The COVID crisis tested healthcare’s robustness (the capacity to take a punch) and agility (the ability to adapt). Many hospitals struggled coping with an unprecedented influx of patients and Covid related losses of valuable staff. These conditions call for greater operational elasticity, defined as the capacity to dynamically reconfigure space, staff, and resources to increase point capacity. Elasticity is often overlooked in organizational analysis and business model design because it primarily emerges during infrequent crises and gets lost amid hectic coping efforts.
Elasticity is easier to achieve when enabling resources are inherently light and flexible. For example, communications networks and support services can be architected to dynamically respond and adapt to unplanned demands for bandwidth. Internal network traffic priorities and external provider bandwidth can be dynamically adjusted to increase point capacity in response to peak point demands.
The US military illustrates operational elasticity in global contexts. Lightly armed Marine and Army rapid deployment forces are organized to insert anywhere on short notice. Airlift delivers and resupplies them, while satellite and drone-based surveillance keeps them situationally aware. US Air Force and Navy assets under integrated command are quickly assigned to support them. America’s ability to dynamically adjust and respond to unforeseen global crises took many years to develop. Its power is undeniable and difficult for adversaries to replicate.
Increasing operational and productive elasticity in the healthcare domain is much easier, affordable, sustainable thanks to new remote monitoring technologies and business model innovations. For example, BioBeat’s tiny monitoring patches deliver unprecedented flexibility, scalability, and elasticity through local network and cloud based continuous triage support.
BioBeat’s advanced patient management, monitoring, and support system uses advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to support patients and medical staff beyond traditional hospital boundaries. Continuous advanced patient monitoring can start at the crisis point and then seamlessly continue through emergency care, ICU, OR involvement, hospital stay, and beyond.
Alarms, configured by medical staff, display on nurses’ stations, even for patients being monitored at home. The process increases safety through continuous advanced monitoring, evaluation, and triage. These capabilities are central to expanding operational elasticity essential to sustainably prepare for unplanned mass casualty scenarios like those experienced during the Covid crisis.