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Active Beacons Monitoring the Healthcare Industry

Posted by Claudiu Rusu / Thursday September 14th, 2017 / Categories: iBeacon / 1 Comment

Photo Credit: NEC Corporation of America Flickr via Compfight ccPhoto Credit: NEC Corporation of America Flickr via Compfight cc

As mobile technology becomes smarter with new innovative built-in features, it provides the healthcare sector solutions to make their processes more efficient and effective while helping doctors and other medical practitioners stay productive. Beacons are just one of the latest innovations that are positively impacting the industry.

According to a report featured on BusinessWire about beacons, it revealed a plans for approximately 400 million Bluetooth tags to be deployed by 2020. The data came from ABI Research that also discussed the exponential growth in the usage within the healthcare industry, with US pharmacy chain Rite Aid announcing the biggest beacon deployment to date.

The arrival of a more advanced Bluetooth 5.0 on selected premium handsets has undoubtedly helped the adoption rates. So far, Samsung’s latest handsets are among the devices that have this specific built-in hardware. Along with other wireless connectivity, O2 revealed that the Galaxy S8 Plus comes with Bluetooth 5.0 that promises quadruple the range compared to the previous chipset (up to 800 feet away) and twice the data transfer speed of the Bluetooth 4.2. Apple is said to be introducing the same technology in their iPhone 8. With this upgrade, hospitals and practitioners are able to have more stable connections with beacons that will reach even further.

Beacons are gaining traction in the healthcare sector as they can be harnessed for a host of functions. Below, we have compiled the ways in which hospitals and medical facilities can leverage beacons.

AUTOMATED ENTRY AND ACCESS

A major aspect of hospital management is the security of hospital buildings and wings, not to mention the varying levels of access rights to each room. In restricted areas, medical facilities can maximise beacons to automate entry access instead of using ID badges that can easily be manipulated and keys that can get lost. Managers can use beacon cards to provide individuals with very specific rights for each location. They can also be used by hospitals to easily locate the nearest doctors in cases of emergencies. For patients and their visitors, the technology enables them to automate check-ins so they won’t need to fall in line. Bluetooth tags installed at each entry point can help them do everything digitally including sending files, presenting identification, gathering proximity data, and much more.

TRACKING PATIENTS

Beacons can help track patients in need of urgent medical attention or monitor outpatient progress even when they are away from the hospital facility. Bluetooth devices can transmit readings to a smartphone for storage, which patients can access and present to the physician on their next hospital visit, or they can send data to the hospital over a wireless connection. In case of emergency, beacon devices can prompt a smartphone to make an emergency call that provides hospital and emergency units with the patient’s location via the GPS location data provided by their smartphones. This will be vital for elderly patients in assisted living facilities and those with Dementia, which was clearly explained in a white paper from the Florida State University (FSU).

ASSET TRACKING

Photo Credit: Nicola since 1972 Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Nicola since 1972 Flickr via Compfight cc

The most obvious way of using beacons in healthcare is by building a complete asset tracking system. Hospital equipment is very expensive and it can easily go missing. The cost of lost and stolen hospital equipment costs the industry millions each year. Locating equipment and supplies takes nurses time, based on a productivity survey by the Nursing Times, slowing down the response time and delaying procedures that can compromise patient safety. With beacons, asset managers can easily track their equipment when they need it. Bluetooth tags will be set up around certain wings or buildings to manage assets in real time. So, the next time a doctor or nurse needs a particular tool, they can easily check its exact location via a dedicated app.

COMPLIANCE TRACKING AND RECORDING

Since data is being generated and passed on faster than ever before, hospitals are having a hard time in keeping up with safe practices to ensure the security of information. Data compliance is another huge problem for the healthcare sector. However, Bluetooth beacons can be utilised to secure systems against improper accessed data. By employing proximity-based restrictions on files, it can help secure data on all fronts.

Exclusively written for OnyxBeacon
by JenForTechnology

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