The Human Cost — IoT in a High-Stakes Industry

Life and death aren’t common issues in day to day business decisions. Let’s face it, despite how dire a situation might feel at the time, consequences truly are not all that high. There might have to have an uncomfortable talk with the board or a stern warning from a superior, but in the end everyone walks away more or less unscathed. To our partner’s in the healthcare field, however, mistakes can have grave consequences far beyond the traditional stakes we often find ourselves dealing with.

When costs are counted in human life and not in dollars the difference of having a misplaced asset changes drastically. Trivial logistical issues in some industries can change the course of a person’s life in another. As we enter an age when intricate IoT sensor networks that can accurately account for static assets in every room in the hospital, logistical error has been eliminated. This new wave of organizational understanding is being met with cheers by both healthcare companies and their clients.

Medical equipment like Crash Carts and MRI machines can costs a million dollars per asset. It had been a common medical field practice to purchase more units than necessary in order to ensure easy access for all emergency situations. Instead of purchasing the necessary 6 units needed for a location, they were forced to purchase 10 to address needs effectively. This cost, multiplied over numerous locations, can quickly get out of control unnecessarily. With new asset tracking technology sensor being deployed in hospitals throughout the world, IoT networks can readily monitor the location of these life saving devices with extreme accuracy and begin to eliminate the need for excessive purchasing.

 Instead of searching for the closest unit by checking vacant rooms and clip boards susceptible to human error, hospital staff can know with extreme certainty where these crucial units are located and the amount of time it will take to get them to necessary location within the building. Wayfinding and asset tracking visualized on hospital devices will take the guess work out of this process and in turn ensure healthcare patients get the devices they critically need at their most vulnerable times. With asset costs so high and network deployment costs at a relative steal (when compared to million dollar per-unit price tags of what they track), IoT deployments will be ubiquitous throughout the medical industry in the next 5 years.

To save lives and to significantly reduce operational costs, hospitals will undoubtedly be taking this initial step soon if they have not begun to already. As this functionality become mainstream, asset tracking can begin to expand into other, more advanced use cases. Through resource tracking, hospital’s can begin understanding its employee’s movements and location throughout their day in real time, brining a new level of operational synchronicity. Once both humans and assets are being tracked, a complete picture of the organization begins to take shape in the form of data.

Understanding the flow of employees and other critical assets over time will begin to reduce operational failures, duplication of tasks, and unnecessary waste. This will mean incredible tangible and intangible benefits for companies tasked with keeping us healthy and alive. Not only will they be benefiting their clients but they will be padding their bottom line with the same implementation. The costs for these IoT deployments begin to look rather minimal when so much is as stake and there is so much to gain.

At Clovity, we are working with some of the largest healthcare providers in the US to ensure they get everything out of their new IoT implementations. Being able to push past a POC into the enterprise systems is no easy task and must be undertaken with the right understanding. Adding unstructured sensor data into the structured healthcare world takes a finesse not held by the average software solution provider. With the right combination of enterprise experience coupled with “bleeding edge” technology will help to ensure project success and strong operational returns.