Three Ways the Internet of Things Can Improve Patient Safety


The Internet of Things may still seem like a futuristic concept better suited for Silicon Valley visionaries than community hospitals and rural primary care clinics, but healthcare’s web of connected devices and surveillance systems is growing more complex and sophisticated by the day.

Providers and patients alike are developing a taste for the IoT lifestyle as medical devices, wearables, home monitoring equipment, and electronic health records combine to form a safety net for those concerned with chronic disease management, population health, and the safety of patients before, during, and after a hospitalization or physician consult.

The Internet of Things holds great potential as a tool for patient safety.  Interconnected devices placed in the home, by the bedside, or on the wrists of vulnerable patients ensure that caregivers can be continuously watchful and that providers are staying on task with the procedures and workflows that prevent infections, forestall adverse drug events, and continue quality care after discharge ….

On the inpatient side, the Internet of Things is helping hospitals avoid, mitigate, or predict adverse events and drug safety issues by focusing on integrating medical devices into a smart network of monitoring tools linked to the EHR.  Medical device integration may reduce up to half of all patient safety errors, a recent West Health survey found, especially if data flowed automatically to a centralized location to eliminate the potential for human transcription errors or data access delays.

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