The iBeacon from Apple is intriguing — how might it be used in healthcare?
According to Apple in December 2013, when it was announced:
iBeacon is a new technology that extends Location Services in iOS. Your iOS device can alert apps when you approach or leave a location with an iBeacon. In addition to monitoring location, an app can estimate your proximity to an iBeacon (for example, a display or checkout counter in a retail store). Instead of using latitude and longitude to define the location, iBeacon uses a Bluetooth low energy signal, which iOS devices detect. To learn more about Bluetooth technology, see the official Bluetooth website.
To use iBeacon, you need iOS 7 or later, Bluetooth turned on, and a compatible iOS device:
- iPhone 4s or later
- iPad (3rd generation) or later
- iPad mini or later
- iPod touch (5th generation) or later
- You can control which apps and system services access Location Services data, including iBeacon: Tap Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
Healthcare has many vast bricks-and-mortar facilities where we might aim to keep track of providers & patients– not in an inappropriate way, we’d posit– just to ensure the right folks are connected at the right time in the right place. Think of it this way:
“We need Dr. Jones in Room #14– where is he now?”
Or “We’re ready to see the patient with initials P.R. — where is she now in the building?”
While much of the buzz about iBeacon has related to retail, whereby one could (as an example) get an electronic coupon on the fly, I think there are myriad potential compelling uses in… the medical arena.
Thus, inventors everywhere– have something we could consider?