Improving Healthcare Through PoE and IoT

A Day in the Light of a PoE Powered Healthcare Facility

May 24, 2018

The healthcare industry never stops advancing - from hospitals to home healthcare and nursing homes, we are seeing treatments evolving. But advancements in medicine are not the only way healthcare facilities are getting smarter. Today, we’re seeing IoT in healthcare take off. Hospitals and senior living care have incorporated smart healthcare systems using IoT to better manage their facilities, keep residents safer, make them more comfortable, and keep buildings secure.

Benefits of IoT in Healthcare

Healthcare has many facets, processes are developed around how to best monitor patients, how to make people feel more comfortable, and how to provide the most effective treatment. Healthcare IoT makes these processes more efficient and more accurate.

Integrating IoT into heathcare practices improves patient health outcomes. The most direct benefit of IoT in healthcare is the improvement of patient health. With IoT, healthcare facilities can remotely monitor many health indicators such as heart rate and blood pressure. Using a cloud-based solution, data can be analyzed to give healthcare professionals more insight into a patient’s condition. This means doctors can make faster decisions with fewer errors.

IoT in healthcare also plays a role in preventative care. In the same ways the massive amounts of data that come from IoT can be used to make life-saving decisions in real time, this data can also be used to base treatments off predictive analytics. In the future, we expect to see even more personalized treatment plans derived from IoT data.

IoT gives healthcare providers the opportunity to improve patient comfort. Even simple features like lighting can make or break a stay at the hospital. Hospitals can be stressful - the environment alone can make it difficult enough to get sleep, but even more so with light flooding the entire room anytime a nurse or doctor walks in. With an IoT system, these lights can be optimized and segmented to make the environment more comfortable and less distracting.

With a wide variety of drugs and medical supplies in a hospital, secure asset tracking can be difficult. IoT improves a healthcare facility’s security protocol by making it easier to see what’s going on across the entire facility. Adding a security system that identifies zones for each individual or tagging equipment to be tracked, is only the beginning of better managing security and personnel with IoT.

Power over Ethernet in Healthcare Facilities

Power over Ethernet enables IoT data, as well as power, to pass through Cat5 ethernet cables. Using a wired Ethernet system, devices securely transmit data without range limitations or interference. In healthcare facilities where the data can truly be life or death, the reliability of PoE is a great fit.

Power over Ethernet makes it easy to capitalize on the benefits of IoT in healthcare because it’s easy to install and to use. Imagine a day in a PoE enabled healthcare facility. From the moment you walk in everything is connected, communicating and running smoothly. Each patient’s monitors are sending data to the cloud which can be monitored in real-time. That data is analyzed to determine if there are any detrimental combinations of symptoms - combinations that might not be obvious to a doctor without the help of data.

Each mobile unit, such as a crash cart, is being tracked using PoE’s asset tracking capabilities. This gives staff (with necessary permissions) the ability to locate any single piece of equipment at a moments notice and ensure units are not traveling outside of their designated zone.

Asset tracking doesn’t just apply to equipment, PoE can also track staff. A PoE-enabled security system grants each individual unique access permissions based on their role. Only allow individuals access to areas they need and restrict access to places they don’t need to be. If someone needs additional or fewer permissions, it’s just a simple change- no need to update a code or pin that might disrupt multiple people.

Now, imagine a PoE enabled nursing home that offers the full continuum of care, from independent living to memory care. How can an IoT system possibly work for all types of residents? Using zones, custom policies and more a PoE system provides comfort for all.

PoE makes it easier to perform all kinds of day-to-day tasks. Pressure sensors in the floor and beds make it possible for the lights to turn on when someone gets up during the night and off again once in bed. During the night, as residents move about their apartments, lights turn on to keep them safe from bumping into anything or falling.

Falls are a common risk for seniors, PoE systems can notify your staff when someone has gotten up, not returned to bed, and no motion has been detected in a set period of time. With functionality like this, PoE systems make response times quicker when something unexpected happens in a healthcare facility.

Similar to asset tracking systems in hospitals, PoE syncs with smart locks. Use this compatibility to keep individuals in memory care safe and reduce the chance of residents getting lost.

PoE is Practical, Reliable and Easy to Use

Using new technology sounds great, but setup and installation is often difficult. This is not the case with PoE. The simplicity of installing and using PoE allows IoT to be easily incorporated into healthcare facilities with little disruption. Whether you’re constructing a new building or retrofitting an existing building, PoE can work for you. Yes, PoE is wired, but the open API allows for the flexibility of a wireless system with the reliability of a hardwired system.

Because PoE is low voltage, the installation process is very simple. Once the system itself has been installed, discovering and adding devices to the network is incredibly easy. Plug in your PoE device and it is automatically recognized by Igor’s software. Now, you can start setting up zones and policies that are easy to update as your building and network grow and change.

PoE is a realistic solution for all types of healthcare facilities. Whether you work in a doctor’s office, hospital or senior living facility, you can benefit from an IoT system which focuses on people. With the capabilities of PoE you can make your facility better for residents, visitors and staff.

To find out if PoE is a good fit for your healthcare facility, request a demo of Igor’s PoE technology or find out how to become an Igor partner.

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