The connectivity made possible by the Internet of Things (IoT) has provided new opportunities for businesses to put their buildings to work and reap the rewards
The connectivity made possible by the Internet of Things (IoT) has provided new opportunities for businesses to put their buildings to work and reap the rewards. Smart, connected buildings are already enhancing experiences and productivity across multiple industries. One sector where this is most apparent is healthcare.
Embracing digital change
The shift towards value-based care, where funding is tied to satisfaction and outcomes, means hospitals are re-evaluating how to optimise patient comfort and streamline processes. This has paved the way to embrace the digital revolution. By addressing aging infrastructure, hospitals can leverage building and IoT connectivity. But what exactly does this involve?
Leveraging IoT connectivity
Firstly, hospital network complexity requires a standardised IT approach. With an integrated building management system as the foundation, a hospital can obtain an in-depth look into system performance to help maintain optimal environments, and turn building data into actionable insights. Facility managers, for example, can layer on preventative analytics - avoiding downtime or increasing energy-efficiency in real time. This can range from lowering the air conditioning in an empty room, to monitoring the refrigerated temperature of oncology drugs.
A second important component is a cloud-connected service. Cloud-connected applications utilise various sensors and endpoints to generate detailed, real-time insights into how equipment is operating. By allowing hospitals to address issues before they worsen, this can help save money, enhance comfort and reduce the time spent on manual checks.
IoT also means mobile applications connecting people with their surroundings. These can give patients more control over their comfort (swiping their screen to operate the window blinds or adjust room temperature, for example). Such applications can also use building connectivity to help patients, visitors and even clinicians navigate through a complex hospital, saving time and unnecessary stress.
Finally, IoT can help stimulate productivity. Nurses often spend a huge amount of time looking for critical assets, such as IV poles or thermometers. Tracking applications can accelerate this, while also tracking where staff are for maximum efficiency, and monitoring interactions between patients, staff and assets to reduce infections.
IoT in practice
Hospitals around the world are turning to IoT to get the most out of building assets, including St. John of God – the largest and oldest hospital in Eisenstadt, Austria. After a recent expansion, management needed to ensure that they could effectively manage their new building, whilst maintaining high levels of comfort and safety.
The hospital opted for an Enterprise Buildings Integrator solution, yielding a number of benefits. They were able to minimise issues and alarms, as well as respond faster. The system’s interface also allowed them to cut costs by giving access to a wealth of equipment data.
Satisfying patient demand
Healthcare is no different from other industries in that end users have ever-evolving expectations for experiences within a building, shaped largely by the increased connectivity around us. As hospitals continue to become smarter and more connected, they will be using more data and insights that affect daily operations and improve patient experiences — thereby demonstrating the power of IoT.
Discover how hospitals, such as St. John of God, and the healthcare industry can reap the benefits of smart, modernised buildings here
Adam Chapman is a life sciences and healthcare expert at Honeywell Building Technologies. Adam has a specific focus on pharmaceutical and healthcare across Europe, and has over 20 years’ experience working at Honeywell