3 Ways Beacons are Making IoT in Healthcare Better

IoT in healthcare needs beacons

3 Ways Beacons are Making IoT in Healthcare Better

IoT in healthcare is an increasingly hot topic, but what will the future really look like? Can BLE beacons bring a new layer of security and efficiency?
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Healthcare expenditures in the US were estimated at $3.24 trillion in 2015. Healthcare represents a huge industry that sees millions of emergency visits and stays annually. Making overall institutional changes in the industry will take time; IoT, however, is becoming an increasingly popular solution to healthcare problems. The Internet of Things offers providers the chance to automate time-consuming services and become more efficient. BLE beacons, in particular, are bringing new capabilities to IoT in healthcare. Beacons are small Bluetooth devices that broadcast a near-constant radio signal to smart devices. This signal can be used to do almost anything a developer can think up. More importantly, beacons offer a diverse array of opportunities for healthcare professionals including better physical and digital security, decreased wait times, and higher equipment utilization rates. Here are just three of the biggest use cases for beacon IoT in healthcare.

Better Asset Tracking and Equipment Utilization

Hospital assets can be costly. In fact, the cost per bed has risen 90% in the past 15 years to $3,144. Each hospital bed includes expensive equipment. Nurses use expensive tools on a daily basis. Keeping track of this equipment, however, is a huge problem. Hospitals are big. Staff often work in several different areas and have different objectives. The result is precious and costly assets being regularly misplaced or left in disuse. In fact, hospitals will purchase between 10 and 20% more equipment than necessary just so staff will be more likely to find it.

By implementing beacon IoT in healthcare, staff will be able to always know where valuable assets are located. Even when a tool is misplaced, a beacon infrastructure can help locate it. IoT in healthcare is not just cool and trendy; it is a comprehensive method for tracking assets. For healthcare administrators, this could mean far less money spent on superfluous equipment. For patients, this means better and faster service.

Better asset tracking through beacons could result in:

  • Less misplaced assets
  • Less over-purchasing of equipment
  • Shorter wait times for patients

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Get Information to Doctors, Faster

Hospital visits are not easy. For patients, doctors, and administrators, the entire process can be tiring and confusing. Reducing wait times both in the waiting rooms and the doctor’s office could lead to not just better experiences but less wasted money. Schedules and plans can change regularly, making it difficult for doctors and nurses to move quickly. Doctors and nurses running from one patient to the next can spend an unnecessary amount of time simply looking for physical patient files–that is the time they could be working on their core objectives.

Modern IoT in healthcare needs to find a better way to store files. By granting digital access to information, beacons can greatly expedite the process of meeting and helping patients. It may even lead to better healthcare security and data compliance practices. Furthermore, beacons can support staff through indoor navigation capabilities, leading them through various wings and straight to a patient.

Beacons can help staff:

  • Find patient information quicker
  • Navigate hospitals faster
  • Locate other staff members

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Bring Proximity to Healthcare Marketing

Marketing solutions are the bread and butter of beacon popularity. Bluetooth beacons can send localized messages and help companies interact with customers at the time and location where it really makes a difference. But beacons are not just showing up in shops and cafes–they are making a play for healthcare marketing, too.

The consumer journey is almost entirely digital. The moment a patient is diagnosed, they move online. In fact, Paul Matsen, CMO of Cleveland Clinic, suggests that 80% of patients who are diagnosed with an illness immediately go online. Patients want to have access to information and they want it in a digital format. Healthcare marketing already encompasses the online world, so the next step is to strengthen the funnel from online to offline through proximity technology. Patients already receive tips and suggestions in the form of wellness boards and paper signage, but beacons push valuable information straight to the smartphone. Whether it is through tips or questions to ask the doctor, beacons can bring a new level of pertinence to IoT in healthcare marketing solutions.

Beacons supports healthcare marketing through:

  • Personalized messaging
  • Proximity-based notifications
  • Combining online and offline campaigns

Beacon IoT in Healthcare

There is a steady push for better technology uptake in hospitals, but it will take time. Moreover, hospitals have proven wary when it comes to sharing their pilots and success stories with the public. Beacon use cases in healthcare will likely grow under the radar and in ways unexpected by the everyday patient. Wearables and beacons offer a cool combination, but it is use cases like asset tracking and security compliance that will save money and resources. These key capabilities will make proximity technology irreplaceable in the future healthcare market.

Do you think proximity technology will make healthcare better? Let us know in the comments.

Want to learn how beacons can benefit your existing toolkit? Let’s chat!