13 Jan 2020

Streamlining Vitals Technology: The Future of Bedside Care

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic and the American Medical Association (AMA), shows that when Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are deemed more usable, researchers observed a significant decrease in provider burnout. In fact, a one percentage point increase in EHR usability yielded a three-percent decrease in provider burnout[1].

To achieve the goal of making EHRs more usable, many organizations are working towards connecting their monitoring devices and document systems to not only reduce the risk of transposition errors when typing vital signs into EHRs, but also to improve the overall patient experience, and reduce provider burnout. This welcomed technological advancement should help to further humanize the caregiving experience by allowing providers to spend more time with their patients and create personalized treatment plans. It also helps increase overall satisfaction of providers and patients alike.

Current Challenges to Quality Patient Care

Shockingly, a clinician typically spends three hours of a 12-hour shift on non-direct care responsibilities, such as completing paperwork and performing tasks to comply with regulatory requirements[2]. This creates a challenge for providers who need to ensure they have enough staff available to deliver safe and effective direct care to a multitude of patients. Additionally, when a clinician is off work, there is the added pressure to get the clinicians on duty up to speed on patient history and treatment plans. The lack of clarity in staff transitions has the potential to be detrimental to the wellbeing of patients.

Staffing challenges aren’t the only roadblocks when it comes to patient evaluation. There is also the possibility of mistakes made during the data transcription process, particularly when transcribing written vital signs into EHRs. These errors cost hospitals, patients, and insurance companies valuable time and energy, and create missed opportunities for quality medical care. Transcription errors do not simply delay patient care — one misread data point could cause a major medical misstep and result in a considerable financial burden on the hospital.

Benefits of Technology Unification for Providers and Patients

Health IT systems have a significant impact on both the patient and provider experience, especially the patient-provider relationship[3]. With streamlined-bedside monitoring and documentation, providers no longer lose critical time manually inputting patient records. Vital signs can now be sent to EHRs right from the bedside. As a result, direct facetime and care between providers and patients increases, and time spent on charting and documentation is reduced from hours to minutes[4].

Additionally, when providers perform shift changes, the handoff in terms of patient records is smooth and efficient, with rapid user authentication utilized as to not disrupt steady workflow. With rapid authentication technology as part of a streamlined process, providers can be identified securely and accurately in order to obtain access to a patient’s vitals. As a result, providers are permitted to transmit information seamlessly during shift changes. As patient’s vitals are handed off, it is essential to have data easily readable in order to be quickly informed of current patient status.

This type of medical device integration transforms valuable information into predictive and actionable insights. Providers can now harness the power of data and analytics to develop insights into patient treatment plans, streamline processes and reduce errors through contextualized reporting.

What’s Next in the Realm of Healthcare Data Merging

In an era in which medicine is highly specialized and multiple clinical specialists are involved in the care of a patient, intelligent use of information technology is essential to help providers, payers and patients achieve better care management outcomes while simultaneously improving cost and quality of care, as well as reducing provider burnout. Breakthroughs that seemed unimaginable only a few years ago are now standard on the typical hospital floor. Technology is playing a greater role in patient care than ever before and is helping to guide therapies and improve outcomes. The best multi-functional devices will be developed by vendors with deep experience in all the functions incorporated into the new product platform.

In theory, technology integrates monitoring, vital signs and a computing device in order to automate documentation, and the combination fosters personalized care. The computing device processes relevant data from the connected sources and efficiently generates treatment recommendations. Decisions and modifications to care are made immediately, speeding up recovery which increases patient and clinician satisfaction, and reduces clinician burnout.

Read more on the rising opportunities to strategically consolidate technological infrastructures within healthcare in Capsule’s whitepaper.

[1] Melnick, Edward R. et al. The Association Between Perceived Electronic Health Record Usability and Professional Burnout Among US Physicians. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, https://doi.org/10.1016/J.mayocp.2019.09.024.
[2]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK216189/
[3]  https://patientengagementhit.com/news/how-health-it-adoption-affects-patient-satisfaction-hcahps
[4] https://www.practicefusion.com/health-informatics-practical-guide-page-1/