Hospital Guide to Successful Bluetooth Implementation

Hospital Guide to Successful Bluetooth Implementation

Adopting technological innovation in a hospital is no easy task. Here’s the 9-step process for making sure a Bluetooth project succeeds.

There are many stakeholders involved in the decision making process – administrators, heads of security and IT, leaders of different departments – each with their own agenda. Unless their competing and complex interests are acknowledged and skilfully managed, they can be a serious barrier to your hospital’s innovation.

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Finding funding can be another challenge. Implementing new technology is costly, but when done right, it can improve processes for both doctors and patients, and produce significant savings overtime.

So you’ve decided Bluetooth is the way to go–but, as a healthcare administrator, how do you even go about adopting this technology and ensure your investment will pay off? There are many steps involved in the process, and we’ve decided to break them down to nine. Happy reading!

Step 1: Define problem and clarify ROI

Too often we see customers discuss technology before they have a clear understanding of their business’s problem. The same applies to hospital leaders, so let’s step back for a second. Have you spoken to different departments in your hospital and identified their pain points yet? Is one problem being mentioned all too often? Once the problem has been identified, it’s important you clarify your desired ROI – it can be financial, but can also take on many other forms, e.g. improved patient experience or safety.

Step 2: Find successful use cases

If your healthcare institution has a major problem, chances are other hospitals have been facing similar complications, and likely some of them already solved them. Google around and ask. Find different Bluetooth use cases. Compare results. Use cases can also prevent you from investing in solutions that haven’t worked for other hospitals. You will find some Bluetooth-based asset tracking use cases in healthcare here.

Step 3: Determine physical requirements

In a hospital environment, even the smallest infrastructure changes, such as running a cable, can pose a serious security threat. Not to mention, if not correctly planned, it could cost a lot of money and cause a large amount of hassle. This is why you should try to make the most of your existing infrastructure when integrating in new technology. Make sure you understand your institution’s physical limitations and familiarize yourself different Bluetooth beacon deployment approaches. Determine where you can and cannot place hardware.

Step 4: Understand data security and privacy

It’s easy to forget, but security leaders often get a veto in the hospital innovation process. A solution provider can’t argue with the hospital’s security or IT team. Make sure to involve any security teams as early in the process as possible to avoid potential disappointments later. Know what to be up front about with solution providers.

Step 5: Compile necessary costs

The integration of health IT can be pricey. Hospitals often have to make a significant up-front capital investment in equipment, facilities, and staff training (as discussed in the AHA’s “Adopting Technological Innovation in Hospitals” report). Therefore, it is important healthcare innovators carefully allocate their budget and resources and calculate all costs in advance. Make sure you have considered everything, i.e. have you taken cost of installation, service providers and app building into account?

Step 6: Clear with I.T.

Digital security, especially in hospitals, is just as important as physical security. This isn’t generally a blocker for solutions but rather a point of discussion. Be ready to clarify data storage or collection especially in regard to regulations like HIPAA. (Don’t forget, proximity information can also help safeguard data against inappropriate usage.) Expect a little caution from IT–it’s their job!

Step 7: Find service providers

Your choice of a solution provider can make a significant difference in your satisfaction and innovation success. There are many service providers out there, so how do you choose the right one? Let’s start with the basics. In the Bluetooth sphere, solution providers usually differ in the type of services they provide, i.e. real-time asset tracking or indoor navigation. They can also differ in beacons they use and kind of support they provide. Some of them even specialize in certain verticals, like healthcare. Proven results and real-world use cases are always a good start to get to know different solution providers and their previous projects.

Step 8: Ensure your project solves your defined problem!

Now, it’s time to back to the beginning: Step 1, the problem and desired ROI. Let’s re-evaluate your choices. Will the resulting solution solve your defined problem? Is it secure? Taking into accounts costs and reasonable expectations, can you expect the ROI you initially predicted?

Step 9: High Fives

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate! After all, you’ve just gone through a really hard healthcare innovation process. If your resulting use case will solve your key pain point, it may be time to move forward.

Joanna Kotecka - Photo
  • Joanna Kotecka
Marketing & Community Manager

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