Closing the gap in the patient health journey can improve patient care
If you close your eyes and think about a patient in a hospital, chances are that you’re picturing a patient in a bed, with a clinician standing over the bedside. For the longest time, patient care was delivered at the bedside. Everything from checking vital signs to delivering drug infusions to relaying care plans has been based on what staff can do for patients while treating them in-person. It’s the quintessential image of delivering patient care.
The move to value-based care, along with major shifts in the patient population – such as the dramatic increase in patients living with chronic conditions – and the ever-present concern of rising health costs are prompting health care organizations to think beyond this model. Not only is patient care moving beyond the hospital and into the home, but care within the four walls of the hospital is also changing.
I’m seeing a real shift in the patient monitoring conversation across the industry.”
There’s an understanding that quality patient care doesn’t have to be delivered at the bedside. Physicians, nurses and system-level management are all looking for new technologies that allow them to provide the highest level of patient care while also freeing up time so they can focus on the sickest patients.
A Changing Dynamic in the General Ward and in Care Transitions
The general ward is a really interesting microcosm of what is happening across health care. New dynamics are making it increasingly more urgent for providers to address staffing and throughput challenges, while also improving the transition of care:
Due to limited space and an increase in high-acuity cases, some patients who traditionally would have been in the ICU are being pushed to the general ward. They require a higher level of attention, which puts an extra strain on clinician workflow.
Patients in the general ward are not continuously monitored so far (only spot checks).
The influx of higher acuity patients makes it more imperative for hospitals to send patients home to recover in a timelier manner, meaning that sicker patients are getting out of the hospital even earlier.
There’s also a large population of patients with chronic conditions like COPD, diabetes and heart failure, who rotate in and out of the hospital due to complications.
Providing a Level of Support to Physicians and Patients
The natural reaction to some of these challenges might be to turn the general ward into an ICU-lite, with highly sophisticated monitors and an increase in clinicians so that time-strapped clinicians have some additional support. But from both a cost and patient care perspective, recreating an ICU isn’t the answer. After all, a key step to the recovery process for many patients is to become mobile again after a hospital stay. Movement not only helps patients avoid problems like sepsis or infection, but it also helps patients become more involved in their own care.
That’s why Philips announced a next generation monitoring solution enabled by wearable biosensors for at-risk patients in low acuity hospital settings. Once it’s connected to smart analytics tools, this type of technology can give clinicians insights into significant health changes and trends so that they can identify patients at risk of deterioration and intervene earlier. It’s our vision that with this type of connected solution, we can give patients and clinicians peace of mind while also supporting a smooth patient recovery.
Connecting Through the Health Continuum
We know that a patient’s health journey doesn’t begin or end at the hospital doors. We need to be sure that when a patient is discharged from the hospital that they have the support they need to recover well at home so that they don’t end up being readmitted to the hospital. We see connected technologies playing a big role in helping patients comply with discharge care plans once out of the hospital. By integrating useful data throughout the patient journey, we can improve health across the continuum – from healthy living, to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care at home.
About Innovation Matters
Innovation Matters delivers news, opinions and features about healthcare, and is focused on the professionals who work within the industry, as well as Philips as a cutting-edge health technology organization. From interviews with industry giants to how-to guides and features powered by Philips data, our goal is to deliver interesting, educational and entertaining content to empower and inspire all those who work in healthcare or related industries.