Hemant Sarma is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things Lead at Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer. Collaborating with hospital leaders, Chubb deploys IoT sensors to monitor hospitals for vulnerabilities to water damage and changes in humidity and temperature. Sensors are designed to identify potential risks before they become problems, thus helping hospitals avert costly damages, time-consuming repairs and a disruption of operations. Hemant may be contacted at: [email protected].
Game changing technology protects healthcare facilities from devastating losses
Internet of things (IoT) sensors identify risk for water damage before it occurs
HS: While every industry is vulnerable to property damage from water, healthcare tops the list. According to Chubb’s claim data, non-weather-related water damage accounts for 57% of all hospital property losses. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
Consider the consequences of a temperature change that causes a pipe to burst and flood a hospital wing or an operating theater. Vulnerable patients would be forced to move to other floors, or even transferred to another hospital due to lack of space. What happens if a medical refrigeration unit storing pharmaceuticals, blood, or research samples fails? There isn’t just the loss of the critical contents, there may be property damage, loss of revenue, loss of grants, and damage to the very reputation of the hospital.
Maintenance has always been important for hospitals. But too often risks could not be anticipated, and it was necessary to make repairs and replace costly equipment after the damage occurred. Now, IoT sensors are transforming this paradigm with a new, modern “predict and prevent” model. This is the next generation of risk mitigation.
HS: One of our clients, a major metropolitan hospital, suffered significant water damage that originated from a roof hatch, which was located immediately above the labor and delivery unit. The cascading water interrupted medical procedures and resulted in the need to transfer vulnerable patients to other medical facilities. Following the loss, we collaborated with this hospital on installing IoT sensors to help prevent a water damage recurrence.
Shortly after installation, the sensors demonstrated their value, immediately alerting facility management and Chubb risk engineers to leaks on three occasions. In each case, the issues were fixed before there was any damage, potentially saving millions of dollars as well as the loss of use of sensitive hospital equipment, and interruption to patient care.
HS: Chubb’s risk engineering team, in collaboration with preferred vendor partners, installs small, battery-operated IoT sensors at critical locations within a hospital, including boiler and mechanical rooms, treatment areas, and near fire sprinkler systems. Sensors offer an overlay of protection by monitoring floors or spaces above complex equipment that are highly vulnerable to water damage and fluctuation in temperature, like MRI machines, CT scanners, linear accelerators and X-ray machines.
Subtle temperature changes in sensitive environments like hospital labs can compromise the integrity of vaccines, pharmaceutical test results, and research samples. Refrigeration failures or changes in humidity conditions put optimal operating room conditions at risk.
These sensors monitor and detect the slightest changes to temperature, humidity, and water leaks, as well as factors that could indicate an increased risk of water damage. Using a high-security cellular gateway system, sensors send 24/7, real-time alerts directly to an app on a designated manager’s smartphone. Repairs can be made before devolving into major issues.
Additionally, sensors have the remarkable capacity to provide a report on potential mold growth, a significant issue that even the most experienced managers might overlook. If it goes unchecked, mold can cause air quality and health issues, creating a more serious environmental problem within a hospital.
HS: Chubb’s IoT sensor specialists collaborate with hospital managers to design a bespoke plan—one that meets the unique needs and challenges of the particular hospital. The designated hospital manager has access to an online portal that provides helpful guidance as well as a call center staffed 24/7 with technicians available to address questions.
Healthcare leaders have a weighty responsibility to protect property and patients and maintain a safe environment; we want to raise awareness about how IoT monitoring can support their efforts.
To learn more visit: www.chubb.com/IoT.