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.