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Globally, it has been recognized that with continuous monitoring of patients after surgery, mortality and complications are reduced due to timely clinical intervention. However, the main reliance on continuous monitoring is that nurses can monitor patients at most every few hours to calculate an early warning score (EWS) that determines the type of clinical intervention needed. In India, we are facing a shortage of nursing staff and strained intensive care units in hospitals. For example, we have a population of over 1.5 billion with an estimated 125,000 ICU beds and a shortage of 4.3 million nurses. This is where continuous remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology, which monitors patients every minute, can improve patient outcomes and significantly reduce the financial burden on the Indian healthcare system.
Continuously monitor wards to improve patient outcomes, increase patient safety, and reduce ICU stays
A continuous RPM system that records patient vitals and automatically calculates EWS can reduce the time burden on healthcare workers during post-operative monitoring and help address the challenges of intermittent data collection, allowing nurses and physicians to provide patients more efficiently. Early intervention in high-risk patients. A meta-review of the effectiveness of non-contact monitoring of patients’ vital signs after surgery found an overall 39% reduction in the risk of death and approximately 3.32 fewer days in the ICU, while reducing the risk of a patient’s overall health deterioration after surgery . In public hospitals in India, where the ratio of nurses to patients in wards is often suboptimal, a continuous ward monitoring system can significantly reduce the time they spend collecting and manually entering data on each patient, allowing them to provide better care.
Significant hospital cost savings and improved patient affordability
Remote monitoring and improved data-driven clinical decision-making through the automation of early warning systems can improve profitability in a number of ways, but primarily by reducing the average length of stay (ALOS) in the ICU per patient, thereby reducing ICU costs for hospitals. A study investigated the economic impact of implementing a continuous monitoring system in the medical and surgical wards of community hospitals in the United States. Savings are estimated at $224 to $710 per patient, with the hospital breaking even after six to nine months. In the case of India, such savings could not only make hospitals economical, but also make treatment more affordable for patients.
Current challenges and navigating the future
While there are many benefits to adopting a continuous remote monitoring system in the Indian healthcare system, there are also certain skeptics. The human-machine interface of any technology needs to understand the system and then operate it accordingly for the best results. The speed-breaker in this journey is the integration of traditional protocols in hospitals with these newer, more efficient monitoring systems. Seamless integration with traditional protocols and existing manual processes in public and private hospitals will create value across the Indian healthcare ecosystem.