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IoT Transforming Healthcare Facilities Management

George Haddad
Senior Director of Industry Strategy

Perhaps nowhere is the Internet of Things (IoT) showing more promise than in healthcare, where it has the potential to improve nearly every facet of the industry – from helping control surging costs, to cultivating “connected” patient care, improving drug safety and diagnostic accuracy, avoiding preventable readmission of patients with chronic conditions, and greatly improving the efficiency and operation of healthcare facilities.

Indeed, healthcare facility managers increasingly are looking to the IoT to improve their building maintenance strategies. Some 60% of professionals say that the IoT has impacted their building and maintenance policies within the last year, according to a survey by Schneider Electric. Most hospitals already use IoT technologies for asset management and for controlling humidity and temperature within operating rooms, but these uses just scratch the surface of the many possible applications of connected systems.

Healthcare facilities have been using technology-intensive systems for years with elevators, building security systems, HVAC, maintenance, and asset management systems. The challenge with the IoT is bringing those silos of system data together in the cloud and integrating IT and operational technologies to create a truly “smart” facility.

When data is shared, the IoT can help facility managers understand what is happening within every component of a building and optimize performance of even the smallest components in a building automation system (BAS).

In an IoT ecosystem, the BAS takes on a supporting role. The intelligence capabilities in IoT systems analyze the stored information in the cloud and determine the best course of action. The BAS then coordinates the necessary actions, such as turning systems on or off, sending alarms, or making adjustments to any or all devices in a facility. With integrated IoT functions, facility managers can dodge breakdowns, resolve issues and avoid any impact on building occupants.

The IoT can also give building occupants and users more control over their environments. Mobile applications can enable users to control heating and cooling set points or lighting, for instance.

By expanding the collective intelligence of buildings, the IoT exponentially increases the effectiveness and efficiency of systems. But for many facilities, that’s easier said than done.

Facilities are often held back from fully adopting IoT technologies for several reasons.  Some 39% of respondents to the Schneider survey cited investment costs as the biggest barrier to adoption. Another 31% said they are held back by a lack of internal resources to interpret data into actionable results. When it comes to new building technologies, only a quarter of facility managers felt that available building information is totally adequate for facility maintenance planning. A majority of respondents cited room for improvement in this area, and only 15% reported they fully utilize predictive maintenance tools to proactively assess and target equipment maintenance.

The good news is that your existing facilities asset lifecycle management solution may already provide the building blocks to create an integrated IoT ecosystem that can reduce costs, speed time to value, provide rich data, and enhance your predictive maintenance tools. Solutions with available cloud capabilities can integrate IoT devices and systems. So when you’re ready to step up your organization’s IoT capabilities or add new devices, the foundation is already in place, eliminating the need to build integrations to other third-party solutions.

With an IoT–ready solution, healthcare facilities are already one step ahead in their digital transformation to a truly smart facility.  For more insight into making this change, read our latest white paper on facilities management for the healthcare sector.

This post was authored by George Haddad, who is senior director of industry strategy for Oracle Construction and Engineering. 

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