Future Ready: The Vital Role of Wireless Patient Monitoring in a Pandemic
The World Health Organization’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) has been planning for the next influenza pandemic for nearly 70 years, and the recent outbreaks of SARS, MERS and COVID-19 suggest that a future coronavirus pandemic is highly likely too.
Plans to mitigate against these threats focus heavily on the evolving Internet of Things (IoT) and the use of wireless electronic devices in detecting, monitoring and learning about future virus outbreaks. Central among these devices is wireless patient monitoring in a pandemic.
How Wireless Monitoring Facilitates Detection
The response to a future pandemic will fall into three crucial phases: detection, isolation and analysis. Prompt detection is crucial to containing a virus that spreads as quickly as coronavirus and influenza, and in successfully treating those who are infected.
Wireless monitoring can help speed up the detection process, facilitating early isolation and medical intervention which is especially important in suspected case patients and groups at high-risk of severe illness including:
- People who are 65 and older.
- People with serious heart conditions.
- People with chronic lung disease.
- People with weakened immune systems.
Wearable devices can now safely and continuously capture a range of vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate that are essential to monitoring and diagnosing infection. The ability to wirelessly capture and transmit reliable, real-time data enables the early detection and analysis of disease needed to save lives and reduce the impact of the virus.
How Wireless Monitoring Facilitates Isolation
Reducing contact between people is the obvious way to curb the spread of a virus but for frontline workers this may not be an option. In the course of their duties, frontline workers, come in close contact with infected patients and may ultimately contract COVID-19 themselves.
Wireless patient monitoring counters this threat in two ways. First, it enables low-touch patient care in hospital by removing the need for medical staff to be in contact, or even close proximity, with patients when taking vital signs measurements. Secondly, it makes it possible for patients with milder symptoms to stay at home while still being monitored.
The comfort and convenience of noninvasive, wireless monitors like the Caretaker 4, contributes to greater patient compliance than with more cumbersome monitoring devices. This has been proven in many tests, including Australia’s first virtual hospital project in New South Wales, where over 350 Caretaker 4 devices were used to monitor COVID-19 patients at home.
How Wireless Patient Monitoring Facilitates Analysis
Detailed patient data from a pandemic, provides the insights we need to plan containment measures, improve hospital treatment and develop vaccines. When a pandemic strikes, the speed of learning dictates how quickly we can contain it and ultimately how many lives are lost.
Wireless patient monitoring provides unprecedented volumes of high-quality data in real time enabling a small number of clinicians to monitor key vital signs at once for a large number of patients. With no gaps in patient monitoring, changes in patient health can be detected immediately,
Beat by beat, real-time monitoring helps close gaps in care and smooth out workflow inefficiencies, meaning hospitals can provide better service with better outcomes for patients. In clinical research, the use of wireless patient monitoring is at the forefront of boosting the speed and efficiency of studies, while also saving cost. Case in point is Celerion’s ongoing use of the Caretaker 4 to monitor blood pressure, ECG and other vital signs in over 250 subjects participating in an anaphylaxis drug study.
Preparing For The Inevitable
The world as a whole was poorly prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we learned from the challenges, and gained invaluable insights on the three crucial pandemic response phases: detection, isolation and analysis and are now in a better position to respond to a future pandemic.
Wireless patient monitoring is at the forefront of IoT enabled healthcare technology. We have witnessed what can be achieved with speed of information, low touch technology and reliability of data. Now it’s time to make these attributes the norm.
* Source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41666-020-00080-6
Caretaker Medical is a Wireless Digital Health company that has developed a continuous ‘beat-by-beat’ Blood Pressure and Vital Signs monitor that eliminates blind spots between traditional intermittent spot-check monitors and untethers patients from mobility-restricting wires and hoses. The FDA-Cleared Caretaker4 wireless monitor utilizes a simple finger cuff and patented Pulse Decomposition Analysis technology to measure uninterrupted blood pressure, hemodynamics, and other parameters for wire-free, “touchless” remote patient monitoring that maximizes patient comfort and clinical decision-making. For more information, please visit www.CaretakerMedical.net.