The health care sector must satisfy high patient expectations as economically as possible. In a preliminary study, the Smart Health Care project is examining how the Internet of Things could assist hospitals and medical practices in achieving this goal.
According to one study, every networked piece of medical equipment saves each member of the care team between four and 36 minutes work a day. The time gained by automatically transferring data to electronic health records can be used to give better patient care.
Affordable medical care paired with ever increasing demands is only achievable through permanent improvements in efficiency. Smart connected technologies are already at home in many industrial sectors including mechanical and electrical engineering where they are referred to as Industry 4.0. They offer enormous potential for substantial savings and productivity rises.
Taking stock of smart technologies
The health care sector already uses many applications for networked documentation. However, most of the measuring and diagnostic devices in hospitals and medical practices function only as isolated applications, and do not communicate with other equipment. This not only hampers efficient space and equipment management, it also wastes the potential for large savings which could be made by optimising maintenance times. By measuring, transmitting and analysing the relevant device parameters, for example, it is possible to detect the slightest malfunctions in good time, thereby preventing cost and time-consuming repairs.
Working together with partners in industry, the Smart Health Care project is surveying smart technologies in the health care sector, determining their current use and possible future applications. The goal of the project is to recognise key IT trends in medicine during the analysis phase before going on to prepare pilot projects for regional implementation.