May 25, 2018

The End of the Wired Era: 3 Benefits of Remote Monitoring Solutions for Hospitals

Written by Garret Weigel | Pharmacy Safety

Hospitals have an obligation to ensure that their patients are healthy: from the medication they take to the food they eat, the last thing a patient should experience is an illness caused by a lapse in safety precautions. With many legacy technologies still in use today, the likelihood of a temperature excursion affecting food or medication should be taken seriously. Despite new regulations mandating the use of more effective monitoring equipment, the healthcare industry is lagging behind when it comes to adopting new technology.

Old hospital monitoring systems tend to be cumbersome; a plethora of wires, solutions that are hard to use and harder still to implement, and many more issues cause heartache for any hospital administrator attempting to adopt a new system. Half the battle is understanding the ROI for new processes, in addition to figuring out the best way to integrate it successfully. Hospital technology solutions need to keep the patient in mind: the Harvard Business Review argues that clinician-oriented solutions contribute to physician burnout instead of facilitating patient care. Any solution that a hospital considers should focus on the most important objective: contributing to patient well-being.

In this post, we’ll examine 3 benefits of embracing remote monitoring solutions in hospitals:

  • Compliance
  • Maintenance
  • Accessibility


Internal Standards and External Regulatory Compliance Management

Understandably, hospitals face a strict set of rules to abide by in order to keep their patients in good health. Many medications need to be stored at specific temperatures, and in some cases, humidity and other conditions contribute to their efficacy. Protecting these assets is crucial in maintaining compliance and quality standards. In addition, monitoring temperature and pressure of surgical suites and clean rooms are essential to maintaining a safe environment.

Maintaining compliance includes standard care, such as surgical procedures or caring for bedridden patients, but also extends to the food that is consumed by admitted patients. Older systems or processes for food safety can result in overlooked temperature excursions, leading to preventable foodborne illnesses. Comprehensive remote monitoring solutions enable proactive detection of excursions, ensuring patient safety outside of the operating room. This includes cafeterias, which impacts clinicians, patients, and their visiting loved ones.

Previously, systems that monitor and manage regulatory compliance required a level of manual labor to ensure guidelines were being met. Manual work has a greater tendency to be inaccurate or incomplete, unlike digital systems which provide peace of mind that compliance and regulatory issues are being successfully managed. Any opportunity to cut back on manual processes should be taken, as this will save employee time and improve reliability.


Setup and Maintenance of Hospital Technology

Any technology solution that contains hardware and software will inevitably require some commitment to setup and maintenance. Typically, initial setup calls for an IT team due to the complexity of implementing a net-new system. From dealing with wires to figuring out the optimal location for devices, installation can be more complicated than necessary. Increasing clerical burden is one of the biggest drivers of burnout in medicine, and distracts physicians from their real purpose: providing patient care.

With modern temperature monitoring solutions, installation is self-provisioning. Wirefree sensors allow for a cleaner setup by avoiding the need for cord management. Wired systems require holes to be drilled and seals to be placed, both of which increase the likelihood of a compromised fridge or freezer. In addition, sensors can be repurposed without the need to call IT, giving more flexibility than legacy systems.


Bringing Accessibility to the Forefront

While setup and maintenance is an important consideration for adopting a new temperature monitoring solution, the lack of accessibility could be the deciding factor for hospital administrators. Many older systems are tied to a hospital’s current internet infrastructure, making the monitoring system dependent on external factors. That’s why it’s critical to find a solution that has external network connectivity (such as utilizing cellular networks), battery backup to prevent a gap in visibility, along with store and forward methods of sensor readings (storing data internally until a connection is re-established).

Without the ability to easily review data that a remote solution is gathering, the system could be ignored due to the difficulty of viewing important information. Dated solutions depend on a dedicated piece of software, rather than taking advantage cloud-based systems. With today’s solutions, internet connected dashboards enable seamless management of entire monitoring systems, giving access to anyone with a computer.


Upgrade Your Legacy Hospital Monitoring Solution

Upgrading to a modern remote monitoring solution has many advantages, including better compliance and regulatory management, self-provisioning installation, and improved accessibility. Any solution that a hospital is considering should focus on one simple idea: provide a better experience for patients. Older systems can waste time and energy on complicated installation and troubleshooting processes, while modern systems allow hospital staff to spend more time with their patients. This simple idea is something we at SmartSense support wholeheartedly, which will help guide our development of products and solutions that contribute to this goal.


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