Navigating the Healthcare IoT Journey, Part III

Bill Reeves, VP Customer and Product Marketing
1 Mar 2018, 16:46:32

In this three part blog series, we have been taking a closer look at how healthcare organisations can navigate the IoT journey to optimise the patient experience, expand treatment options, and increase operational efficiencies. 

In Part I, we explored multi-carrier connectivity and platform capabilities, and in Part II, the focus was devices and solutions as well as device certification. In the final instalment, we will look at customer service through the lens of healthcare kiosks.

Customer Support – Kiosks

Self-service is a trend in almost every industry, and healthcare is no exception. We are seeing the concept applied in a number of ways, including:

  • Connected blood pressure stations: Often seen at grocery stores and pharmacies, these kiosks allow patients to share readings with their physicians.
  • Automated medication dispensaries: With this technology, patients have freedom to pick up their prescriptions much like they would get cash at an ATM. In fact, some even allow for live, two-way video chat with on-call pharmacists 24 hours a day.
  • Automatic check-in: Many doctor’s offices are installing these kiosks as a way to let patient's check-in more quickly and reduce the amount of required paperwork.

Automated kiosks not only offer a greater level of control and convenience to patients, but they can help streamline costs for healthcare organisations. But what happens when one of the IoT-related components that power these innovations has an issue? This is where the importance of customer support is magnified.

Take the prescription kiosk as an example. It is the middle of a busy weekend, and the organisation providing the kiosks becomes aware of what they believe is a connectivity issue in one of their devices. Or maybe it is another component within the machine. It is critical to have the assistance necessary to quickly determine what the problem actually is and take the next steps to remedy it.

For large organisations that have built an IoT infrastructure from the ground up, they likely have expert staff on-call to spring into action and address the issue. But for the majority of organisations using external IoT service providers, reliance on a third-party is necessary. So, it is critical that your service provider has support that you can rely on when you need it most.

And this moves into yet another challenge healthcare organisations face – reliance on multiple customer support offerings. Each service provider’s assistance is a little different – or more specifically - some are just better than others. In a multi-tiered support solution, once the problem is identified, you then have to further identify which provider can address the issue, alert them, and allow them time to address the issue. In an urgent situation, this tiered approach can cost you critical time.

However, for many healthcare organisations, this issue is becoming less of a challenge as the trend of using the same provider for all IoT service needs emerges. For these organisations, they can get support from the same trusted source every time there is an issue. It is an easier, more consistent way to get their IoT-powered kiosks up and running, and a win-win for the patient and the organisation.

As we see the adoption of self-service kiosks in the healthcare industry increase, so will the need for consistent customer support. For many, the time and investment of managing multiple relationships and the inconsistencies of service will become too inconvenient – and outdated.