Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Internet of Things will Improve Medical Lab Tests

​As the worldwide market for the Internet of Things (IoT) evolves, specific use-cases are emerging at an accelerated rate. Case in point: hospital laboratories are the smallest share of laboratory locations yet its diagnostic test equipment run more tests than any other medical testing facility provider.

Connectivity to lab equipment -- and the services enabled by that connectivity -- will increase total global laboratory test throughput to over 3.02 billion more diagnostic tests over the next 5 years.

The medical testing laboratory market consists of hospitals, independent labs, physician offices, and other healthcare-related lab environments.

According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the benefits of increased lab efficiency cannot be understated -- the diagnostic tests from these labs influence 70 percent of medical decisions ranging from treatment choices to hospital discharge decisions to early detection and prevention of chronic disease.

"We have a small handful of high-volume hospital and independent labs performing the vast majority of these diagnostic tests, and it is crucial that these labs in particular utilize all available technology to maximize equipment up-time," said Ryan Harbison, research analyst at ABI Research.

According to the ABI assessment, high- and medium-volume laboratories can now use Internet of Things services to automate testing processes and to remotely monitor equipment.

Another driving factor towards this increase in connected laboratory equipment -- particularly within developed markets around the globe -- is and will continue to be a shortage of laboratory technologists in the labor force.

As a result, laboratory technologists will handle greater and greater test workloads.Those laboratories that do not utilize IoT services will soon start adopting them so that technologists can focus on performing additional tests and not on equipment troubleshooting or maintenance.

"Any downtime in these machines creates a substantial backlog and logistical headache for laboratories both large and small," adds Harbison.

By utilizing the full breadth of these IoT services, forward-looking labs have the ability to use real-time equipment data to streamline their operations and increase overall efficiency, so they can continue focusing on producing the test results that enable informed medical diagnosis.