IoT ‘megatrend’ brings healthcare facility operations into the digital age
Technology is transforming the way that healthcare facilities now operate. Historically, environmental services tackled tasks such as restocking bath tissue, refilling soap dispensers as well as managing supply orders and staffing through room-to-room checks.
These time-consuming processes took up valuable time until recently, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) megatrend, says Jimy Baynum, market development director with SCA.
In high-traffic, critical needs settings such as hospitals, there is an inseparable link between time, data, service and revenue. By capturing information in real time, analytics can not only assist with managing everyday responsibilities, but also cut down on laborious tasks. There are four distinctive advantages to incorporating Internet of Things into a healthcare facility business model:
- Time and money savings: IoT technology can help healthcare facility staff shift away from a schedule-based cleaning approach towards a more efficient needs-based approach. Data analytics which track product usage can help hospital administrators better deploy staff (e.g., adjusting the number of employees needed during different times of day or week) as well as understand product consumption patterns that guide the volume of new orders. IoT tracking can also help facilities flag product refill needs when products like bath tissue truly require attention rather than having staff make replacements based on a timetable.
- Improved customer satisfaction: In the healthcare industry, patient satisfaction surveys have an impact on institutional funding and ratings. Thus, a key way of improving the quality of in-patient stays – and subsequent ratings – is ensuring that patient hygiene needs are met through fully-stocked hospital rooms. Another consideration for hospital patients is their expectation of privacy during in-patient stays. Thus, while it is imperative that hygiene facilities are equipped, environmental services staff should also be cognizant of noise in addition to the number of times they enter a patient’s room during their time in the hospital. By knowing when it is essential to do so through IoT analytics and adhering to that, staff can also contribute to patient satisfaction.
- Speed: The connectivity and speed with which IoT systems operate allows information to be sent and received in real-time, providing a holistic view of the healthcare facility environment. This is made even more convenient for environmental services staff to navigate when the data is accessible through a computer dashboard or a smart phone app, which enables them to update service routes on the go, based on facility needs.
- Mission-Driving: In environments where infection control is priority, IoT can help prevent situations where a facility is not properly equipped to prevent germ transmission. Through high-tech solutions such as Tork EasyCube where bath tissue, paper towel, hand sanitiser and soap dispensers are equipped with usage-tracking sensors, environmental services teams can use online platforms disseminate real-time information to their staff for refills. After all, ensuring that soap and hand towel are present is the first step to improving hand hygiene compliance.
IoT technology uses are endless and provide numerous benefits often in unexpected places. By understanding its benefits and identifying areas where real-time data can improve processes, professionals in various industries, including healthcare, can catapult their business from the industrial age into the digital age all while revolutionising their fields.
The author of this blog is Jimy Baynum, market development director with SCA
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