Connected Tech Is Coming To Medical Labs

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Connected Tech Is Coming To Medical Labs

We use the connected technologies of the Internet of Things (IoT) to run our homes more efficiently and to be more productive at work. We even wear IoT devices on our bodies now. Recently, the technology has also begun making an impact in medical laboratories. 

Let’s take a look at three exampl
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es of how this technology excels in that sector.

It Aids in Tracking and Distribution Measures

The pharmaceutical industry is increasingly relying on bar codes and RFID codes to reduce instances of medication errors.

However, an MIT research affiliate named Stephen Miles believes a serialized identification system for medication could go beyond cutting down on prescription-related mistakes.

He points out if we could track medicines around the world through unique identifiers and wireless data transmission technologies, pharmaceutical laboratory personnel could learn whether given medical interventions were worthwhile for patients, which could be useful during clinical trials.

Doctors could also find out whether patients who received medications went through the next step of taking them as prescribed.

Miles also wants to branch out and use his serial number-based ID system to develop and synchronize processes for handling biomaterials such as cells and antibodies. He believes that approach would be advantageous in both laboratories and manufacturing environments.

It Makes Lab Result Validation More Efficient

The Appalachian Regional Healthcare System relied on the power of connected tech when upgrading its lab information systems (LIS). The LIS team consists of only two people but relies on support from people in other departments. In 2015, the health system had the daunting task of tackling a major upgrade to lab results validation tools in only nine months.

To compensate, it relied on Software Testing Solution’s (STS) SoftBank Test Suites to get the job done. Not only was that company able to provide detailed reports that impressed upper management, but it relieved the burdens of overtaxed lab workers by transferring some of their time-consuming tasks to the software interface.

To put this in perspective, diagnostic tests carried out with assistance from laboratories aid doctors in deciding whether they should discharge a patient and evaluating whether that person is receiving the proper treatment. They affect 70 percent of medical decisions overall, so more efficient and accurate labs could increase physician confidence and lead to better patient care.

It Facilitates More Compatibility Between Different Types of Lab Equipment

Today’s lab systems and tools are extremely advanced. However, until the recent introduction of IoT tech, many of them could not work with each other.

For example, in the past, if a laboratory invested in a new type of freezer, it didn’t always interact with other freezers that were on an existing monitoring system.

That meant if a temperature-related malfunction affected the older freezers, maintenance workers would get alerts about it. However, that wasn’t the case with the newer, incompatible freezer, which often meant investing in another type of temperature monitor just for the newer model. Now, IoT technologies allow for connecting external sensors to lab equipment and tools and controlling all of them through a single interface.

Lab workers can view details about sensor-equipped items in facilities through web browsers and quickly make adjustments to things such as temperature parameters and associated alarms. They can also look at characteristics related to individual pieces of equipment and how those factors have changed over time.

Someone might notice a connected item has been behaving strangely over the last few weeks. That observation could lead to scheduling a service call and prevent a disaster that could significantly affect a lab’s resources and profits.

These are just a few fascinating examples of how tech connectivity has changed how laboratory professionals operate and minimized some of the challenges associated with their work.

As IoT capabilities improve, the lab industry will continue to benefit in meaningful ways that benefit employees and consumers alike.

By  Kayla MatthewsEmbed

Kayla Matthews writes about marketing innovation and business solutions for, Convince & Convert and WeWork. You can read more posts by Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.

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