Smart Healthcare: The Internet of Things and Power Over Ethernet
A hospital setting can be stressful, particularly for children and senior citizens. The patient-doctor appointment system is breaking down due to the world’s ever-increasing population. A timely doctor’s appointment is a challenge these days. So, smart healthcare solutions are increasingly important and have many goals, such as:
- Educating patients about their medical status
- Emphasizing quality of life improvements
- Empowering patients to self-manage health issues whenever possible
- Utilize all resources to their maximum potential
- Extend medical services without any geographical barriers (remote monitoring)
- Reduce treatment costs for users
The IoT and Healthcare
Before the Internet of Things (IoT), doctor and patient interactions were confined to visits, phone calls, and text communications. However, IoT-enabled devices have opened up a wide range of ways to ensure patients’ health and safety. In fact, healthcare is being transformed.
IoT For Patients
IoT wearable devices are changing how we handle our health issues. Some common examples of these medical gadgets are:
- Fitness trackers
- Smart health watches
- Wearable ECG monitors
- Wearable blood pressure monitors.
In addition, while still in their infancy, wearable biosensors have the potential to revolutionize telemedicine and remote healthcare. These portable sensors provide remote monitoring and feedback to a doctor and come in the form of bandages, clothing, gloves, and implants.
IoT For Hospitals and Medical Facilities
Aside from patient monitoring, many IoT applications are being utilized in medical settings. These include:
- Real-time tracking of medical equipment (such as defibrillators, nebulizers, oxygen pumps, wheelchairs, etc.)
- IoT-enabled hygiene monitoring
- Pharmacy inventory control
- Environmental control
- Security systems
- Data and analytics
- And much more
The Benefits of IoT in Healthcare
There are significant advantages of IoT devices in the healthcare industry.
IoT devices provide physicians with lots of patient data that culminates in faster and more accurate diagnoses. Additionally, patient data gives healthcare professionals predictive analytics, triggering and greatly enhancing preventative care measures.
The medical devices themselves, along with increased patient data, have made medical care safer and more reliable than ever before. Furthermore, electronic databases integrate vast amounts of information used for medical research.
Efficient Drug and Equipment Management
Hospitals have thousands of medications and equipment to organize, track, and replace. Therefore, the use of IoT RFID tags, smart pills, automatic purchase orders, and asset tracking solutions are crucial to any 21st-century hospital.
Error and Cost Reduction
The data engendered through IoT devices not only helps healthcare professionals make informed medical decisions but also reduces errors, waste, and overall costs. This type of real-time patient data helps eliminate unnecessary doctor visits, hospital stays, and re-admissions.
Power Over Ethernet in the Healthcare Sector
In an industry where data can indeed be life or death, Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a perfect fit. This technology enables IoT data and power to pass through CAT5e (or better) Ethernet cables. This wired system is secure, cost-effective, and reliable. In addition, PoE makes it easy to maximize the benefits of IoT because it is simple to install and use.
PoE-enabled patient monitors send real-time data to the cloud, where it can be analyzed and used to make vital medical decisions. Crash carts, wheelchairs, etc., can be tracked so staff can locate any equipment at all times.
PoE security systems can also track staff. Access control can be restricted when necessary, and surveillance systems powered by PoE can monitor a health facility 24/7.
PoE lighting and IoT platforms benefit patients and staff by controlling circadian rhythms, monitoring noise levels, providing low lighting when needed, providing temperature control, etc.
PoE is Practical, Reliable, and Easy to Use
The benefits of PoE technology are considerable:
- Low installation costs
- Easy installation
- No electricians needed for installation
- Legacy systems can be repurposed
- Safe (low voltage)
- Flexible (plug-and-play)
- Has enhanced data-gathering capabilities
The good news is that healthcare IoT continues to evolve daily. And because of IoT and PoE technology, healthcare will become more advanced—offering patients improved care and treatment options while enhancing the working environments of medical professionals.