After a while, all of the hopeful press on futuristic health technology can start to feel like, well, hype. Breathless headlines touting telemedicine, artificial intelligence, and related technologies sound cool—but somewhat disconnected from reality.
Last week, these perceptions were shattered during our virtual event, “Digital Health Across the Continuum of Care.”
On Tuesday, October 3rd, three stand-out Health IT leaders shared some of the ways they’re using technology to make a real difference in the patient and workforce experience—not in some far-off vision of the future, but today.
First, Pat Zinno, Director of Infrastructure Information Services and Support at Atlantic Health in New Jersey, presented the ground-breaking work his organization is doing around Virtual Care. Like all healthcare organizations, Atlantic Health is trying to enhance efficiencies and quality of care—and discovering that technology can help bridge the gap.
“We’re trying to map virtual care technology to the entire patient care continuum—from admitted inpatient to the general population,” said Pat. “When patients are in the building the engagement is really high. We want that to continue throughout the entire care experience.”
Pat and his colleagues have devised a multitude of offerings, including the e-ICU, in-room patient-provider communication, telestroke, telepsychiatry, and much more. And patients are responding: Pat reports that ICU patients really enjoy the feeling that they’re being watched 24-7. “They like the sense of the camera, someone being at their bedside,” he said.
Next, Ed Martinez, SVP and Chief Information Officer at Miami Children’s Health System shared his organization’s journey to improve workflow efficiencies by tracking equipment, people, and processes. They started, as many companies do, with RTLS (real-time location services), but soon found that the cost-to-value ratio was limiting. So they turned to another technology: BLE (bluetooth low-energy).
“With RTLS, you can track with a one to three meter accuracy and the devices cost between 20 and 90 dollars each. With BLE, we can track within one to three inches of accuracy, at a cost of less than two dollars per tracking device,” he said.
BLE allows the facility to track processes like hand hygiene, a mundane—but critical—step that helps prevent the spread of infection. “Imagine being able to understand when a provider walks into a room, accesses a geofenced environment, and clicks on the dispenser,” said Ed. “And now imagine that an LED light in the room turns from red to green, letting the patient and family know that the provider they are about to interact with will have clean hands.”
Rounding out the panel, Steve LeBlond, VP of Technology and CTO of Oschner Health System, demonstrated what’s possible with mobile technology in healthcare today. “Mobile is both a platform and a concept,” he said, before unveiling a framework his facility invented called “Optimal Hospital.”
Under Optimal Hospital, all nurses nave smartphones, and all patients and providers have iPads. Nurses can receive alarms and engage in secure messaging with providers. Physicians can use their iPads for messaging and entering notes into the electronic health record. And patients can review their treatment plans and get more information on their conditions.
And the innovation doesn’t stop there. Steve’s team is using mobile for outside-of-the-box tasks like sound monitoring—so they can alert nursing staff if the noise on the floor is too loud after hours. Their work extends to home care as well, with a new mother’s program that allows women to skip routine OB appointments by monitoring basic vital statistics at home using digitally-connected devices.
Following their presentations, all three leaders engaged in a panel discussion on topics ranging from the power of partnerships to future health IT innovations to the evolving role of the healthcare CIO.
As the session ended, the message was clear: The future of health IT is already here. And with brilliant minds like Pat, Ed, and Steve leading the charge, innovation is just getting started.
Missed it the first time? No worries, just click below to watch the recording.