How IoT (Internet of Things) can help hospitals to improve NABH / JCI compliance
on 15th November, 2017
IoT (Internet of Things) is a widely used term. It is now becoming a very popular in the healthcare sector. The ultimate goal of any hospital is to treat its patients in the best possible and reliable way. Hospital acquired infection is the biggest barrier to achieve this goal.
Most of the hospitals fail to control hospital acquired infections due to malpractices like wrong hand washing techniques, wrong human pathways, human entry in restricted areas, disturbances in one way flow of CSSD (central sterile storage department) and laundry processes, wrong transportation of contaminated assets, misplacement of various assets, etc. It is a challenging task to overcome these problems for any hospital, especially hospitals from India, where problems of overcrowding and human traffic management are very prevalent. Human supervision always falls short to control such scenarios due to its limited scope. According to the studies 90% of hospital acquired infections are caused by the contaminated devices and instruments. Following are the some statistics of hospital acquired infection incidences due to these malpractices.
With the help of advanced technologies like IoT these challenges can be addressed. By using RFID tags hospitals can track their assets as well as human resources and gain a control over this issue. Such technologies facilitate hospitals to maintain their quality care, create a brand and achieve the various quality standard accreditations like NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers) or JCI (Joint Commission International) in the below mentioned ways:
- Human Traffic Management: We can restrict human beings from entering in to the specific locations of the hospitals by identifying the RFID tags and their authorizations. It is applicable to the hospital staff, patient as well as the relatives. A smart alert system of lights and alarms can be used to restrict such actions.
- Maintaining one way path of CSSD and Laundry: OT instruments and linen play a very critical role in the hospital infection control. Malpractices in CSSD and laundry can cause severe troubles to the patient as well as the hospital. Hospitals must follow proper routes of moving contaminated instruments and materials from operation room to the CSSD while CSSD has different processes of sterilizing these instruments. During this process no instrument should escape from its route and the required location identification. This can be achieved by using various RFID readers located in different locations of CSSD path to verify the adherence of the sterilization process. If any instrument fails to go through all the processes of CSSD then the instrument should be identified by the reader to restrict its further movement.
- Misplacement of Assets: Hospital assets should be kept in a specific location only. If any non clean instrument is kept in any sterilized location of the hospital then it can lead to the contamination of other instruments also. These malpractices can be controlled by using the RFIDs to restrict its entry in the unauthorized locations by using alerts and alarms.
- Hand Washing Techniques: Various advanced sensors can be used to control the wrong hand washing techniques by staff. This is one of the biggest problems in most of the hospitals as they do not have any control over this. IoT devices are the ultimate solution to overcome this problem.
Others: Many advanced IOT devices come with temperature sensors so that they can be used in a cold chain system. If any drug is maintained at a wrong temperature then this device will signal an alert so that the drug is maintained properly or discarded before use.
Hospitals are late adopters of technology but with the changing times, it is now a necessity to grab advanced technologies like IoT to overcome the problems where human supervision fails. It definitely helps hospitals to follow standard processes as per the NABH or JCI norms and elevate the brand of the hospital that helps attract the new patients as well as to increase the medical tourism.
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