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How Wireless Connectivity is Transforming Healthcare

July 14, 2022
Ross Gray, Vice President, Product Connectivity Solutions
Ross Gray, Vice President, Product Connectivity Solutions

Most of us who have ever visited a hospital know that wireless connectivity (typically Wi-Fi) is available for patient connectivity, but wireless does a lot more than that in healthcare settings, and now it’s taking an even larger role.

As healthcare continues to evolve, hospitals and clinics are constantly leveraging new technology to improve patient care, increase accessibility to patients, and reduce costs. Hospitals have used Wi-Fi technology for many years to track portable assets like EKG machines, defibrillators, and X-ray machines, but with the advent of 4G and 5G mobile cellular technology and new IoT devices and applications, they now have new options for patient care as well as achieving their overall goals. This Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) can help increase patient health and safety as well as optimize processes.

As an example, we are now seeing continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices enabling diabetics to track the level of glucose in their blood each day. Using IoT solutions, some CGM systems can send patient data to their mobile devices and the caregiver. IoT solutions are also being used for remote monitoring of blood analyzers, asthma management, smart body implants, and in smart laboratories to enable more effective lab processes.

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is also growing rapidly, where patients use wearable devices that monitor vital signs and transmit this data back to healthcare providers for assessment. Analyst firm Berg Insights predicts that RPM usage will grow from 40 million patients in 2021 to 116 million patients by 2026 as Baby Boomers age and develop chronic diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and congestive heart failure.

The latest cellular technologies and IoT solutions also enable cold chain monitoring, whereby hospitals can track refrigerated assets like blood supplies, vaccines, medications, or donor organs through the supply chain. Hospitals and clinics need to know where these assets are and when they can expect them to arrive.

Sierra Wireless for Healthcare

Sierra Wireless systems and modules are used in many different public and private LTE and 5G networks for asset tracking and device communications. For example, we recently announced that Hive-Zox, a Swiss company offering real-time supply chain tracking technology, adopted our HL78 Series LPWA cellular connectivity module for use in its next-generation cold chain monitoring and tracking solution, BEEconIoT.

Targeted at healthcare organizations transporting medical supplies, BEEconIoT tracks each item’s location as well as environmental factors like temperature, location, humidity, light, pressure, shock, and movement. The solution helps ensure quality control, reduces spoilage and waste, improves performance, delivers compliance with industry regulations, saves time and costs, and guarantees product quality and the safety of assets throughout their journey.

“We needed a global, next-generation, mobile IoT network solution to track and monitor assets, and we chose Sierra Wireless’ HL7802 LPWA module to fulfill our global connectivity needs,” said Charles Bourbonnais, CEO and Co-Founder of HIVE-ZOX International. “Their technical team has been regularly available to help us with any aspect of development and integration and to review any issues, and they have prioritized deliveries for us even with the worldwide supply chain shortages and constraints, so that we were able to push forward with production. Sierra Wireless has proven themselves to be a trusted partner, and their solution has been very effective.”

Hive-Zox, Sony Semiconductor and Sierra Wireless shared examples of IoT connectivity in healthcare in a recent webinar, and you can also learn more about how connectivity is transforming medical care in the following white papers by Beecham Research:

In addition to modules, Sierra Wireless brings managed IoT connectivity services to ensure healthcare-critical assets are secure and always on.

Start with Sierra and contact us today to learn more about how Sierra Wireless is driving the future of healthcare connectivity.

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