solutions delivered through the architecture should take the unique challenges of the hospital into account and should deliver the right information to the right person, anytime, anywhere, to help improve operational efficiency, patient satisfaction, and safety for all. How can IoT help a hospital thrive at every level? Let’s imagine a typical day at a smart, digital hospital. This “day in a life” story follows Mary, who is admitted to the hospital for a C-section birth. We will see how a smart, digital connected hospital improves the patient journey and operational efficiency.
7AM—The facility manager receives a weather alert that a dangerous tropical storm has changed its path and is headed straight for the town in which his hospital resides. To prepare for the incoming storm, he uses the hospital power monitoring system to check the entire electrical distribution system and fuel levels in the backup generators. Because the power monitoring system recently ran an automated test of the hospital’s emergency power supply system, he is assured that the hospital is protected in case of an unexpected power outage. He also knows that his MV supply is in good condition due to continuous monitoring and predictive analytics of electrical assets.
8AM— Mary enters the hospital for her scheduled C-section and receives a patient-tracking device that uses a real-time location system (RTLS) during admission. Her spouse also receives an RTLS visitor tag. The tags identify them in the hospital’s information and security systems. Mary is also asked what temperature she would like her room to be set at during her stay. Mary’s room assignment and preferred temperature is entered into the hospital’s admission software, which communicates to the building management system (BMS) using a clinical environment optimization solution that brings her room up to her preferred temperature.
9AM—Mary’s private room has now reached her preferred temperature of 73°F. After changing into her hospital gown, she is transferred to the operating room. Mary’s room is changed to setback mode and the lights are turned off and the temperature is relaxed a little. The air flow set points remain unchanged in case she arrives back unexpected.
Meanwhile, the surgical team schedules Operating Suite 101 for Mary’s C-section. The OR now changes to a preparation mode. During this mode, the BMS checks to ensure the OR is safe to use. The electrical and medical gas systems are checked, as well as the ventilation and environmental conditions to make sure they are working correctly. The surgery begins, but the storm is at its peak and the hospital’s MV supply loses power.
The facilities maintenance team is immediately notified via alerts on their mobile devices. They access the hospital powering monitoring system and see that the automated transfer switch has successfully switched the power to the backup generators. During the switchover period, the hospital’s smart UPS provided immediate backup power ensuring that there was no interruption to Mary’s C-section.
11AM—Mary is taken back to her room, where she will spend the next couple of days. The room is comfortable, but Mary would like to open the blinds to get some natural light in the room. She uses her iPhone to connect to a hospital mobile app where she can open her blinds without leaving the bed. She then uses the same app to order her lunch and read her post-op care instructions.
1PM—Mary is exhausted and wants to get some rest. She closes her eyes and dreams of her new baby girl.
5PM—Mary awakens and uses the hospital mobile app to call the nurse because she’s in pain.
8PM—Mary falls back asleep, eager to get a good night’s sleep, so she can feel well rested and go home the next day.
2AM—Mary awakens in the middle of the night to noise outside her room. She calls the nurse again, who checks the report from the noise monitoring solution the hospital recently installed. She sees that the noise in the corridor outside her patient room spiked at 1:30AM, right at the same time that a cart with medical supplies was making rounds to restock cabinets. Mary’s nurse makes a note to speak to the chief nurse about rescheduling this daily activity during daylight hours to reduce interrupted sleep for her patients.
4AM—The facility manager scheduled his IoT-enabled building management system to run an automated report in off-hours. The report will look at energy usage across the facility and look for opportunities to reduce energy consumption in unoccupied areas.
The Next Day—Mary is ready to go home. An orderly escorts Mary, her husband, and their new baby to the patient discharge area. He collects their patient and visitor tags and they leave the hospital. Another 24-hour cycle in the IoT-driven hospital begins again.
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