How healthcare organizations are innovating with Edge-to-Edge technologies

The healthcare industry is transforming with connected IoT devices, remote monitoring and more

by AT&T Business Editorial Team

The Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technologies are gradually transforming the healthcare experience. The data we are now able to collect and transmit is helping healthcare organizations become smarter and more preventive, personalized and responsive.

In effect, new-age technologies are helping turn healthcare into human care.

But this ever-expanding ecosystem of connected devices – from wheelchairs and walkers to wearable health monitors and sensors inside our bodies – presents industry leaders with new challenges: how to easily store, manage, access, and analyze massive amounts of data in a way that helps improve patient care, control costs, and ultimately deliver an exceptional experience.

Many providers are turning to edge computing to help solve their challenges. This occurs when processing and storage capabilities are placed near the edge of the network perimeter, which can help improve speed and latency.

Healthcare organizations are also pursuing Edge-to-Edge technologies that can integrate seamlessly, from connectivity to the cloud to IoT endpoints, in a tech ecosystem wrapped in security.

“The move toward edge computing is driven by mobile computing, the decreasing cost of computer components and the sheer number of networked devices in the IoT,” according to TechTarget’s Search Data Center. “Depending on the implementation, time-sensitive data in an edge computing architecture may be processed at the point of origin by an intelligent device or sent to an intermediary server located in close geographical proximity to the client. Data that is less time sensitive is sent to the cloud for historical analysis, big data analytics and long-term storage.”

Adds Network World: “Edge computing reduces latency because data does not have to traverse over a network to a data center or cloud for processing. This is ideal for situations where latencies of milliseconds can be untenable.”

Here are a few examples of how healthcare organizations are utilizing the power of IoT to collect data, and the ability of edge technologies to speedily process and transmit it.

Reducing patient wait times

By using sensors on wheelchairs, beds and other clinical equipment, healthcare organizations can more effectively track and manage assets, so they can be available for patients where and when they're needed.

Edge technologies help process and transmit this data quicker. Without this level of efficiency, the alert to a nurse’s assistant that a wheelchair is available to deliver a patient to radiology could arrive five minutes late – or even worse, not at all. With edge technologies, the efficiencies expected from deploying sensors can be realized.

Improving patient outcomes

Within four years, 50.2 million patients will be remotely monitored, with 25.2 million using connected home medical monitoring devices and 25 million using personal health devices, according to report by Berg Insight.

The potential advantages of remote monitoring of patients are significant for both the patients and providers, particularly as the industry shifts to value-based care. Leveraging edge technologies creates the opportunity for faster response times, potentially saving lives.

As the healthcare industry implements the technologies essential to digital transformation, providers can transform how patients and providers communicate with each other, making care more effective, convenient and humanized. But the devices are only as effective as the quality and speed of network that binds them together.

With edge technologies, healthcare systems can fully leverage the connectivity afforded by IoT devices to help improve clinical outcomes, control costs, and deliver a superior patient experience.