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  • Writer's pictureOzzie Paez

Hospitals struggling with COVID spikes

Updated: Feb 12, 2022

The daily drumroll of hospitals, health systems, cities, and states struggling to cope with COVID spikes continues. We don’t yet know how and when the pandemic will finally resolve. I watched the cycle unfold in Northern Colorado at one of our newest and largest hospitals five months ago during the latest uptick in COVID cases. The facility was packed beyond capacity with overflow patients kept in hallways and occupying emergency department beds. The staff, including doctors, looked tired and the facility, which normally shines, reflected the stress of their unplanned operational environment. Even now, as caseloads wane, UCHealth, one of Colorado’s largest providers, warns its patients that non-urgent services may be delayed. The Denver Post recently echoed concerns by Emergency Department doctors of Omicron’s impacts on emergency room services.

The good news is that cutting-edge solutions are available to scale hospital capacity quickly and sustainably. The bad news is that many providers are struggling to innovate under high demands, stress, and uncertainty. Fortunately, some systems that stretch hospital capacity beyond brick-and-mortar can be deployed without disrupting existing staff and operations. These systems alleviate overcrowding by enabling providers to discharge less severe cases under continuous patient monitoring protocols. Leading hospitals in Israel and the US are deploying these systems and tuning their operations to dynamically scale their capacity as demands for care peak and wane.

I discussed these developments with Professor Arik Eisenkraft, MD, MHA, Biobeat’s VP of Clinical and Regulation. Their remote patient monitoring solutions can monitor patients from initiating events through support of diagnosis, treatment, and discharge. Biobeat’s small, inexpensive wearable patches continuously measure and stream thirteen cardiovascular and respiratory vitals for analysis by cloud-based artificial intelligence algorithms. The results are streamed in real-time to nursing stations and authorized devices like smartphones and tablets. The system triggers alarms when patient conditions deteriorate and continuously scores patients as part of its automated triage function. Electronic health records are seamlessly updated, further reducing staff workloads. Medical staff can use Biobeat’s system to support clinically based decisions on which patients can be discharged and monitored from home and external facilities.

We are integrating information and insights from these deployments into our continuing work developing innovative business and care models that leverage remote patient monitoring. Providers struggling to cope with COVID-related peak demands and those looking to improve care delivery should contact us for more information on these revolutionary solutions.


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