Rethinking Healthcare

Hospitals will soon monitor everyone (and it is a good thing)

Hospitals will soon monitor everyone (and it is a good thing)

Posting in Healthcare

What if you could monitor patients in a waiting room and have technology to do a rough triage so those who start failing can be caught in time to save them?

Right now up to one in six people who check-in to a hospital die before anything can be done for them.

The reason is their condition isn't being monitored from check-in. They are left in a waiting room until someone can see them.

But what if you could monitor them, and have technology do a rough triage so those who start failing can be caught in time to save them?

That's the idea behind Guardian, an early warning system Philips is building into its Intellivue monitors, starting with bedside monitors like the one above.

David Russell, the unit's chief medical marketing officer, explained the idea to SmartPlanet:

"We’ve launched the idea that you can hook patients up to very low cost devices, with wireless, run to a central location which can trend the data, and trigger when the patient starts to deteriorate, based on trends in vital signs.

“This early warning scoring system can be the key to call the emergency medical team.

“Our idea is to get monitoring into many areas of the hospital and keep patients from getting into the ICU, or prevent their deaths.”

This is possible because Philips has, over the last few years, been integrating informatics into its monitoring systems. Rather than just collecting data, the company's new MX-800 integrates with the hospital's entire information system, analyzing data in real time, monitoring what the doctors are doing as well as the patient's reaction.

The trick is now to take pieces of that and extend their reach throughout the hospital, Russell said. Which is where all of hospital computing is heading.

The device at the top, which sits by a patient bedside, is just the first step. Taking basic readings on sensors worn by a patient who is waiting for care, linked to a system that can alert doctors if they start to fail, is where all this is heading.

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Dana Blankenhorn

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Dana Blankenhorn has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age's "NetMarketing" supplement and founded the Interactive Age Daily for CMP Media. He holds degrees from Rice and Northwestern universities. He is based in Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure