From its beginning as a humble startup founded in 2009, Santagostino has evolved into a reputable medical company providing comprehensive healthcare services, primarily in Milan but expanding their collection of specialised clinics to the Italian capital city Rome and within Emiglia-Romagna. With a focus on establishing a good doctor-patient relationship based on listening and trust, Santagostino allows for adequate visit times to reach good diagnostics and the possibility to choose a specialist to maintain therapeutic continuity, dedicated to giving the best healthcare experience possible.
Santagostino takes pride in providing a wide range of medical services and doctor consultations, including areas not typically covered by the National Health Service. These services include blood analysis, eye examinations, dentistry, psychotherapy, logopaedics, laser treatment, and advanced imaging services such as MRI, CT scans, and X-rays for essential pre-hospitalization diagnostics.
The company’s Chief Technical Officer, Andrea Codini, who joined the team in 2017, has since been instrumental in the company’s expansion into IoT and technology, overseeing the construction of new buildings and managing the IT infrastructure.
While Santagostino began as a startup, it received venture funds and later became part of UnipolSai, a prominent insurance company in Italy. This acquisition provided Santagostino with the necessary resources and support to continue its growth and combine insurance services with healthcare.
Embracing a tech-oriented approach, Santagostino’s CEO Luca Foresti was enthusiastic about utilising technology, including AI in medicine, to enhance their services and improve patient experiences. Andrea leveraged his background in building engineering to apply IoT technology in monitoring and maintaining the company’s facilities, including medical devices and building infrastructure.
The journey towards integrating IoT into their operations began in 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis, recognising the potential benefits of IoT in early detection of air quality issues and implant failures.
The company had started experimenting with temperature sensors to monitor critical medical systems that relied on continuous cold water supply. Their exploration expanded to include monitoring CO2 levels, humidity, particulate matter, and electricity consumption in every medical room. This initial foray into IoT revealed the need for a comprehensive and powerful platform to view and manage their expanding network of sensors.
Operating multiple medical centres across Italy posed a challenge for Santagostino in terms of remotely detecting anomalies and managing each location without physical presence. To address this issue, they implemented an IoT-based system that enabled prompt problem identification and resolution, whether it was a temperature complaint or an electricity outage, without the need for on-site technicians.
The company designed and developed its own sensors, customised to meet their specific requirements. Initially utilising Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, which is cost-effective in Italy, they achieved widespread coverage across their facilities. They also explored LoRaWAN, a network technology enabling long-range transmission with minimal energy consumption.
Santagostino discovered Datacake through LinkedIn and opted for the free trial. Impressed by the platform’s capabilities and competitive pricing, they made the decision to transition all their sensors and data. Although migrating sensors and data always poses a challenge, the move proved beneficial as they no longer needed to develop tools and features themselves, which already existed on the Datacake platform.
Santagostino appreciated Datacake’s ability to manage sensor functionality, and the autonomy to onboard additional sensors on their own, eliminating the need for external technical assistance.
“When starting on a new platform you have to invest,” says Andrea Codini, CTO of Santagostino. “However, with Datacake, it wasn’t hard at all. I only spent two days, not two months as before, to integrate our first custom sensor. Scaling up to over 500 devices was easy from there”.
Santagostino’s IoT initiative has grown from a one-person effort to a dedicated team comprising facility maintenance experts and clinical engineers specialising in software and PCB board design. The team collaborates closely to develop and improve their IoT solutions, focusing on sensor functionality and aesthetics. They also work in close collaboration with Datacake support staff and enjoy exploring the new features introduced with every update.
With Datacake, I only spent two days, not two months as before, to integrate our first custom sensor.
Andrea Codini, CTO of Santagostino
Anomaly Detection Workflow
Currently, Santagostino has implemented a MQTT-based workflow for uploading all of their data, allowing full control of managing the information and variables of the sensors. The ability to add rules using Datacake’s cutting-edge rule engine has been particularly impactful. By assigning tags to the sensors and creating comprehensive sets of conditional notification and action, they have gained a powerful tool to handle every possible situation.
As their parent company also has an interest in car services and hotels, Santagostino recognised the opportunity for knowledge sharing and collaboration. They are creating templates on Datacake to address similar challenges faced by other companies. Additionally, Santagostino collaborated with their architect to create digital twins in Datacake for each clinic, incorporating floor plan drawings as they became available during the construction and opening of new buildings. This enabled them to provide comprehensive information for every room in every one of their facilities.
Matterport 3D Integration
Santagostino leveraged a third-party application called Matterport, which provides digital twins of built spaces that are produced from LiDAR 3D Scans, to gain a technical view of utility rooms. This simplifies remote maintenance tasks in buildings that are located hundreds of kilometres away. Datacake seamlessly integrates these scans as an iFrame on their platform.
Datacake allows Santagostino to create individual dashboards for each sensor, making them available in list view or on maps. They also have the ability to create additional, fully customizable global dashboards that can be shared on the internet with a responsive design to display well on desktop browsers and mobile devices. Santagostino extensively uses these dashboards to provide information to individual clinics. They also shared a dashboard with municipal authorities during an inspection, showcasing storage temperatures in real-time and leaving the authorities stunned by the possibilities and very satisfied with the transparency and traceability of their solution.
Several projects are underway to further increase efficiency. One project focuses on scheduling preventive maintenance, where Santagostino is developing their own sensor that will run an anomaly detection algorithm on the IoT edge device itself, using the latest AI technology, and sending alerts only when needed.
Another project involves integrating the Datacake platform with third-party web applications from air-conditioning manufacturers like Daikin, Mitsubishi, and Samsung. For example, when a CO2 sensor in a room shows low values, indicating that the room is empty and not in use, Santagostino plans to combine this information with the air-conditioning system to send a command to stop running until a few minutes before the next medical examination appointment.
Santagostino’s goal is to differentiate themselves from traditional hospitals by leveraging technology to enhance the patient experience. They strive to offer convenient and automated services, such as appointment-free visits and seamless payment processes through their application. Additionally, they aim to digitise medical records, allowing patients to access their historical data and test results through a secure cloud platform. With a focus on predictive maintenance, the company ensures the smooth operation of medical equipment and continuously works to improve energy efficiency. Overall, their efforts led to a 20% reduction in energy consumption, saving them almost 300k Euros.
Looking ahead, as Santagostino opens new clinics, they often receive proposals to install traditional Building Automation and Control Systems (BMS) from industry giants like Siemens, ZeeGo, Schneider Electric, and Johnson Controls. Although these renowned names seemed like obvious choices, Santagostino found that even the slightest adjustment to these systems resulted in exorbitant costs, significant time investments, and sometimes frustration due to long winded processes in these big corporations. Datacake, on the other hand, offers a disruptive solution that is remarkably easy to adjust and adapt, making it a game-changer for the industry as a whole.
By challenging the status quo and embracing a fresh approach, Santagostino is using Datacake in revolutionising the way companies approach their building management. Their vision of IoT technology adapting to ever-changing requirements propels them forward, providing a better alternative and making a lasting impact on the medical industry as a whole.