Very different aspects of health care are being tackled by the Health Award finalists in the 2020 IoT Awards – the official awards program of IoT Alliance Australia (IoTAA), the peak Australian Internet of Things (IoT) industry body, and IoT Hub.

One entrant is providing personal tracking technology in aged care homes. IRT, one of Australia’s largest community-owned providers of independent living, aged care and home care facilities, has co-developed a people-tracking solution for aged care residents.

The NSW Health Statewide Wireless Network also stood out for providing a foundation for potential use of IoT across the state.

These projects are significant, though the long-term outcomes remain to be seen.

The 2020 IoT Awards - Smart Cities finalists

NSW Health’s Statewide Wireless Network

The IoT Awards are as much about recognising efforts to lay a foundation for wide-scale IoT as they are about the impact of IoT – which is why this project is a finalist.

This multi-year project is one of the largest wireless network investments in NSW, having deployed wireless infrastructure to more than 530 NSW Health sites. The final stage of this work was completed in January 2020.

This will provide a foundation for IoT, say those behind the rollout.

It is also enabling a “massive" scale-up of telehealth initiatives, including state-wide “Telestroke” services for multiple regional and rural hospitals. The infrastructure also connects “Virtual Care” iPads for isolated and palliative care patients, allows patients to order food from their bed, and enables remote food standard audits.

More than 150,000 NSW Health staff now have seamless to Wi-Fi, enabling them to seamlessly and securely roam the network while communicating, collaborating and consulting in real-time.

Those behind the project say it is “unlocking opportunities for a digitally-enabled healthcare system for NSW”. They also say they see it helping to overcome the tyranny of distance for patients in NSW.

Organisations involved in the project include eHealth NSW, NSW Health, NSW Government, Aruba, Cisco and Matrix CNI.

IRT Group - iottag aged care resident location system

As mentioned above, IRT bills itself as one of one of Australia’s largest community-owned providers of independent living, aged care and home care. It has more than 40 communities and home care service hubs in NSW, the ACT and Queensland.

It earned the honour of being a finalist for working with iottag to co-develop a people-tracking solution for locating aged care residents, including dementia sufferers who might wander and hurt themselves.

IRT decided to partner with iottag after determining there wasn’t a suitable product on the market.

Its solution incorporates an app, proximity beacons and the mobile phone network to track residents wearing an iottag device. The devices can be attached to residents’ property, are washable and have a two-year battery life.

The system can notify aged care staff members and family members if a resident breaches a geofence, or virtual boundary, which IRT sets. The resident’s location can then be tracked in real-time using the app.

iottag also provided the ability to connect other telehealth sensors, monitors or IoT equipment, such as Fitbit and nurse call devices, and capture data for audits.

Aged care employees, residents and their families can track how far residents walk each day and week. They can also access an auditable history of critical incidents available through a portal or as a monthly or on-demand report. Residents’ movement data is used to produce a heat map.

The aim was to provide “not just a safety solution but also a real way of increasing resident independence and wellbeing”, according to those behind the project.

They see the project allowing residents to move about the outdoor areas of a care facility or venture into the local community, depending on their level of dementia.

They also see it decreasing secure style of infrastructure at care facilities within the industry.

IRT also envisions the product include enabling older Australians to stay at home longer, assisting sole carers to keep loved ones safe and at home longer, increasing family trust and peace of mind, and lowering engagement and resourcing of emergency services,  among other benefits.

Nexon Coris

Australian company Nexon Asia Pacific built this communication platform for one of Australia’s largest teaching and research hospitals – helping care staff make critical decisions under pressure.

The system is an adaptable, flexible and reliable solution for the hospital’s busy switchboard.

It integrates legacy paging and messaging systems into a single view – unifying all aspects of communication, from external calls to code blue paging.

This helps ensure that tasks are handled by the right person with the right skills. If that person is not available, the system can also alert the next qualified person. That’s no small task, considering the hospitals’ staff members receive up to 6,000 calls every day.

Customised workflows have resulted in a significant reduction in response times, allowing for better rostering and faster connections, according to Nexon Asia Pacific.

The project has also eliminated the need to manage and maintain siloed communication platforms, devices and assets, Nexon Asia Pacific states. It has also connected legacy infrastructure, expanding its lifespan.

Register here to watch the 2020 IoT Awards presentation.

See the full list of 2020 IoT Awards finalists.