Mar 22, 2024

Transforming hospital operations with IoT technologies

Alexis Leibbrandt

Hospitals face many challenges to operate efficiently. With the help of IoT technology, routine tasks like cleaning and maintenance turn into smarter processes. Partnering with soobr, we show how modern hospitals adopt IoT to enhance operational processes and resource allocation.

Innovation in the healthcare industry is not only about new high-tech medical devices, futuristic prostheses, and remote-controlled robotic arms. It is also about smarter, more efficient ways to run our hospitals. 

Managing large hospital facilities with severe operational demands is no easy task. From maintaining rigorous hygiene standards to managing numerous day-to-day tasks, hospitals face a myriad of challenges to operate efficiently.

Thankfully, IoT technology is stepping up, turning routine tasks like cleaning and maintenance into smarter processes. Partnering with soobr, we show how modern hospitals adopt IoT to enhance operational processes and resource allocation.

Dynamic cleaning for hospital facilities

The concept of dynamic cleaning represents a shift from traditional, periodic cleaning schedules to a smarter, usage-based approach. By adapting cleaning routines to actual needs rather than fixed schedules, hospitals can conserve resources, improve operational workflows, and respond more swiftly to high-priority areas.

Dynamic cleaning is well suited to versatile environments, proving beneficial in examination rooms, on-call spaces, and other areas where cleaning demands can fluctuate dramatically. 

This service is made available in various hospitals in Switzerland thanks to the combined solution of soobr and akenza. The akenza IoT platform serves as the backbone, capturing real-time data from various sensors, while soobr's expertise translates this data into actionable cleaning routines.

Low-power IoT sensors are able to collect data about various values, such as room utilization and environmental conditions. In most cases, a simple, configurable button is enough to support an on-demand cleaning solution. No more complicated processes; a simple press of a button is all it takes, and the cleaner is informed directly via tablet. As the process is automatically documented, this supports not only cleanliness but also ensures a specific record of the services provided in the operating rooms or other areas of the hospital.

The benefits for the managers of the hospital, as well as its visitors, are various:

  1. Improved hygiene: The system ensures high-traffic areas are cleaned promptly, maintaining high hygiene standards crucial in healthcare settings.

  2. Cost efficiency and resource optimization: Shifting to a usage-based cleaning model reduces unnecessary cleaning efforts, translating into significant cost savings for the hospital and optimizing the allocation of human resources.

  3. Enhanced user satisfaction: Patients and visitors experience a cleaner, more well-maintained environment, positively impacting their perception and satisfaction.

  4. Comprehensive cleaning management: Enhanced order management, from routine cleaning to more specialized tasks like preparing isolation rooms.

  5. Quality management: A verifiable quality management system, based on actual cleaning tasks completed, ensures transparency and accountability in cleaning operations.

“By deploying the solution of soobr and akenza, we were able to identify potential savings and optimize our cleaning processes. So far, the solution has been implemented in two of our buildings. Instead of rigid and static cleaning schedules, we now follow a dynamic approach that allows us to handle cost pressure effectively. Qualitative added value has been achieved, as cleaning now takes place exactly when it is needed. We are satisfied with the results and look forward to further expanding and improving our usage-based cleaning.”
-Samuel Gross, Leiter Spezial- und Büroreinigung im Kantonsspital St. Gallen

Expanding smart solutions in hospitals beyond dynamic cleaning

Implementing IoT technology in hospitals has the potential to improve other areas. The same IoT infrastructure can facilitate a range of other smart applications that further enhance hospital operations and patient experiences.

One such application is the use of configurable buttons to request beds, medical equipment, medication, and other support. With the touch of a button, a service request is sent to the person responsible. A second application is the occupancy monitoring of examination rooms, desks, and communal areas. By employing occupancy sensors to gather real-time data on room usage, hospital administrators can gain valuable insights into how spaces within the facility are utilized.

Occupancy monitoring brings resource optimization opportunities, reduces operational costs, and enhances the experience for both patients and staff. By understanding room usage patterns, facilities can ensure critical areas like examination rooms are readily available when needed and identify opportunities for cost savings in underused spaces, all contributing to a more organized and less crowded environment.

Embracing IoT technology, hospitals can achieve a new level of efficiency and patient care, proving that the future of healthcare lies not just in medical advancements but in smart operational improvements as well.

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