Image credit: CBT
Quite simply, connected worker technology integrates workers into their environment. The manufacturing sector has used connected technologies for many years to keep the workforce connected to their equipment and to co-workers. These tools enable workers to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently by allowing them to perform tasks without needing a physically present supervisor. It also improves communication with co-workers who may be in a different location and gives them immediate access to a wide knowledge base.
By using connected technologies and tools such as smart glasses on the factory floor and giving workers the means to make data-driven decisions about equipment, employees can do their jobs more successfully and perform tasks with fewer errors. It’s like having an expert on-site who can coach workers through difficult aspects of their job, train them on new equipment, and pass along any other essential information.
Instant Connection with Specialists
The benefits of connected worker technology are fairly similar across different industry segments. However, while the technology has important benefits for manufacturing and other sectors, it can make a life-or-death difference in healthcare, as it can provide vital information to practitioners and their patients.
Imagine that you’re a surgeon at a small hospital about to start a new heart procedure on a gravely ill patient. Connected worker technology can join you virtually with a specialist who can guide you through the procedure.
During the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when people all over the world sheltered in place and maintained social distance, medical facilities needed to adopt a different model of care. In-person doctor’s office appointments used to be the norm for diagnosing and treating conditions, but now, telemedicine is commonplace. Both patients and practitioners became comfortable with virtual medical care and new connected health delivery models.
Empowering the Healthcare Front Line
One solution provider with expertise in building connected workforce solutions is CBT, a domain expert integrator based in Orange, CA. The company focuses on IoT, IT/OT convergence, and high-performance computing (HPC) and analytics.
CBT created a Connected Worker solution that provides instant, hands-free access to live video sharing and conferencing software. It utilizes tailored software combinations enabled on wearable devices, smartphones, and tablets to provide an effective way for workers to visualize, consume, and communicate actionable information. It gives users the tools they need to assess operations performance, so they can make critical decisions safely, in real-time, and at the actual point of work.
For healthcare providers, the Connected Worker solution ensures that critical data and resources are available quickly. The remote mentor functionality gives less experienced clinicians a direct connection to subject matter experts around the world, enabling specialized medical care from anywhere.
The solution can be used in telemedicine in several ways. Doctors can perform examinations remotely, so patients don’t have to come to the office. Practitioners can also use the solution’s conferencing functionalities to collaborate with specialists in different locations for special or cutting-edge medical procedures.
“The pandemic expedited the need for the CBT Connected Worker solution in multiple industries,” says CBT founder and CEO Kelly Ireland in an interview with CRN. “This is the result of over two years of industrial IoT solutions development ”
Key to the adoption of the CBT Connected Worker/remote expert solution is the return on investment, which has amounted to cost savings as much as 75 percent and time savings by 90 percent, according to Ireland. “The ROI has been massive–much higher than what we have seen for other solutions,” she says. “The ROI is extremely impactful. It’s going right to the bottom line.”
Image credit: CBT/Connected Worker
Zero-touch, Hands-free Data Entry and Retrieval
The CBT Connected Worker solution is a combination of hardware and software that gives clinicians in the field a way to share their viewpoint, access real-time data, and share knowledge and information. It includes hand-free technology in the form of a headset or head-mounted tablet. The wearables are flexible and can be mounted on a surgeon’s PPE gear during a procedure.
The solution features two-way communication enabled by a camera, microphone, and speaker, all connected to the doctor’s headset. The camera sends real-time video of the practitioner’s perspective to a colleague or specialist in another location. A surgeon in one location can watch surgery performed by a colleague in an operating room thousands of miles away and offer advice and guidance.
One of the main functionalities of the Connected Worker solution is its ability to provide access to critical information instantly. Custom combinations of software applications enable users to view dashboards that can be loaded onto a wearable device or delivered to a tablet or smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
CBT’s Connected Worker is also offered as a service. Customers have the option to purchase all hardware and wearable devices, software, integration, professional services, and training for a monthly cost.
Helping Underserved Communities
The technology has the potential of dramatically improving patient outcomes. CBT is working with one remote community to ensure top-level maternity care for every patient and to eliminate preventable deaths during labor and delivery.
A leading US college of medicine is working with CBT to develop, fund, and deploy a mobile, virtual reality training application to give an easy-to-use platform for rapid upskilling to nurses and midwives in underserved communities. The college will deploy the pilot at a local outreach clinic in West Africa dedicated to maternal health.
After the training application pilot, CBT and the college plan to incorporate a Connected Worker solution that will use wearables to connect local practitioners in remote locations with expert obstetrician advice and resources.
The application also includes data analytics to enable automatic remediation. Based on responses to simulated scenarios, nurses and midwives get immediate feedback, mentoring, educational references, and links to training.