These are both use cases that add value now to meet more immediate needs but will also have a long-term impact and benefit to healthcare providers’ daily lives.
Using technology to expand care outside the hospital
In addition to clinical decision support tools, artificial intelligence (AI)-based technologies that leverage predictive algorithms can help clinicians and patients remain safer. An overarching obstacle throughout the pandemic has been providing care to a large influx of patients, while also mitigating risk of exposure as much as possible, making the need for innovative solutions to help contain virus spread critical. Health informatics like data integration and AI can provide connected patient care management whenever and wherever care happens, helping to keep patients out of the hospital and improving patient outcomes for those that are discharged.
For example, in some instances patients with chronic conditions who are having acute episodes can be effectively and appropriately monitored from at home, as sensors and patient-owned technology can provide clinicians with a consistent line of site into patients’ conditions. This can help reduce their risk of virus exposure for the patients, it also frees up bed capacity and resources, allowing clinicians to focus their attention on only the sickest patients.
Cloud-based solutions that are interoperable and help to inform data-driven decisions can allow clinicians to maintain visibility into patients’ wellbeing – detecting issues before they lead to a readmission. For example, patients who are discharged from the hospital, have COVID-19 symptoms or are suspected to have COVID-19, could wear stick-on biosensors patches that provide continuous, effortless monitoring from their home. The data then gets aggregated and shared directly with clinicians so they can make informed decisions about next steps for care.
While these applications clearly benefit patients and physicians during the pandemic, the ability to effectively monitor patients at home provides a long-term advantage as well. Giving patients and providers tools to navigate home care will ensure continuity of their care, also when it comes to managing chronic conditions or an acute episode, while helping to free up hospital beds and prevent readmissions.
Focusing on scalable solutions to increase preparedness
One of the biggest challenges during COVID-19 has been the need to accommodate record numbers of patients needing care at the same time. At times, this led to equipment shortages – such as patient monitors, ventilators and PPE – and hospital capacity overloads. Focusing on scalable solutions can help address these challenges.