Patient monitoring systems have long sounded off at the first sign of trouble, giving doctors and nurses the opportunity to divert their attention to the most serious medical situations. Generally, a series of alarms and chimes would sound off and give medical professionals an indication that a patient was having a medical emergency.
Today’s clinical alerting systems monitor much more than heart rate. In addition, they don’t just make sounds that can be heard by everyone within earshot. Clinical alerting systems are now more precise, with patient status indications being sent directly to the handheld communication devices carried by nurses and doctors. Here is a look into how patient monitoring systems have improved and the ways in which hospital workers are communicating more precisely.
Medical Alerts Issued Faster
In many emergency room settings, the steady sound of beeps, chimes, alarms and whistles goes off every other second. Some sounds indicate that everything is all right with a patient while others can give doctors and nurses legitimate cause for concern. Sometimes a critical care alarm can go unnoticed, especially if there is another emergency going on nearby. Newer clinical alerting systems have a smaller margin of error as they operate totally differently.
Direct Patient Emergency Warnings
The main nurse station at hospitals can be empty if there are multiple patients that need specialized care simultaneously. In other words, patient calls and even clinical alerts can go unnoticed if a healthcare center is operating on an outdated system. Beepers and pagers might help doctors on call to know when to go to the hospital, but more precise forms of communication are necessary for healthcare professionals who are working on the front lines. All it takes is the right setup for a healthcare provider to get information faster and in a more direct manner.
Reduced Emergency Care Response Times
When a patient in a hospital suddenly flatlines, medical professionals only have a few moments to turn the situation around to preserve life. While there may be several emergency care nurses in close proximity, they have to alert the doctor on call while working to save the patient who needs critical care. Modern patient monitoring and alert systems cut down on the amount of work that first responders must do to communicate. This has led to reduced response times as well as overall loss of life.
Tapan Mehta, global healthcare lead, Cisco, brings more than 15 years of healthcare information technology, marketing and business development leadership as Cisco’s global healthcare lead. Mehta is responsible for managing the development and marketing efforts for healthcare solutions including clinical workflow improvement, telemedicine, patient safety, regulatory requirements and EHR integration.
Here he discusses the demand for telehealth, the changing role of hospital health IT, wearable technology and patient monitoring and what Cisco is doing to serve its healthcare clients.
Tell me about Cisco and how it serves healthcare.
At Cisco, we see the healthcare industry as ripe for technology disruption. After doing things the same way for years, we think technology can be the catalyst that brings positive changes to how care is delivered. Drawing from our experience as the worldwide networking leader, Cisco is well positioned to help improve the future of healthcare through networked technologies that transform how people connect, access and share information, and collaborate. New healthcare technologies, like those offered by Cisco, benefit everyone – from patients to providers, payers to life sciences organizations.
What is your role, specifically, and what is the most challenging aspect of it?
I have a global marketing role where my team is tasked to develop healthcare specific solutions, go-to-market strategy and field enablement, as well as serve as the “voice of the customer” by bringing the outside-in view to Cisco and its various business groups. Healthcare is at a very critical inflection point in the industry whereby there are several key underlying currents in areas such as mHealth, telehealth, data analytics, wearables, etc. While there are several interesting opportunities to pursue, what makes it difficult is to prioritize them as each segment has substantial market opportunity and growth prospects.
What inspires you and does this translate to your leadership style?
Healthcare is very personal. It touches everyone in the society in some shape or form. I have been in the healthcare space for the past 15 years and I am extremely fortunate that I am in an industry that is going to go through a transformational change over the next decade. Historically, healthcare has fundamentally lagged behind most industries when it comes to technology adoption, but I perceive that changing over the next several years. Healthcare “consumerism,” combined with government mandates around the globe, is going to force the industry to adopt technology if it truly wants to improve quality of patient care and workflows throughout the continuum of care. I am really excited to be part of this healthcare eco-system, whereby I can make a difference in how our customers do their business and more importantly how quality of patient care can be vastly improved.