Transforming Healthcare: The Impact of IoT and Advanced Tech

Transforming Healthcare: The Impact of IoT and Advanced Tech

Authored by Sarad Shrestha, Director โ€“ Sales, Huawei Telecommunications India

The healthcare sector has been the subject of significant attention in recent years, particularly due to the rapid adoption of technology accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, emergency medical services have faced growing challenges, as ambulances played a crucial role in responding to the crisis.

Identifying the real challenges

During the pandemic, it posed a significant challenge for emergency medical services and ambulance teams responding to patient calls. They faced difficulty in promptly determining, in real-time, the availability of ICU beds with the necessary equipment for the affected patients at their destination.

The dispatchers responsible for coordinating emergency responses had the critical task of accurately pinpointing the closest hospital with available ICU beds to ensure that patients received life-saving treatment as quickly as possible while being transported.

In such situations, every minute and second counted, as the timing of care delivery was crucial. Delayed access to care could, in some cases, result in a tragic outcome, as the time spent transferring patients from one hospital to another in search of an available bed could be a matter of life or death.

This is where advanced Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions came into play to address these challenges.

Time-to-care improvements in real-life scenarios

A remarkable example of successfully putting technology into the hands of healthcare providers has demonstrated how technology, cooperation, and innovation can significantly enhance and save lives.

The pilot project effectively deployed advanced wireless Internet of Things (IoT) sensors within ICU units in hospitals to monitor the availability of ICU beds. These sensors were seamlessly integrated into the Healthcare Information System (HIS) platform and provided real-time updates, connecting them to the ambulance tracking system.

When an ambulance responds to an incident, the system instantly identifies a suitable Emergency Room (ER) at a hospital with available ICU beds. This enables immediate dispatch of the ambulance to the most appropriate location. The system also calculates the estimated time of arrival (ETA) for the ambulance at the hospital, retrieves patient data and historical records, preparing everything in advance.

This has a couple of significant benefits.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and dispatchers can access real-time information about bed availability in all connected hospitals. The end result is a significant reduction in the time it takes to provide care.

During the patient transfer to the hospital, hospital staff can remotely monitor the patient's basic vitals, ensuring appropriate care throughout the journey. Furthermore, a dedicated wireless network and smart interactive screens in the hospital enable online video consultations between the ambulance and the hospital.

Once at the hospital, the patient is transferred to the emergency care unit under the care of a physician.

Upon entering the emergency room and completing the pre-admission process, patients receive IoT-enabled ID wristbands that connect to an all-in-one Wi-Fi network, allowing continuous tracking throughout their treatment. This tracking helps analyze the time patients spend in each part of the treatment process, uncover areas for improvement, and update patient records in the integrated HIS.

Digital transformation is boosting the healthcare landscape

The incorporation of advanced digital technologies into healthcare transformation efforts has emerged as a transformative factor and a primary focus for nations looking to enhance economic development and enhance the well-being of their citizens.

The pilot project serves as a positive stride in this direction, with emergency care offering the potential to significantly contribute to the attainment of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal for health.

Undoubtedly, the global healthcare sector is vast, and investments in healthcare continue to expand. Within this expansive landscape, significant opportunities persist for the integration of digital technology and innovation to revolutionize traditional healthcare practices into a fully modernized digital healthcare ecosystem. This transition not only holds the potential to stimulate economic growth but also to enhance the quality of life and overall well-being.

To achieve this, there is a pressing need for more extensive and expedited cooperation among stakeholders in the industry, leading technology providers, and both private and public sectors.

Digital transformation has much to offer institutions that are receptive to creating an innovative social and business collaborative environment that transcends technological, cultural, and geographical boundaries.

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