Scottish hospital trials IoT technology to help monitor medical beds

Scottish hospital trials IoT technology to help monitor medical beds

A hospital in Scotland is trialling internet of things (IoT) technology to help monitor medical beds more efficiently as they move throughout the site.

NHS Highland’s Caithness General Hospital in Wick, Scotland, has installed a trial system to automate the process of bed maintenance, using technology which will help monitor medical beds and ameliorate access to their maintenance records.

The technology was developed in collaboration between technology company Beringar and the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems, and uses Bluetooth-compatible tags attached to beds to transfer real-time data via a low-power, wide area network.

What impact will the technology have?

Because medical beds are highly technical and have a number of mechanical and hydraulic parts, they require regular maintenance checks to ensure that they are operating efficiently and that they do not compromise patient safety.

Caithness General Hospital currently has 68 beds in operation, on which maintenance operations are undertaken once per month. Keeping track of beds manually as they move around the facility and ensuring they are properly maintained generates a significant administrative burden, and so the hospital hopes the new system will help monitor medical beds with far greater efficiency.

What have the stakeholders said?

Head of estates at NHS Highland, Eric Green, said that if the trial proves successful, it could revolutionise processes throughout the NHS, improving the efficiency of operations at a time when the public health authority is under immense pressure to do so.

He explained: “It’s now more important than ever for the NHS to increase productivity and identify where it can make changes to enhance efficiency. Beringar’s technology has allowed us to obtain immediate information on where our hospital beds are located.”

The data on the location of beds, as well as their maintenance records, can be easily accessed through a central dashboard, and Green also welcomed the ease of using this technology: “The Bluetooth tags and dashboard make it easy to find the bed we’re looking for and access up-to-date maintenance records, enabling us to make smarter, more informed decisions.”

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