Why Bluetooth is the technology of choice for improving safety in Healthcare
Learn how the Kontakt.io is leveraging Bluetooth technology to improve safety standards for patients and staff alike in the healthcare industry.
If you are looking for a sector as complex to navigate technologically as it is essential for our well-being, then look no further than the healthcare industry.
It is a frequent topic of debate over a juicy double cheeseburger and fries for a good reason: it concerns all of us. More interesting still, from a technology perspective, innovations in the space should directly contribute to improvements in the quality and timeliness of care. Which we will all be on the receiving end of someday.
At Kontakt.io, we’ve seen many applications in the healthcare space utilizing our Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. From location services to inventory replenishment, BLE is on every CTO’s list of technologies for novel applications and use cases.
Staying true to our mission of digitalizing the physical world by making location-based solutions easy, we are delivering end-to-end BLE solutions based on our open and modular IoT location platform.
In this post, I’ll be diving into a pressing challenge for healthcare professionals and how our core end-to-end solutions for healthcare can address that challenge of “Safety and Security.”
Challenges facing Healthcare
The healthcare industry is well aware of the risks that their staff and patients are subject to each and every day (we cover this in greater depth in a previous blog here). Whether it’s in the Emergency Room, a place where pressure and vulnerability are at their peak, or in Elderly Care facilities, healthcare professionals in the US are routinely subject to a greater number of injuries each year than any other sector.
Historically, a wide array of technologies have been developed to combat this problem with varying degrees of implementation, cost and success. Many of these are quickly becoming outdated or obsolete, unable to affordably deliver a safe, high-quality work environment with an open and agnostic platform.
Over the last 5 years, Bluetooth has proven itself worthy of such a task and by many accounts, is the technology poised to lead industries like healthcare forward with greater flexibility, performance and lower costs than ever before.
As Colin Lowenberg over at Cisco Meraki pointed out in a previous interview with Kontakt.io in 2017, the future of RTLS in healthcare is Bluetooth: “Bluetooth is better than WiFi because it means lower costs, longer battery, smaller devices, and it’s coming out of startups as well as the incumbents.” Lowenberg goes on to reiterate WiFi’s waning presence as a viable technology for location-based deployments citing cost and complexity as principle culprits.
Future-proofing your deployment with Bluetooth
If we were to imagine what it might look like to walk through a hospital in 5 or 10 years, chances are that it will be pretty identical to what we see today. Hospitals and healthcare related organizations are quite slow at adopting new technologies, notorious for their strict budgetary and approval processes. Given the pace of technological change, and the growing amount of data to be captured, it is no longer economical nor pragmatic to consider implementing a stand alone, proprietary solution that serves a singular use.
Recognizing this, leaders in the space are taking a more holistic and interoperable approach to their technology projects. What used to be considered a singular IT project is now an integral part of a business module as a whole. Therefore, the need for platforms that are adaptable, hardware agnostic, easy to deploy and maintain, and backed by the trust only leading technology companies in the industry can provide, is essential for future success.
BLE is the technology that will help pave the uncertain terrain of the IoT. As the leading provider of BLE technology globally, Kontakt.io is working closely with healthcare organizations and our solution partners to deliver end-to-end solution modules that will answer many of the most pressing challenges in the healthcare industry today, and tomorrow.
One such challenge is the threat of verbal or physical abuse for healthcare professionals. To combat this, Kontakt.io has developed the “Safety and Security” module.
Kontakt.io Safety and Security Module
The Safety and Security module is a low cost, location-based solution built specifically for the healthcare industry. It enables the real-time location of staff members when they signal for help in case of an emergency, using the Kontakt.io Panic Button. The number of verbal and physical abuse instances that healthcare professionals endure each year is staggering, but can be improved with the help of greater visibility and timeliness afforded by our panic button.
The Safety and Security Module is comprised of a custom dashboard that is the foundation for capturing data, managing alerts, and creating rules in the service of a tailored solution for a variety of use cases.
These features enable the real-time detection, localization and notification of all emergency incidents the instant they occur. Relevant personnel can be informed through a variety channels like a smartphone or desktop application.
Deploying in Healthcare and Beyond
The Safety and Security model is the user-friendly interface through which management and personnel will visualize their staff on a map in case of an emergency. Additionally the dashboard allows for custom alerts, rules and historical data access enabling meaningful conclusions to be drawn and security improved.
Here’s how it typically works:
- Assign staff with Kontakt.io’s S18-3 Bluetooth Tag, equipped with a built-in panic button
- In case of an emergency, the panic button is pressed and the signal is received by a nearby Kontakt.io Gateway or one of our 3rd party Solution Partner’s access points like Ruckus
- Gateway relays data to the cloud or an on-premise server running Kontakt.io’s “Safety and Security” module
- Relevant personnel are immediately notified of incident via the dashboard on desktop or mobile alerts and help is sent
- Data of incident is collected and processed via Emergency Management using AI-based Alerts Recognition to continually find patterns in events and provide the foundation for preventative measures in the future
For many deployments involving location tracking or condition monitoring, most of the hardware might already be in place if for example you have a Ruckus WiFi network. Contact us and we can discuss our growing list of supported access points and determine whether your existing WiFi infrastructure can already support Kontakt.io beacons.