Connected Medical Devices: Embracing Healthcare's Next Big Thing

by Ensocare on Mar 8, 2018

doctor typing on a laptop with a notebook next to him

Various industries have found ways to leverage the power of technology in recent years, yet the healthcare industry has struggled to address the complex integration of disparate systems.

This content has been reposted with permission from our channel partner, Cerner (view original).

Device connectivity could be the answer. Connected devices are on the rise, with the global connected medical device market projected to reach $1.34 billion by 2021. Medical device communication can help healthcare organizations save time and money, as well as help them seamlessly share and use information across multiple platforms.

The biggest obstacle for hospitals is determining an appropriate strategy to put this connectivity into place. Organizations can address this challenge in three specific areas: overall patient care efficiency, clinical communications and operational inefficiencies. In doing, healthcare organizations will reduce waste and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes.


Patient care efficiency


Consider the advantages of connected medical devices from a data collection perspective. When disparate healthcare systems within a single organization are linked together, critical patient information becomes readily available to clinicians and care teams at all levels of the organization.

Additionally, connected medical devices can lower the margin of error at the bedside. In a recent survey, half of all nurses said they'd witnessed medical errors attributed to a lack of coordination among medical devices, and 60 percent believed errors could have been prevented or reduced had the devices had automatic data sharing enabled.

Connected medical devices can also drive critical information to the caregiver. Take alarm fatigue, for example. Automating the critical alarm delivery process to send alerts to the user’s mobile device can help ensure clinicians are responding to the right alarms at the right time.


Enhancing communications


Mobile devices have the potential to improve efficiency, foster communication and prevent clinical errors. In 2015, 90 percent of physicians reported using mobile technology to engage with patients.

Today, it’s up to hospitals to go even further. Clinicians should have access to patient information within seconds. Some of the most popular clinical apps can cross-reference medication properties and safety information, provide quick references for diagnosing various conditions and more.

Mobile devices can be used to search for and view clinical information, update patient records and connect to other members of a patient's care team. This makes it imperative that mobile devices be optimized for exchanging information with other platforms, such as an organization's electronic health record (EHR).

The biggest barrier to introducing mobile technology to workflows is the need to protect private patient information and prevent disruption of current processes. Ultimately, secure messaging enhances care coordination, eases clinical practice and improves the overall quality of care.


Operational efficiency


Declining reimbursement and the shift to value-based payment models are increasing the pressure on hospitals to reduce wasteful spending and optimize their care delivery process.

Location-based technologies can help reduce waste in the areas of physical asset utilization and staff productivity. Real-Time Location Services (RTLS) can track devices like infusion pumps, thereby decreasing the number that are misplaced or lost each year. This, in turn, leads to a decrease in annual spending. It also reduces staff’s time spent searching for a device, an activity that may occur several times a day.

RTLS can also be leveraged to optimize the workflows for caregivers. Location tracking could be used to automatically associate a caregiver with their specific patients. This decreases the time spent searching for correct patient information in the EHR. Imagine, for instance, an app that automatically signs a physician into the EHR and displays the appropriate schedule for patient consultations once he or she crosses the threshold to his or her office.


It’s time to get started


As mobile technologies become widely adopted, the care process can be better orchestrated around the patient, providing for increased efficiencies in patient care, communications and operations.

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