The overall outcome of sensible healthcare technology management is to use the technology to improve patient outcomes. Unfortunately, the NHS, and healthcare organisations in general, are facing huge budgetary pressures, and not investing in new technology, i.e. not spending money, might seem like a sensible way to ‘make ends meet’ financially. Unfortunately, this is not true, and not investing in technology means not having technology that can deliver better outcomes, faster and at lower costs.
The NHS is struggling to fund replacement of healthcare technology. This is an issue recognised by all NHS providers. From my ongoing research, it is clear that hospitals are still ‘making do’ with old technology and this is impacting on organisational efficiency, patient care and unplanned costs.
It is a mistake to think that not investing in technology is a sensible strategy. This approach results in nurses, doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals using technology that is out of date and can slow down the patient throughput, thereby impacting upon patient outcomes and costs.
Using up to date ‘connectable’ vital signs monitoring, allows for connected care; i.e. such as linking the patient data to an Early Warning Score System (EWSS) thereby allowing medical and nursing staff to identify when a patient is improving, or deteriorating, and thus taking appropriate action.
To enable healthcare staff access to the right ‘connected’ technology, requires a healthcare technology management strategy (HTMS) that delivers a planned replacement programme for the organisations assets. Applying ISO 550001 quality management processes, in support of the HTM strategy, can result in improved asset management, improved patient outcomes, and lower organisational costs.
Clinical engineers, nursing managers, and medical staff need to understand the importance of improving the connectivity of devices to IT infrastructure (such as the electronic patient record (EPR) and the EWSS), because organisational productivity is directly impacted upon by the amount of time doctors and nurses spend manually completing patient records.
• Studies have found that it takes between two to twelve hours after collecting data from patients' monitors before nurses enter it into medical record. The manual entry of data leads to error rates as high as 17%. Yet documentation is taking up an increasing amount of nursing time, with studies finding that 35% of a nurse's time is spent on documentation (147 minutes in a 10-hour shift), while less than 20% is spent on patient care and education, and just 7% on assessment and surveillance.
The promise of Precision Medicine is to deliver the right treatment at the right time, taking into account individuals' health history, genes, environments, lifestyles, and preferences. This breakthrough approach has already revolutionised how we treat disease by hyper-personalising diagnosis and treatment.
This new era of evidenced-based, precise care is driven, in part, by connected monitoring and therapies, that will play a major role in advancing the delivery of patient-generated health data. This data will help scale precision medicine by giving providers a comprehensive and continuous view of patient data that will guide preventative care and chronic disease management.
Vital Signs are important in determining the current state of a patient. Using monitoring technology, connected into the electronic patient record (EPR), allows data to be automatically and accurately transferred, thus avoiding errors that are often caused through manual entry. Accurately transferring patient data into the EPR can bring powerful insights, especially with the adoption of medical artificial intelligence (AI), driving predictive care models, and improving patient outcomes.
The Five “Rights” of Clinical Decision Support (CDS)
With a firm understanding of clinical decision support, in its various forms, and its relationship to meaningful use, the focus can turn to the five “rights” of CDS. These five rights can be used as a framework when planning to implement CDS interventions within a facility or practice, or when creating an extensive CDS program.
The five rights include:
- the right information,
- to the right person,
- in the right intervention format,
- through the right channel,
- at the right time in workflow.
Clinical engineers should always have one eye on future trends in healthcare technology. There is evidence showing that clinical decision support has the greatest impact on process outcomes such as the ordering of preventive, clinical, and treatment services, along with the enhancement of user’s knowledge pertaining to a medical condition.