Continuous in-hospital patient monitoring
A colleague approached me in late 2019 with a request to evaluate Biobeat’s medical technologies and remote patient monitoring solutions. I had previously tested cuffless blood pressure measuring devices and they consistently failed to perform as promised, so I expected modest improvements in capabilities and performance. Instead, I was introduced to systems that leveraged cutting-edge sensors, artificial intelligence, and analytics to deliver comprehensive, continuous physiological measurements, including cuffless blood pressure and a dozen additional cardiovascular parameters. They were game-changing and poised to innovate care delivery – then the pandemic hit.
Watching one healthcare system after another struggle with spikes in covid cases reminded me of my work in industries that are subject to unpredictable spikes in demand. Unpredictability renders permanent capacity expansions unsustainable, so companies turn to technology and business model innovations to help them cope. I’ve described this capability as Operational Elasticity (OE) because it allows organizations to reconfigure and stretch resources to temporarily increase productive capacity. Hospitals demonstrate limited OE because their resources and operations have been bounded by physical, brick-and-mortar constraints. Their emergency response plans are usually designed for short peaks in demand and rely on all-hands-on-deck strategies.
We studied Biobeat’s advanced remote patient monitoring technologies as potential solutions to help hospitals cope with COVID’s disruptive, unpredictable spikes in demand for care. A key component of our strategy was to leverage the systems’ continuous, automated triage assessments and care priority management to channel limited resources where they are needed most. We also developed operational models that enable hospitals to dynamically expand bed capacity via at-home monitoring and staffed offsite locations. Our work benefited from feedback from early adopter hospitals and insights from IT support specialists. Sadly, though perhaps understandably given their moment of crisis, providers stuck with familiar legacy technologies and methods.
I hope that this peer-reviewed publication and others in the pipeline will help providers embrace advanced innovative remote patient monitoring and automated triage technologies. Viruses will continue exploiting modern travel to quickly spread across the globe. We’ll need cutting-edge technologies, strategies, and business models to prepare and cope with future outbreaks. In this context, Biobeat’s timely solutions are worth considering.