The Case for Virtual Patient Monitoring Solutions
Several factors have contributed to an increased focus on virtual patient surveillance that extends beyond routine monitoring in intensive care units (ICUs) to patient units throughout the hospital. Among these factors are medical advances that have reduced the number of patients that require ICU care, shortages in critical care staff, and, in particular, the increasing role of digital technology that uses electronic medical record (EMR) data and early warning system (EWS) tools to communicate changes in patient status.1 Studies have shown that extending monitoring of patients to other areas of the hospital can increase patient safety, lower the costs associated with the fragmented and inefficient use of resources, and enhance the delivery of timely and appropriate care to patients.2 As hospitals aim to provide better care and enhance their adherence to best practices protocols, there is an increasing need for modern clinical solutions that can help them to digitize their care pathways while integrating systems and data from disparate devices into a clinical workflow.
Enter the Digital Enterprise Surveillance Solution
Like a “virtual” bedside team, digital surveillance tools can provide real time monitoring of patient instability or abnormal laboratory tests, as well as order diagnostics tests and assist in making treatment-decisions, using algorithms capable of detecting a wide range of patient deteriorating conditions.2 However, data must also have context and be relevant to the specific patient to be truly responsive. Because data required to make accurate and timely clinical decisions resides in disparate systems across the healthcare network--and is being generated every second--clinicians need a complete view of actionable insights they can apply in order to deliver responsive and appropriate care across an entire health system. A virtual care platform that integrates innovative clinical solutions can prioritize a clinician’s attention to the most critical patient cases with the goal of reducing care variation and the time to intervention.3
Proactively Monitoring Patients to Deliver Responsive Care
One of the major challenges traditionally faced by clinicians has been the delivery of fragmented, uncoordinated care that results in duplication of staff time and resources, as well as a lack of standardized communications and response protocols that can effectively and efficiently respond to patients in real time. In combining near real-time clinical surveillance capabilities with state-of-the-art telemedicine technology, enterprise surveillance solutions can allow care teams to monitor multiple patients across disparate areas of the hospital, aggregating and displaying data from multiple sources across care areas.
Enterprise clinical surveillance platforms that are also able to digitize screening protocols to scrutinize patient data can also proactively identify patients at risk and provide critical decision support to care teams. Such virtual surveillance not only provides continuous coverage, it also helps reduce the risk of events that can negatively impact a patient’s health status, especially among a hospital’s most vulnerable patients, directing clinical teams to deliver responsive care across the enterprise.
Creating a Patient Snapshot in Real Time
Such modern virtual care monitoring and surveillance capabilities can allow clinicians throughout the hospital to focus on clinically actionable conditions by creating a panel that provides a "patient snapshot" via
- EHR agnostic, robust data integration platform that captures patient data in real-time from any source
- Visual notifications based on hospital unit’s protocols that can be sent to smartphones, tablets or pagers, and other devices
- Access to ICU patient records and imaging reports from radiology and/or cardiology departments that is contextually relevant
- Virtual collaboration between remote and on-site clinicians, using video and other software solutions 4
Surveillance Throughout the Patient Journey
Given Medicare’s increasing focus on value-based programs, the ability to monitor the patient throughout their entire journey and customize protocols based on relevant patient data, enhances the ability of clinicians to provide value-based care across the enterprise. Ultimately, centralized digital monitoring tools will set the standard for patient surveillance, providing clinicians with standardized patient protocols and communications tools that allow continuous monitoring of the most vulnerable patients, prompting the right treatment steps at the right time, thereby achieving the goals of value-based care: improving patient outcomes and promoting quality, cost-effective care.
- Telemedicine/Virtual ICU: Where Are We and Where Are We Going? Methodist DeBakey Cardiovasc J, April 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6027727/pdf/i1947-6094-14-2-126.pdf Accessed October 4, 2019
- Tele-ICU: Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness Approach of Remotely Managing the Critical Care, The Open Medical Informatics Journal, 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3785036/ Accessed October 4, 2019
- Virtual ICU Surveillance – Providing A New Dimension for Critical Care, Capsule Technologies, Inc, 2019, https://capsuletech.com/virtual-icu-surveillance
- MURAL Brochure, gehealthcare.com, August 2019. Accessed October 4, 2019