BLE Beacons May Help Hospitals

Published on March 3, 2014

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BLE Beacons May Help Hospitals

By: Stephanie Lubrano, Marketing Communications Specialist

Laird recently featured an article, "BLE and Beacon Technology: Great Potential in the Medical Market", in the February issue of Medical Design Briefs. The article, written by Jonathan Kaye, Product Director of Laird Embedded Wireless Solutions, focuses on how Bluetooth Low Energy is driving an explosion of new applications and products serving markets such as personal health, fitness, and location awareness. BLE  is also making its way into the hospital.

Beacon technology has the potential to solve many of the problems faced in a hospital setting.

BLE-based beacon technology could potentially change the way items are located within a hospital. Currently, finding a high-value medical device in a large hospital is a time-consuming task for medical staff. Beacon technology may alleviate this problem, saving both time and money on locating critical assets within a hospital. The article explains how there are two main roles for BLE enabled devices: Peripheral and Central. The purpose of Peripheral devices are to stay in sleep mode as long as possible, saving battery power and sending data periodically to a Central role device. A Central role device has significantly more processing power and acts as the gateway device to the cloud or internet. An example of a Peripheral device is a BLE enabled blood pressure cuff that sends data periodically to a doctor or nurse's smartphone (the Central or gateway device) which then sends this data up to the cloud server.

BLE-based beacon technology offers several advantages over traditional indoor location tracking. Some of these advantages include:

  • Low Power Consumption
  • Minimal Size
  • Relatively inexpensive when compared to current offerings
  • High interoperability with smartphones and tablets
  • Configurable output power

BLE beacons offer a glance into how this technology can be leveraged for enhanced medical device and patient location awareness. Visit the online publication to the read the full article in Medical Design Briefs on BLE Beacons.

Also check out further information on wireless technology and how it forms the Connected Hospital.