In this MEDICA-tradefair.com interview, Ralf Drüge talks about the idea behind the central information board and "red zones". He also explains why hospitals and health care facilities can apply the IoT solution as they manage pandemics and highly infectious pathogens like the coronavirus.
Mr. Drüge, how did you come up with the idea to develop the central information board IoT solution?
Ralf Drüge: Our software was initially designed for use in hospital emergency rooms. This setting is inherently at risk of mixing up processes, especially when the emergency room is working under extreme pressure. Nobody is truly able to keep track of where patients are at any given point, who is in need of urgent care, who can wait, or how long patients have already waited for treatment. Ultimately, it is difficult to facilitate good patient flow. That is why we were determined to find a real-time solution. At the end of the day, the Director of Emergency Medicine and the nursing personnel should have a complete overview of the emergency room situation and patients at all times, without needing to make calls and check with colleagues.
How does the solution work?
Drüge: We developed new hardware in collaboration with the University of Münster, which is in the trial period at the moment.
So-called gateways communicate with battery-operated coordinators that are installed in the field. The coordinators record patient ID bracelets and asset tags the moment they come within range. Positioning algorithms then calculate the estimated position based on the received data. The hardware is based on the IEEE 802.15.4 technical standard which defines the operation of low-rate wireless personal area networks.
If patients are in trouble outside of the hospital room, they can press a button on the wristband which triggers an alarm that alerts the staff. Medical devices are also equipped with tags and can be tracked in real-time. The same applies to available spaces, beds, and medical exam equipment. You can also follow patient wait times. What's more, the software solution is a great tool to monitor device maintenance as each device has its own tag with relevant information, including the serial number, last maintenance date and device location. This also applies to hospital bed management and hygiene monitoring.