Leveraging IoT tools in healthcare for enhanced patient care and safety

The quickly rising impact of IoT in healthcare isn’t a surprise — not if you consider the worldwide need for medical attention, the devotion of practitioners to their care, and the vast potential to use emerging technologies for so many powerful uses.

Medical providers require reliable Internet for healthcare facilities, regardless of whether those are permanent locations, in ambulances or temporary pop-up health centres. Doctors and nurses in these places use devices and applications to monitor patient data, and sensors deliver insights into environmental conditions that affect care and safety practices.

It’s an intricate ecosystem of technology, and it needs a simple system of underlying connectivity — an efficient combination of LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Wide range of IoT in healthcare

Connected medical devices such as heart rate monitors, pulse oximeters, and glucose monitors allow healthcare professionals to track analytics so they can assess a patient’s condition and quickly determine the proper next steps. Often these devices are connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

University of Virginia Health System operates a hospital, level I trauma centre, nationally recognised cancer and heart centres, and primary and specialty clinics throughout central Virginia in the U.S.

UVA Health System developed a toolkit with telehealth capabilities that links field emergency professionals to the UVA emergency room while stroke victims are being transported via ambulance. Getting a neurological assessment started enroute instead of after arrival at the hospital can save lives and prevent paralysis, speech and vision problems, and permanent disability.

A live video link between the ambulance and specialists in the UVA emergency room is a ground-breaking addition — but it’s only possible with a continuous high-speed connection.

UVA Health System selected Cradlepoint NetCloud Service to facilitate reliable LTE cellular broadband connectivity and includes extensive cloud functionality and a purpose-built in-vehicle router.

This plug-and-play LTE solution made deployment as easy as possible. After installation, firmware upgrades can be done remotely via cloud management.

Environmental monitoring is another multi-faceted need in healthcare environments. IoT in healthcare includes sensors that monitor things like the temperature of medicines and occupancy for social distancing. To help prevent emergencies, alerts can be set up to notify IT or operations staff when environmental data falls out of a normal range. These alerts can determine if any steps must be taken to remedy the situation.

Other IoT applications in a healthcare setting can include things like automatic temperature checks of patients and visitors to a healthcare facility. This saves time compared to manual checks and alerts staff if someone is displaying a fever and requires further checks. IoT can aid in improving efficiency of care in overstretched healthcare settings, with connected devices such as those used for ongoing vitals monitoring during a hospital stay like blood pressure and temperature for example. Automatic data capturing from various health checks can make data recording more efficient and streamlined, saving health professionals time in not having to manually record data and leaving little space for human error, or loss of information when patients are being monitored by several staff members.

How to easily connect healthcare devices with wireless solutions

In both pop-up and fixed clinic environments, LTE networks are an essential tool for connecting IoT medical devices and sensors to applications and data storage services from the cloud or main campuses. However, deploying IoT in healthcare facilities can take a long time and has been traditionally difficult to manage and keep secure because it depended on WiFi. The key is a networking solution that simplifies the process and brings lots of functionality into one platform.

Cradlepoint’s wireless broadband capabilities have benefitted numerous healthcare delivery organisations by providing connectivity anywhere. With Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service and wireless networking routers, a network can be established without an on-site IT team. Using NetCloud, the network can be configured in advance and shipped with proper SIM devices so the local staff only needs to power it up.

Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., Visio Health specialises in telemedicine operations management. The company helps healthcare providers identify telemedicine applications, select technology, define workflows, acquire equipment and software, incorporate staff and processes, and operate programs.

Visio Health’s clinical-grade diagnostic telemedicine carts are a prime example of how IoT is shaping healthcare. This type of leading-edge technology required an equally next-generation networking solution that ensures reliable connectivity and security, and efficient management from anywhere.

Visio deployed Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for IoT, which includes edge computing, SD-Perimeter technology for device-to-cloud security, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting through an IoT gateway with embedded LTE. Now it takes Visio just minutes to create a perimeter-secured overlay network over the Internet, with intelligent WAN path selection and single pane-of-glass management.

In other cases, when Cradlepoint Bluetooth adapters are added to specific devices, a dedicated Bluetooth network becomes unnecessary — simplifying the network architecture. Plus, NetCloud Service offers connectors that transport data to MQTT, as well as IoT SaaS, for a complete solution.

The result is a flexible, reliable network for simplified edge-to-cloud connectivity — enabling healthcare IoT and other sensors to fulfill their roles in the most efficient manner possible.

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