Bring better care to patients with communication-enabled IoT

René Schmitz, Senior Director, Product Management for IoT Platform and Strategy

It comes as no surprise that after the past few years, healthcare looks significantly different than it used to. The pandemic introduced a surge in demand for virtual care services, as people were reluctant to visit hospitals or clinics for fear of exposure. But as a result, virtual care has become a popular way to receive medical care. Some key changes that took place:

  1. Expansion of coverage: To meet the increased demand for virtual care services, many insurance providers and government programs have expanded their coverage to include video visits, making virtual care more accessible to a broader range of patients.
  2. Regulatory changes: The pandemic led to temporary regulatory changes that have made it easier for healthcare providers to offer virtual care services. For example, in many states restrictions across state lines were lifted to allow healthcare providers to treat patients remotely, regardless of their location.
  3. Adoption of new technologies: We’ve seen an acceleration in the adoption of new technologies, like remote monitoring devices, to help healthcare providers treat patients remotely.
  4. Integration with electronic health records (EHRs): With the widespread use of EHRs, virtual care services can now be integrated into patient records, allowing for better care coordination and more efficient communication between healthcare providers.

The rise in remote care isn’t only beneficial for reducing the spread of germs; it also ensures a much more accessible avenue to healthcare. With that in mind, however, a patient’s condition and diagnosis can only be determined through a comprehensive picture. Patients suffer when systems aren’t connected or communicating, and access to data is simply not enough. Healthcare providers need access to the right information, at the right time, with the right context and granularity. Fortunately, the advent of IoT-connected devices and robust, near real-time communications tools make this possible.

Whether it’s heart rate monitors, blood oxygen level sensors, medication reaction detectors, cancer treatment monitoring, or fall detection devices, connected wearables can be incredibly helpful in ensuring consistent care and visibility to healthcare professionals. By enabling seamless connectivity across medical devices, nurse call systems, location-based technologies, and other network-connected systems, medical professionals will be better equipped to make patient diagnosis and care decisions. These connected devices also give them the ability to see historical trends in data and receive notifications if there’s a health event of concern.

Communications in healthcare

Cloud technology is powering many industries in different ways, and at Oracle our industry applications are supporting some of the most critical sectors, like healthcare, at scale. Oracle invests more than $700 million each year in industry-specific research and development with the aim to deliver deep domain expertise and industry specialization globally and in the cloud.

We understand the potential for change that accessible, reliable, and secure virtual healthcare can offer the world, and we’re bringing our best-of-breed solutions to the virtual care space. In fact, we recently announced our expanded collaboration with Zoom to help give patients the power to seamlessly connect with providers. By connecting virtual care capabilities with our EHR, Oracle and Zoom can enable providers around the world to join patient appointments quickly and easily with the relevant patient record within the EHR at their fingertips.

The next generation of enablement in healthcare will be an enterprise communication platform that aggregates and organizes various vertical applications, digital tools, and their subsequent relevant data. This can range from data that’s collected by sensors to patient engagement tools that use a variety of communications options, and from simple chat to video consultation to patient records in EHRs.

A robust enterprise communication platform connects the entire partner ecosystem and allows the use of tools from different suppliers while providing one single pane of glass into all applications. Additional interfaces provide data to analytics engines to support clinical decisions or provide customized patient or healthcare provider reporting. At the same time, the platform provides the appropriate tools to keep all devices and edges in the field secure and up to date.

So what does the next generation of healthcare communication look like? It will offer these critical capabilities to ensure seamless information sharing and quality care:

Directory management capabilities: Communication across multiple roles in the organization is simplified through a single multifacility directory. Clinicians can search for colleagues and patients and communicate easily with care team members inside and outside the hospital.

Secure voice and text messaging: Clinicians and administrative staff can easily message patient information securely by using end-to-end encryption.

Workflow optimization: In a hospital with numerous clinical workflows, consolidating all information onto one device is critical to workflow efficiency, meaning medical professionals can spend more of their time with patients. Advanced EHR integration allows clinicians to complete workflows on a mobile device, automatically updating patient charts with information like barcode medication administration, specimen collection, new lab results orders, critical lab result alarming, and discrete documentation of medical records.

Alarming and notifications: Critical, near real-time alerts can be issued to the appropriate care team member based on location, role, patient, or personnel. These alarms can be combined with contextual information, criticality, as well as escalation procedures to ensure the alert reaches a clinician who can act with a full picture of the situation.

Remote patient monitoring: This can be used for inpatient, outpatient, or in-home care.

Photo capturing: The ability to upload clinical images directly into the patient record removes extra steps within the workflow and helps reduce potential human errors.

Dashboard adoption and utilization: Dashboards show the capabilities of devices being used, quality of services, alarm overviews, errors, and needed upgrades.

Oracle Communications connects millions of applications and secures thousands of networks, serving billions of mobile devices around the world. With the power of these tools leveraged in healthcare, we’re able to provide better ecosystem integration and the creation of end-to-end health services.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can find additional resources at Oracle Communications and Oracle Health.

About Oracle Communications:

Oracle Communications provides integrated communications and cloud solutions for Service Providers and Enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation journey in a communications-driven world from network evolution to digital business to customer experience. To learn more about Oracle Communications industry solutions visit: Oracle Communications LinkedIn.