Wireless Sensors and Healthcare:
The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming many aspects of our world forever. Wireless sensors and Healthcare.
With wireless sensor technology, organizations can connect thousands of low-power devices over long-range networks and create new cost-saving efficiencies. In some industries, wireless sensors can even impact the quality of life for people in significant ways.
The healthcare sector is one area that has started exploring various uses for wireless sensors. From assisted living communities to hospitals, we are seeing numerous IoT applications in healthcare that are helping medical professionals take better care of patients, both in inpatient and outpatient environments.
With wireless sensors, healthcare teams can configure automated data flows that augment existing processes or completely replace manual activity altogether. In this article, we highlight several use cases for wireless sensors in the medical field and showcase how IoT technology is being used in our world today.
Wireless sensors supporting elderly care:
Wireless sensor technology has already proven to be valuable in helping care teams support elderly patients.
In nursing homes and senior living facilities, wireless sensors can be used as low-cost Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS). Also known as wireless push buttons, these sensors can be installed throughout facilities and serve as panic buttons that seniors can press whenever they need assistance. Wireless push buttons can be deployed in bathrooms, private quarters, common areas, or entrance ways depending on the needs of the staff and residents.
Wireless sensors can also act as silent alarms so that medical staff can call for additional support without drawing too much extra attention to the scene. Facilities that serve patients with mental health challenges may find this sensor application particularly useful.
Wireless acceleration-based movement sensors, or accelerometers, can also help medical staff monitor the physical health of their patients. These sensors can be worn by patients and used to alert personnel of abnormal movements.
For example, care teams can see if patients have been still for unusually long periods of time, potentially indicating health concerns if observed during non-sleeping hours. Or, accelerometers can be used to detect rapid movements and impact, which may indicate that someone has fallen.
Wireless door and window sensors can be installed in senior living homes and assisted-living communities where it is essential to ensure residents remain on campus. These sensors transmit alerts for opening and closing events, which in some cases, may indicate that residents are trying to leave the premises. Door sensors can also be placed near high-traffic recreational spaces or entrance-ways so that facility staff can monitor busyness.
Wireless sensors enhancing hospital operations:
There are several current uses for wireless sensors in hospitals. Some types of sensors support utility management, while others directly impact patient care.
Wireless air sensors that monitor air quality can detect the presence of certain gases or conduct temperature and humidity readings. These sensors can be installed throughout hospital campuses to help facility managers maintain quality and comfortable conditions for patients.
In patient rooms, air sensors can alert when temperatures fall or rise beyond predefined thresholds. In labs, technicians can rely on air sensors to indicate when air quality has changed in such a way that would damage medicines, vaccinations, and blood samples. In intensive care units where humidity levels need to be carefully controlled, air sensors can help indicate when there is too much or too little moisture in the air.
Wireless liquid sensors are useful for a variety of applications. They are valuable for mitigating flood damage related to accidental leaks and plumbing issues. Wireless rope sensors can cover wide areas and detect any kind of liquid spill, especially near electrical equipment. Leak sensors can be placed along pipes to help identify frozen sections that are at risk of bursting on colder days.
Wireless push buttons can also be used in the hospital setting as silent alarms that staff can activate when needed. For example, emergency rooms or behavioral health units may want wireless sensor capabilities to call security when help is required for unstable individuals.
Wireless sensor supporting organ transportation services:
Wireless sensors are helping transform many aspects of supply chain management.
Cold chain monitoring, in particular, is one area that will benefit tremendously from IoT technology. In the healthcare space, cold chain monitoring is relevant for transporting organs or medicines to individuals or areas of need. The organizations that help move these medical assets can use wireless temperature sensors to monitor their refrigeration units and HVAC systems.
Personnel can be notified instantly if temperatures exceed certain thresholds, indicating a potential malfunction that needs to be addressed. Wireless sensors offer a low-cost, low-power solution for tracking cold chain activity at all times.
Wireless sensor technology disrupting healthcare
These are just a few examples of how IoT technology and wireless sensors are disrupting the healthcare space. Over time, we will continue to see new and innovative applications for wireless sensors that continue to help healthcare facilities and staff take care of their patients.
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