The Rising Need For AI Powered Patient Monitoring
Imagine a world in which healthcare services monitor population health via wearables, delivering real-time continuous data on everything from movement and sleep to vital signs, such as beat-by-beat blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate.
The data is constantly analyzed by artificial intelligence (AI), creating a perpetually updated picture to guide clinical research and decision making, and flag up early signs of deterioration in any individual’s health, to enable timely intervention and a better likelihood of cure.
As a result of AI powered patient monitoring, hospitals are less crowded, the spread of infection is reduced, medical staff are not overloaded with administrative tasks and can focus more of their time on patient care, and patients receive better outcomes due to the sharing of data gleaned from a world of connected monitoring.
This picture is the way global healthcare is moving, with governments and private investors focusing heavily on the adoption of AI. So how can this technology help us meet the coming healthcare challenges posed by a rising and ageing population, the risk of further pandemics and a growing deficit in medical professionals?
Using AI powered patient monitoring to gather more reliable health data
In a typical hospital general ward, every four hours or so, a hospital patient will be visited by a nurse carrying out manual vital signs collection. A brachial arm cuff will be applied and blood pressure measured. A thermometer will be tucked under the patient’s arm or tongue to check temperature. A light will be shone in their eyes to observe pupil dilation. A finger clip will monitor pulse rate. It takes about five minutes and then the patient can rest again.
The nurse then sits at a monitor somewhere in the ward corridor and keys in the data. This forms the patient record and informs the doctors’ decisions.
Leading edge hospitals however, are changing this century-old practice. Wireless, continuous patient monitoring is changing this rigmarole. Nurse productivity is improved, as they receive realtime data, alerts, and reports from a central monitor; the patient is not disturbed; there is no risk of mistakes in logging the readings; and the data available to doctors is much more up to date and comprehensive.
Using AI powered patient monitoring to enhance chronic treatment
For patients outside the hospital setting, who need to be monitored for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases, the change is even more pronounced. Rather than having to make regular visits to a clinic to be monitored, these patients can lead a more relaxed life at home while transmitting a constant stream of data on their health.
For medical staff, this means many more patients can be monitored by an individual clinician, with AI collating and analyzing the data, identifying anomalies and patterns and flagging up warning signs in real time. Doctors can form their diagnoses from a far more comprehensive set of data and only need to intervene when an alarm is raised.
Using AI powered patient monitoring to reduce the spread of infection
The impact of remote patient monitoring on the spread of infections is self-evident. The risk of picking up a secondary infection increases with every day a patient spends in hospital, and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the risk to medical staff too.
Less contact between patients and clinicians will become the established norm and the pandemic has proven a compelling case study for the use of remote monitoring devices to achieve this standard. An example is the virtual hospital set up in New South Wales, Australia. The plan was to provide remote healthcare for patients with chronic conditions, using Caretaker 4 wearable monitors, but when the pandemic struck the virtual hospital was repurposed to remotely monitor patients showing symptoms of coronavirus.
The data was sent to a team of doctors who, supported by AI, were able to monitor the status of all patients continuously. If the condition of any patient worsened to the point where intervention became necessary, they were brought into the hospital for emergency care.
The virtual hospital helped to alleviate the burden on New South Wales’ healthcare infrastructure and deliver one of the best responses to COVID-19 in the world. It also illustrated the speed and flexibility with which such technology can be mobilized and pivoted to meet sudden changes in the healthcare requirement.
Meeting the global healthcare challenge
AI powered patient monitoring can deliver a better experience for both patients and medical practitioners, by reducing the time spent on routine manual or administrative tasks, minimizing contact and thus the risk of infection, and providing a more comprehensive and reliable dataset that leads to better knowledge and earlier and more accurate diagnosis.
By increasing efficiency, mitigating risk and reducing medical staff burnout,continuous wireless monitoring and AI offers a way forward in addressing the widening gap between demand and supply of healthcare professionals as the world’s population grows and ages. It also provides the vision of a patient population that is more engaged in its own health and thus reduces the burden on the world’s healthcare systems.
There are still hurdles to overcome, such as ensuring data privacy and building confidence in the system, but these steps are being taken. Meanwhile, the technology is ready and proving its worth every day.
Find out how Caretaker Medical can radically improve your workflow. Get in touch today!
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” continuous patient monitoring that maximizes patient comfort and clinical decision-making. For more information, please visit www.CaretakerMedical.net.