How Centralised Patient Monitoring Systems Can Transform Healthcare
The connected care model in the public healthcare delivery system can bridge this gap. Technological innovations like contactless remote monitoring systems and AI-powered early warning system has the power to convert standard hospital beds into connected step-down ICU beds
Even before the pandemic, it was well known that the public healthcare system was unable to handle the daily load of patients that were walking in for treatment across the country. Therefore, it did not come as a surprise when the healthcare system in many states crashed during the pandemic. It was clear that the National healthcare system that was meant to provide universal access to equitable, affordable and quality healthcare services to its 140 Crore population needed an immediate upgrade. Currently, 80 per cent of healthcare resources are concentrated in the urban areas, serving just 30 per cent of the population.
However, managing the healthcare requirements of the second-most populous country in the world is not an easy task. As a result, it became vital to bring MedTech solutions that could assist healthcare professionals, allowing them to use their time to provide better patient care and focus on patient outcomes.
Meeting the healthcare challenges head-on
As a deliberate move towards a digital health revolution in the country, the Indian government adopted a telehealth system on March 25, 2020. This brought about much-needed relief for thousands of patients who needed doctor consultations during the pandemic. This also made way for an increase in the online pharmacies and diagnostic services that collect samples from residences. Collectively, these changes have redefined the country's healthcare delivery and health access ecosystem.
A 2019 study by the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy stated that there was a shortage of 600,000 doctors and 20 lakh nurses in India. Adding to this limitation is the number of beds available to patients who need intensive care in the country. Reports indicate that there are only 6.8 intensive care unit (ICU) beds for every 100,000 people and less than 5,000 intensivists available to the public. This puts much stress on the healthcare infrastructure in a time of acute need. As a result, there is an urgent need for technological support to meet this current deficiency of healthcare professionals (HCPs) in India.
The connected care model in the public healthcare delivery system can bridge this gap
Technological innovations like contactless remote monitoring systems and AI-powered early warning system have the power to convert standard hospital beds into connected step-down ICU beds. Such solutions enable real-time remote monitoring of a patient's vitals such as heart rate and performance, respiration rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, ECG and temperature. All this data from the patient vitals that are fed into an AI system also provide early-warning alerts that allow healthcare staff to make data-backed clinical decisions that could save the patient's life through timely patient care.
Looking beyond the pandemic
Implementation of such contactless remote monitoring systems and AI-powered early warning systems have shown that there are visible benefits in central monitoring of patients as it brings down the workload of the nursing staff as well as provides doctors with real-time information on the patients that need immediate care in comparison to other patients. In addition, such new-age technologies also allow hospitals to scale up their non-ICU beds by just adding contactless remote monitoring systems to their existing beds. This increases the hospital capacity at any given point of time and also maximises utilisation of the existing healthcare staff time in patient care and outcomes.
Proven in over 50 public hospitals across India, such a system can immediately reduce the burden on existing ICU infrastructure by nearly 26 per cent, leading to significant cost savings. This also makes the hub & spoke model in healthcare delivery possible, wherein every Public Health Centre (PHC) and Community Health Centre (CHC) can be connected to a centralised Government Medical Centre (GMC), bringing quality healthcare within hopping distance of every Indian.
As we see signs of exiting the pandemic in the coming months, more health tech and MedTech solutions will be 'Made in India' to suit the needs of the Indian and global healthcare systems. The future of innovative and contactless remote monitoring systems and AI-powered early warning systems could make a marked difference in developing countries with a shortage of hospital beds and HCPs.