Improving patient care – today and tomorrow

Barbara Johansson

This blog was first published in December, 2018 – long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19. Fast forward to today and  cameras play an increasingly vital role in patient care, as healthcare systems face new struggles with increased patient loads and a shortage of PPE. This provides a good example of how an investment in dependable technology provides long-term value – today and tomorrow.

The statistics are alarming

A study published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine revealed that the median response time to potentially critical alarms in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is in excess of three minutes and almost 10 minutes on the pediatric ward.

If these alarms were signaling a severe deterioration of patient health, the delay in clinical assessment and treatment could have a profound negative impact on patient outcome.

Potentially, a life could be cut short before it ever really began.

But the reality is not surprising

That same study also showed that the vast majority – over 90% – of patient alarms are non-actionable or “nuisance” alarms. It’s a finding that is consistent with other studies of various hospital types. In fact, nuisance alarms are widely recognized to be a leading contributor of “alarm fatigue” – a sensory overload and de-sensitization to alarms among healthcare workers – resulting in missed alarms and delayed response times.

A growing shortage of healthcare workers

But alarm fatigue is not the only threat to patient care. A shortage of healthcare professionals for a growing and aging population has also resulted in an increased patient to healthcare provider ratio.  A trend that is expected to continue. According to the World Health Organization, shortages can mount up to 9.9 million physicians, nurses and midwives globally by 2030.

High resolution video is improving patient care

So how do progressive healthcare facilities treat more patients with fewer resources? Nemours Children’s Health System have installed high quality Axis network video cameras in every patient room to improve patient care. These “clinical cameras” are not part of the hospital security system. Rather, they are integrated with patient biotelemetry devices through Epic software and monitored by a team of paramedics from a central tactical logistics center.  The extra set of eyes and ears with medical training help direct hospital caregivers to where they are most needed – reducing alarm response time from minutes to seconds.

It’s a concept that is scalable and has multiple benefits. From its Tactical Logistics Center (TLC) at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, the team can monitor the 100 patient beds there, as well as over 150 patient beds at its sister hospital in Delaware. In addition to improving alarm response time, the TLC paramedics also assist clinical teams with bedside treatment protocols and can call in additional resources when the clinical teams are busy with life-saving treatments. Further, by eliminating unnecessary in-room presence for “nuisance” alarms, patients can rest better and heal faster.

When you consider that there are nearly 1 million hospital beds in the US alone (source: American Hospital Association), 1.3 million Americans in nursing homes (Source: CDC), and an estimated 4.5 million Americans who require some form of home health care annually (Source: CDC), the potential use of video cameras to improve patient care is tremendous.

Read more about technology that supports a growing healthcare crisis:

Healthcare Technology