How IoT & Advanced Technologies Can Save Lives


    Jul 14, 2023

    The healthcare industry has certainly been under the spotlight over the last couple of years, with COVID-19 accelerating the speed of technology adoption. Emergency care has also come under increasing pressure since ambulances represent the key service within the industry that were a precondition for tackling the crisis.

    Identifying the real challenges

    During the pandemic, it was challenging for emergency care and ambulance services arriving at the patient location to quickly identify in real-time whether ICU beds were available with the required equipment needed for the affected patient.

    The emergency service dispatcher needed to accurately find the nearest hospital with available ICU beds, ensuring patients get rapid life-saving treatment while the patient’s transfer is in progress.

    This could be a life or death situation where minutes and seconds make a difference, as time-to-care can be too long.

    In some cases, the travel time made while moving patients from one hospital to another in search of finding a bed could result in death if treatment was not received in sufficient time.

    This is where advanced ICT came in.

    Time-to-care improvements in real-life scenarios

    An exemplary model of how technologies can be put into the hands of healthcare service providers has been successfully implemented in Africa. The system has proven how technologies, collaboration, and innovation contribute to enhance and save people lives.

    The pilot project successfully implemented advanced wireless IoT sensors deployed in ICU units in hospitals to track ICU bed availability. Integrated with the Healthcare Information System (HIS) platform and updated in real-time, the solution is also linked the ambulance tracking system.

    When an ambulance arrives at the location of an incident, a suitable hospital Emergency Room (ER) with available ICU beds is instantly identified, so ambulances can be immediately directed to that location. The ETA of the ambulance at the hospital is also calculated, and patient data and historical records can be retrieved and prepared in advance.

    First, this enables the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and dispatcher to acquire the availability of beds in real time in all connected and provisioned hospitals. The end result is that Time-to-care is dramatically reduced.

    Second, during patient transfer to the hospital, hospital staff can remotely monitor the basic vitals of patient, so that appropriate care is given throughout the journey. Remote online video consultation between the ambulance and the hospital is enabled through a dedicated wireless network and smart interactive screens installed in the hospital.

    Finally, the patient is transferred to the emergency care unit of the hospital or clinic in the care of physician.

    Upon entering an emergency room and pre-admission, patients immediately receive IoT-enabled ID wristbands connected to all-in-one Wi-Fi network that tracks them through each step of their treatment. This helps analyse how long patients spend in each part of the process, which can in turn uncover areas in need of improvement as well as update patient records in the integrated HIS.

    Digital transformation is boosting the healthcare landscape

    Adapting advanced digital technologies into healthcare digital transformation initiatives has become a game-changer and a top priority for nations eager to boost economic growth and improve people’s lives.

    The pilot project has proven to be one step in the right direction. Emergency care has the potential to play a major driver towards the successful achievement of the UN  Sustainable Development Goal for health.

    There is no doubt that the global healthcare market is enormous and investment in healthcare is growing. There are still huge opportunities for digital technology and innovation to transform standard practice into a comprehensive digital modern healthcare landscape, driving economic growth as well as improving life and overall well-being.

    That will require more comprehensive and accelerated collaboration among industry players, leading technology providers, and the private and public sectors.

    Digital transformation has plenty to offer those institutions who are open to create the innovative social and business collaboration environment that spans across technologies, cultures, and borders.

    Learn more about Huawei’s Intelligent Healthcare solutions.

    Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.


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