How hospitals can cope with peak demands
Hospitals operating at capacity during peak demands for services adjust admission and discharge benchmarks to focus on the most severely ill. Recurring unpredictable peaks in demand increase risks and can become operationally and financially unsustainable. We learned these lessons in the aftermath of 9/11 and again during the continuing Covid pandemic.
Key differentiators between 2001 and 2021 are emerging innovative technologies that allow hospitals to sustainably scale capacity without expanding their physical footprints. At the heart of this revolution are low-cost advanced continuous patient monitors and intelligent analysis systems that help prioritize and manage care delivery. These technological marvels allow health systems to exploit strategies proven across industry sectors to identify, cope, and manage unpredictable peaks in demand.
For example, hospitals experiencing sudden increases in Covid related admissions can use inexpensive disposable patient monitoring patches and advanced analytical systems to prioritize admissions, discharges, and remote patient care. The patches continuously measure and transmit sixteen vitals including ECG, cuffless blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), breathing rate, and temperature. The data is interpreted by advanced analytics and artificial intelligence algorithms that continuously interpret, report, and update patient status.
Patients released to their homes under continuous monitoring protocols are monitored as prescribed and configured by hospital staff. Their vitals will be available on hospital monitors and their conditions will be updated and alarmed when appropriate. The system will seamlessly update Electronic Health Records and provide authorized medical staff remote access through HIPPA compliant clients.
This continuous monitoring triage process considers the entire patient population, on and off-site, in updating suggested care priorities. The system allows care managers to use objective measures in prioritizing care delivery and support, including dispatching nurses and readmitting patients on a timely, case-by-case basis. It’s a game-changer in how hospitals can sustainably adapt and scale operations in response to unpredictable spikes in demand.
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