Telekom Healthcare Solutions is bringing asset tracking to hospitals, thereby facilitating precise localization of medical equipment. The system it is establishing helps make hospitals more effective, and it promotes the development of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). Medical equipment is equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors, known as "beacons," that digitally keep track of locations and various state parameters. Once they become "smart" by being integrated within the system, all kinds of medical equipment and devices – ultrasound scanners, patient monitors, wheelchairs, beds ... – autonomously transmit their sensor data, via a Wi-Fi infrastructure, to a highly secure cloud environment. The cloud, operated by Deutsche Telekom, meets the most-stringent standards for IT security and data protection under European law. The system visualizes sensor information in the form of heat maps, which are understood intuitively. The data can be accessed via mobile devices, which the hospital staff can check at any time to locate equipment..
The here and now in hospitals: Where is that device?
Recent tests conducted by Telekom Healthcare Solutions have shown that this new, intelligent solution addresses an urgent need: medical staff spend between 25 and 33 percent of their time looking for medical equipment. Valuable time, which is subsequently lacking in patient care and also complicates the maintenance of the equipment. Medical Asset Tracking for Hospitals addresses this problem, thereby facilitating efficient use of time and resources and helping hospitals operate more effectively. In addition to location tracking, the system, which can easily be retrofitted to existing equipment suites, offers movement-analysis functionality. As a result, not only does it help reduce walking distance and prevent unnecessary waiting, it also makes use of medical equipment more effective.
Further development of asset tracking: hospitals as innovation centers
To introduce the Medical Asset Tracking system Telekom Healthcare Solutions is cooperating closely with Sony Mobile Communications. Sony, with expertise in mobile telecommunications, provides the core functionality for the tracking system. Deutsche Telekom has linked that functionality with its extensive industry expertise and its access to the healthcare sector. The two partners, working on this basis, have already tested the Medical Asset Tracking system in hospitals. In the process, they have identified additional functionality needs, such as requirements for device utilization and device maintenance analyses, personnel and patient tracking, workflow optimization and, prospectively, use of artificial intelligence. Consequently, the new IoMT system is being continuously upgraded, in the framework of a co-creation process involving customers, and with close attention to actual needs that arise in practice.