Bluetooth Low Energy and the IoT in Healthcare Facilities

According to the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, more than A$170 billion was spent on healthcare during 2016 and 2017. A$69.1 billion of that was spent on hospital visits. There are 701 public hospitals across Australia that provide around 61,000 beds, with the 30 main hospitals contributing around 659 beds each. The 630 private hospitals have around 33,100 beds altogether. There were around 6.3 million hospitalisations at private hospitals, and 4.3 million in the private sector. The AIHW estimated that around 45% of Australians will experience a mental illness in their life, which will lead to increased hospitalisations. Moreover, 50% of Australians have chronic illnesses that are responsible for most health related deaths in the country. 63% of Australians aged 18 and older suffer from obesity; another factor that will contribute to increased hospitalisations.

Improving healthcare technology, especially IoT devices, is essential when considering the current health climate of Australia. Bluetooth tracking tags can help with everything from critical equipment tracking to locating medicines in large pharmacies. Bed and wandering patient tracking will improve healthcare services as well as patient experience. Iottag has specialised hospital solutions to meet all the technological needs of healthcare facilities across Australia. Their BlueCare app and online platform have helped streamline patient and staff tracking as well as equipment health monitoring using Bluetooth and RFID technology. Bluetooth Low Energy tracking tags and smart beacons have long provided solutions for corporate and industrial industries. Healthcare facilities should be focused on doing the same as smart beacon technology will revolutionise their current practices.
 

Smart Beacons and Bluetooth Low Energy

Smart beacons have widespread applications in the healthcare industry. The development of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has made communication between smart beacons and mobile devices, like smartphones, possible. There are many ways this can help staff and patients alike. Beacons can be used to locate life-saving equipment in an emergency or bring up a map to help patients find their doctor’s rooms. 20% of all smart beacons purchased in 2015 were for healthcare facilities and has significantly increased since then. There are three ways the healthcare industry will benefit from Bluetooth Low Energy and IoT devices.
 

1. Smart beacons will increase efficiency

Smart beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy to not only extend the battery life of these devices, but also to streamline asset and equipment tracking. A busy ER can’t spend hours looking for a defibrillator. Most staff members, particularly nurses, work in multiple areas of a hospital, have different responsibilities and irregular shift schedules. Misplacing expensive equipment becomes commonplace under these circumstances. Using smart beacons in a hospital will save lives. With an equipment tracking system, staff members will know where every piece of equipment is at all times. RFID technology can be used alongside the smart beacons. Important information, like when the apparatus was last serviced, can be loaded onto tracking tags. Staff will be able to efficiently locate equipment and monitor its status. Smart beacons can also be used to help staff manage busy and slow days more efficiently, as smart beacons can track patient foot traffic.
 

2. Hospitals with smart beacons will improve patient experience

Improving patient and visitor experience should be the primary concern. A Deloitte study showed that hospital revenue is directly proportional to the experience a patient or visitor has from enquiry to post-recovery. BLE smart beacons can streamline many patient process. For example, the wait time for admissions can be reduced by getting patients to complete necessary forms on their mobile devices or even devices provided by the hospital. Smart beacons can also provide information about all the necessary documentation a patient needs to prepare further enhancing patient flow. Moreover, treating doctors can receive an entire medical history for a patient. They can then spend less time on finding this information and get straight to assisting patients with their latest health issue. BLE smart beacons can help patients and visitors navigate the hospital floor with indoor location systems. This will also help staff members who may be new or need help finding their way in a stressful situation.
 

3. Smart beacons can improve marketing strategies

Traditional forms of media continue to decline as we move further into the technological age. BLE smart beacons are an environmentally friendly way to build brand awareness for healthcare facilities and engage loyal patients. Promotions at the coffee and gift shop of a hospital can be sent to visitors’ mobile devices. Smart beacons can also be used to recapture a patient. Studies have shown that 80% of people check out their symptoms online after receiving a diagnosis. Hospitals can redirect patients to their website by using smart beacons campaigns while a patient is on the premise. When they get home, they will immediately see an advert for your campaign. These campaigns can either be about different illnesses and treatments, or it can be information on how to stay healthy. Spreading health awareness is an important part of patient care.
 

Bluetooth Low Energy smart beacons will revolutionise healthcare industries

Iottag is one of Australia’s leading asset and equipment tracking companies. They have developed specialised tracking tags and smart beacons to assist hospitals of all sizes. Their BlueCare app was developed to bring further efficiency to hospital floors. For more information, visit iottag.com.au/hospitals-tracking.



About the Author : Andrew Kelly

Andrew Kelly

After completing a PHD in low power wide area networking Andrew found himself as interested in the literature as the technology itself. Andrew now writes engaging and informative prose at iottag sunny office in Melbourne, for offices across the globe.

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