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The Internet of Things (IoT): Transforming Healthcare Operations

The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer a futuristic concept—it’s rapidly reshaping how businesses operate. 

Experts project the number of connected devices worldwide to continue growing. It’s estimated to rise from about 15 billion in 2023 to 21 billion in 2026.

Imagine a world where smart devices seamlessly communicate, optimising processes and enhancing efficiency.

For healthcare providers, this means improved patient care, streamlined operations, and data-driven decision-making.

The IoT Landscape: From smart sensors to connected patient monitoring devices.

IoT encompasses a wide range of smart devices, from production line sensors, patient monitoring such as heart-rate or glucose monitoring, to energy-efficient thermostats. These devices collect and transmit data, providing real-time insights.

As a healthcare business owner, you’re likely intrigued by the possibilities—but deploying IoT on your existing network can feel like navigating a complex maze.

Step 1: Define your goals and needs

Before diving headfirst into IoT implementation, start by defining your goals. Ask yourself:

What problem are you solving?

Are you aiming to enhance operational efficiency, gain real-time data insights, or improve remote monitoring capabilities? Clearly defining the issue you want to solve ensures that your iot deployment aligns with your business needs.

What data will you collect?

Consider the nature and volume of data generated by your chosen devices. This information is crucial for selecting the right network infrastructure.

What level of security do you need?

Security measures should match the sensitivity of the data collected. Protecting patient information is paramount.

Step 2: Select the right devices and network infrastructure

With your goals in mind, let’s choose the right components:

IoT devices

When selecting smart devices, consider:

  • Compatibility: Ensure they work seamlessly with your existing infrastructure.
  • Data Security: Look for devices with strong security protocols and firmware protection.
  • Scalability: Choose devices that can grow with your clinic.

Network infrastructure

Your existing network may need upgrades to handle IoT traffic. Consider separate networks for IoT devices and dedicated gateways for efficient communication.

Step 3: Focus on security throughout the journey

Security is non-negotiable in the IoT realm:

Secure the devices

Some measures you should take to secure your IoT devices include:

  • Setting strong passwords.
  • Regularly updating firmware.
  • Choosing devices with encryption and secure boot features.

Isolate IoT networks

Create separate networks for IoT devices and critical business systems. This minimises the impact of security breaches.

Install network access control (NAC)

Use multi-factor authentication to restrict network access to authorised devices.

Track and maintain

Stay vigilant. Regularly update security protocols and software to stay ahead of evolving threats.

Step 4: Deployment and ongoing management

You’ve laid the groundwork; now it’s time to deploy your IoT devices.

To do this:

  • Follow Instructions: Install and configure devices carefully.
  • Test Functionality: Confirm device functionality before full integration.
  • Comprehensive Management: Develop a strategy for regular maintenance, firmware updates, and issue monitoring.

Step 5: Continuous learning and improvement

IoT evolves, and so should your approach. It’s important to regularly evaluate how your devices fit into your business strategy and reflect on what’s working and what can be improved.

Analyse the data

Once your IoT devices are operational, analyse the data. This will help you gain insights and refine your strategy.

Embrace feedback

Listen to stakeholders within your organisation. Have you been able to make the most of the benefits of connected devices? Are they easy to use? Are there any recurring issues?

Use their feedback to improve implementation.

Stay informed

Keep up with IoT trends. Adapt and leverage new technologies as they emerge.

Unlock the potential: Get expert help for your network devices

At NetworkIQ, we specialise in empowering healthcare businesses to make the most of their technology.

Let us help you transform your operations and harness the full potential of smart devices. Contact us today for a free 10-minute discovery call—because your business deserves the best.

Feel free to reach out to us, and let’s explore how IoT can revolutionise your healthcare practice!

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

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