Patient monitoring is critical in providing early warnings of critical deterioration in a patient’s condition. One of the key features that makes patient monitoring effective is its need to be continuous. The International Consensus Conference published a report in 2010 on rapid response, wherein it was suggested that “if practical and affordable, all patients should be monitored continuously.”
Continuous patient monitoring means regular monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation, respiration rate and level of consciousness. These are considered the core vital signs necessary to report physiological instability.
Despite the steady improvement in hospital care and programs, serious adverse events (SAEs) are still common. In one out of ten patients, the occurrence of a SAE during their admission contributes to fatality or permanent disability. Previous studies have documented that some of these adverse events are preventable and are often related to errors in patient care management.
What is SAE?
An unplanned admission to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of an inpatient from a general ward is considered as SAE.
It is important to detect deteriorating patient conditions in a timely manner and treat them early in order to prevent an eventual ICU admission or the timely transfer to ICU to improve clinical outcomes.
How can IoT help in overcoming SAE?
One of the ways to achieve this is by implementing an Internet of Things based Rapid Response System (RRS). These systems are specifically designed to enable early recognition and management of deteriorating patients. It alerts the clinical staff assigned to the patient.
The clinical staff is provided with location intelligence and key vital sign deterioration since the root causes behind such deterioration in patients are generally unknown.
IoT based vital medical sensors deployed on the patient’s body are connected with the hospital’s wireless network and supplied a redundant IOT Alert button. This technology enables clinical staff to track alerts and provide responses on time.
These technologies can be integrated into a proposed Patient Monitoring Control Center in the hospital to continuously monitor the vital signs of critical patients. The proposed system consists of a data analysis platform. A useful tool for analyzing these types of root causes is the PRISMA-tool (Prevention and Recovery Information System for Monitoring and Analysis) which is embedded into the platform. The data collected from body-attached sensors are forwarded to an Intelligent Clinical Data processing platform for performing intelligence activities.
Here, the main goal of the PRISMA method is to build a database of incidents and process deviations from which conclusions may be drawn to suggest optimal countermeasures. This in-depth analysis method has been accepted by the World Alliance for Patient Safety of the World Health Organization and has shown to provide effective starting points for improvement in the quality of care.
Companies providing an IOT based Patient Monitoring System
Caretaker Medical, based in Charlottesville, Virginia has developed a wearable Caretaker, a wireless vital sign monitoring system that claims to set a new standard in portability, simplicity and medical-grade patient monitoring. Using a small, comfortable finger cuff, the Caretaker device accurately measures continuous non-invasive beat-by-beat blood pressure (cNIBP), ECG-accurate heart rate and respiration rate, as well as blood volume (for hemorrhage detection), arterial stiffness and other hemodynamic parameters.
Clinical trials have validated that Caretaker measurements are comparable to other cNIBP patient monitors and heart rate methods. This innovative approach to vital sign monitoring is anticipated to disrupt existing patient monitoring solutions. The solution has also found application in combating Covid-19. The University of New England in Australia is currently using the solution for remote monitoring of patients who have moderate symptoms of the virus.
Zyter, a US-based start-up that provides telehealth and IoT enabled platform recently launched its Home Health and Remote Patient Monitoring solution. The solution tracks data from a blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter, digital weight scale, or blood glucose monitor from the comfort of home. The system is currently used by the US Military to track the condition of military personnel admitted in ICU at various military bases around the world, from a central location in the United States.
Smartify Health, based in Mumbai, India, helps senior living homes and hospitals in providing patients and staff with a friendly and safe environment. The Smart Care Room for Senior Living and the Smart Care Inpatient Room are proprietary IOT Care platforms with inbuilt RTLS and GPS, wearables and devices designed specifically for senior citizens and patients to monitor the parameters related to health and wellness. The data is sent, with proactive notifications, to appropriate caregivers, nurses and treating doctors to reduce the risk of admission, healthcare spending and hospitalization.
Murata Vios Inc has developed the Vios Remote Monitoring Service which utilizes medical-grade IOT sensors to alleviate the burden on clinical staff, thereby allowing them to focus on patient care. The remote monitoring services will make it possible for patient data to be continuously monitored in any hospital environment.
Stasis is an FDA cleared, reimbursable, patient monitoring platform which improves patient recovery by collecting data. It can be set up in a few hours and only needs continuous power to provide relevant, timely information, enabling a shift towards proactive patient care.
The Swiss-made GETS Medical Safety Systems has developed solutions like Wired Nurse Call, Wireless Nurse Call, Elopement and Wandering, Detection of Falls, Staff Mobility, Anti Aggression, Room Service, and equipment command to enable patients’ interaction with the caring staff. These solutions are fully modular to meet the institution’s needs.
The Future of Patient Monitoring
The post-pandemic era will witness widescale digital transformation in the healthcare industry. Innovation in IoT sensors, coupled with advanced computing using artificial intelligence, and the possibility of real-time transfer of data due to 5G, is expected to positively impact the remote patient monitoring market. The growing adoption of cybersecurity solutions in healthcare is also expected to fuel the demand for IoT based patient monitoring and IoT based medical devices during the coming few years.