For many years now we’ve had the privilege of working with a number of customers operating within the clinical and domiciliary care sectors and we’ve seen huge technological change in the way care is being delivered around the UK.
Although the start of that process of transformation predates the pandemic, there’s no doubt the two years of lockdown has accelerated it as care providers wrestled with the challenges of providing services on the ground safely and with the minimum contact necessary.
Broadly, these changes have allowed those organisations and businesses to achieve a level of maturity in their service delivery that was perhaps unexpected and almost certainly not on any short-term strategy roadmap. Whether care is being delivered to patients in hospitals, clinics, or in the home, there’s no doubt that these are exciting times for the health sector, with the adoption of mobile and smart technology opening up myriad opportunities to reduce operating costs without impacting growth.
And it’s also exciting because increased technological capability and capacity also means those same organisations and businesses will be able to access a technology ecosystem that will allow them to work with some of the most up-to-date health systems and equipment available.
Book a short discovery call with our healthcare industry expert Josh.
It’s long been the case that good healthcare relies on accurate data management, from basic GP-held health records to detailed and complex clinical information around treatments, test results, symptom progression and pathological responses.Increased technology capacity allows providers not to plug into connected systems more easily through the Internet of Things (IoT) which then uses data analytics to interpret information in a way that is relevant to the user.
Right now, data analytics is about as close to Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it’s possible to get, meaning health providers that have successfully transitioned to fully digitised and mobile systems are now able to make the best use of cutting-edge tech. Running parallel to this is the rocketing growth in the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). In 2021 it was estimated that the global annual spend on IoMT is expected to grow to around $260 billion in the next 5 years.
Look out for a separate article on IoMT coming soon which explores how the growth in this particular niche is being driven by shifting the health care focus from internal systems and limitations to a user experience that is far more patient-centric.
Why smart data is important, and how IoT facilitates it
Traditionally, conventional care providers like GP surgeries and hospitals have relied either on analogue data management (literally a pen and paper record) or computer systems that are fundamentally basic, at least in terms of what’s available and what’s actually being used.
But with the IoT and IoMT comes greater scope to harness the power of technology to provide and track meaningful insight into patient care. Body-worn tech – such as smart watches and skin sensors – can give real-time pathological readings that improve how caregivers interpret trends and plan treatment.
In the private sector – such as domiciliary care or care homes – this technology can help providers to predict the demand on their resources patient by patient, ensuring resource allocation is managed to meet need effectively and deliver care in a timely way.
And the benefits of improved smart technology go far beyond the patient. The IoT can help hospitals manage their supply chains more effectively, provide reliable solutions for stock, equipment, and pharmaceutical management, track the real-time location of mobile resources (ambulances, defibrillators etc.), and aid asset management. Temperature and humidity can be controlled automatically, frontline staff – especially in the field – can register patient data instantly, and patient triage can be structured in the most effective way possible.
Perhaps, though, the most powerful benefit of IoT and IoMT in the health sector is that it will ultimately minimise human error, support cost efficiency and achieve better treatment outcomes.
In short, smart tech, which can be used and managed remotely, means everyone involved in each individual health journey wins. For all your healthcare solutions, speak to an expert from your comms group today.