The NHS is to trial IoT-enabled medical beds at one Scottish hospital

A Scottish hospital is trialling internet of things (IoT) technology in a bid to monitor medical beds more efficiently as they move through hospital buildings.

The NHS is to trial IoT-enabled medical beds at one Scottish hospital

NHS Highland’s Caithness General Hospital in Wick has begun a trial of the system to automate the process of bed maintenance. It does this through the use of sensors to monitor the status of medical beds and improve access to maintenance data.

Caithness General Hospital felt the need to upgrade their systems to help understand what beds need maintenance and when. Because medical beds have a number of mechanical and hydraulic components to them, they require regular maintenance to ensure the safety and comfort of hospital patients. Caithness currently has 68 beds in operation that require monthly maintenance checks.

Keeping track of which bed needs to be serviced at what time becomes incredibly tricky as they’re regularly moved around hospital buildings.

Developed in collaboration between sensor and IoT startup Beringar and the Scottish Innovation Center for Sensor and Imaging Systems, the technology uses Bluetooth-compatible tags to transfer real-time data from the beds via a low-power, wide area network. The data, such as the location of the beds and maintenance records, can be accessed through a central dashboard.

READ NEXT: What is the Internet of Things?

Head of estates at NHS Highland Eric Green said that if the trail is a success, it could lead to further implementation throughout the service and improve its efficiency at a time the public health authority is under immense pressure to do so.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The trial demonstrates how connected and smart technologies are not gimmicks but useful tools for organisations and enterprises to put to use in order to become more efficient and effective in their day-to-day operations.

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