The impact of digital transformation in hospital care
Today’s healthcare system is facing many challenges globally, including growing aging populations, a rise in chronic conditions and co-morbidities, and increasing constraints on the healthcare workforce. As the industry works towards achieving the quadruple aim to help address these issues – the goal of better patient outcomes and improved patient and clinician experiences, all at a lower cost – there is a great need to optimise resources and increase efficiencies. To do this, the industry must embrace the shift to digitisation.
While this shift has been difficult in some countries due to the continued use of paper-based systems and low levels of digital electronic medical records (EMRs) adoption, it is becoming essential if hospitals want to successfully operate in the current healthcare landscape. The benefits of digitisation are becoming quite clear – especially in areas like acute or remote care – and technology that can help hospitals make this transition at a scale to unlock even greater value for both patients and the health system.
Challenges in Acute Care Settings
The intensive care unit (ICU) is associated with some of the highest mortality, morbidity and error rates, making it an area where digitisation is particularly necessary to help improve the quality of care. With hundreds of processes being delivered to patients each day, more patient data often means less time to interpret it and react appropriately, leading to errors and misdiagnoses.
Trying to access this patient information from various devices, records or areas of the hospital that are often disconnected can worsen this problem exponentially. Decision-making in the ICU has therefore become a complex process for caregivers, yet one that is time-critical since acute care patients can deteriorate rapidly.
Empowering Care Professionals to Address Acute Care Challenges
Philips understands the complex challenges present in acute care settings and has years of experience bringing together clinical data across multiple sources in the hospital. Philips solutions use this information to generate time-critical, actionable insights, and through advanced visualisation tools, organises these insights in a way that fits seamlessly into a clinician’s workflow.
Philips’ strong patient monitoring portfolio in critical care provides continuous monitoring for every care setting – from the point-of-care, to the unit central station, to a virtualised care provider or team. For example, Philips IntelliSpace Critical Care and Anesthesia (ICCA) is a clinical informatics and patient care solution that simplifies clinician workflow and helps enhance patient care in the ICU through clinical decision support.
An example of acute care at the virtual care level is the Philips eICU Program solution. It allows for virtual intensivist-led coverage through a scalable, centralised solution, where a centralised critical care team can remotely provide additive support to the bedside care team. Adaptive intelligence plays a large role in this area, as a key aspect of the eICU solution is its Automated Acuity (AA) scoring capabilities within CensusMosaic, a graphical patient population census tool.
Telehealth: an untapped but powerful tool
Telehealth has clear benefits for Australia with our vast geography, a dispersed population and the uneven distribution of our clinical workforce. Telehealth driven care models not only eliminate the challenges of distance but also result in better patient outcomes and experience. This is achieved through the opportunity for timelier intervention and bringing care closer to home.
Through the capability of a highly specialised clinical team, a small group of clinicians can support a large population of patients enabled by technology that highlights patients needing support at that point in time. This is enabled through the data driven insights captured through technologies like wearables allowing for early detection of clinical deterioration. Ultimately the opportunity for Population Health at Scale is fast becoming a reality through such models.
Telehealth encourages patients to access care, manage their appointments, access specialist care and allied health professionals regardless of their care team’s location allowing these individuals to feel safe and remain “in-control”. Through remote coaching these individuals become more confident in managing their conditions which also leads to a reduction in health resource consumption.
Paving the Way for the Future
Building on expertise as a data aggregator and integrator, Philips is dedicated to creating solutions that work within – and extend – existing systems so that hospitals can realise the full value of their investments and move towards the quadruple aim.
To achieve digitisation realisation, hospitals will require technology that can grow and scale along with their needs. Starting with small implementations in areas that need it most can help hospitals begin to overcome the challenge of digitisation on a more manageable level. For this to be possible, vendor-agnostic platforms that provide underlying support and enable customers to add or plug in features based on what their budgets allow will be key to driving digitisation forward. It’s increasingly not a matter of what the leap to digitisation can bring, but what the cost of inaction can result in.
We are excited by the way technology is already empowering patients and providers, giving them more control over their health and care management. Philips is determined to continue providing solutions that allow patients to stay healthy, prevent illness and disease, and assist healthcare professionals to deliver value-based healthcare.
About the author: Shehaan Fernando is Regional Director for Connected Care Informatics at Philips.
Visit Philips (Table Top 9) at the HIMSS Australia Digital Health Summit on November 21 to learn more about their solutions.
Steven Mullins, District Transformation Manager, Western NSW Local Health District, will be speaking at Keynote Plenary 3: Breaking New Grounds in Telehealth with Virtual Care (Sponsored by Philips), scheduled on November 21 from 10.45am-11.30am at Cockle Bay Room 1.