Healthcare trends 2021 and beyond: Preparing for the future – California News



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How lessons learned from COVID-19 in 2020 will transform future healthcare institutions, Write Johnny Ong, Healthcare Practice Lead, Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific

When the pandemic began, there was a shortage of critical medical equipment and consumables. Budgets are quickly squeezed as routine medical examinations and selective surgery are stopped or voluntarily postponed by patients, and practitioners must quickly adapt to non-ideal treatment models to comply with new safety protocols. did not.

Despite these challenges, the pandemic has reportedly helped improve India’s health infrastructure by encouraging both the government and the private sector to enhance services, ironically. In fact, while the Indian central government has already spent more than $ 40 million on hospital equipment alone, private hospitals have invested heavily in essential medical supplies and hospital infrastructure to create isolation and quarantine facilities. going. These spending was unplanned, but already brings benefits far beyond COVID-19 compliance efforts. In fact, many of the technologies adopted over the past year have helped healthcare systems achieve significant cost savings, increased productivity, and improved clinician care capabilities in all practices.

These advances also promise to become mainstream after the pandemic has become a memory of a long time ago, paving the way for more agile, responsive and quality-focused medical services. These are just a few of the improvements you can expect in the future.

Focus on the supply chain

According to Guidehouse’s analysis, even before the pandemic, hospitals were incurring more than $ 25.7 billion annually due to supply chain inefficiencies. The pandemic exacerbated these shortcomings. It was difficult to obtain a ventilator and the basic equipment needed to keep patients and clinicians safe, such as hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Following the pandemic, the Indian central government launched a web-based solution for the healthcare supply chain portal Aarogyapath, providing manufacturers, suppliers and customers with real-time availability of critical healthcare supplies, according to media reports. To do. Looking ahead, more and more hospitals are adopting technologies such as barcodes, radio frequency identification (RFID), and real-time location systems (RTLS) to gain unprecedented visibility and control of their supply chain and inventory management systems. I will. These enhanced visibility also help hospitals reduce inventory waste due to unused and expired equipment.

Rationalization of patient care

Beds have also become a scarce resource in many hospitals, and managers and clinicians are collaborating to find new ways to move patients faster within the system. One of the most advanced tools is RTLS. RTLS leverages any number of location technologies with mobile computers to track and streamline multiple care actions during a patient’s stay, including 24-hour patient monitoring. It has already proven to be very effective in improving patient turnaround times and hospital workflows, and there are some use cases that can be expanded quickly. For example, RFID tags can be added to wheelchairs to help nurses quickly find wheelchairs and expedite patient discharge.

In fact, studies have shown that technologies such as RTLS can reduce bed turnover by up to 50% and patient hospital stays by up to 3 hours. In a 275-bed hospital, reducing the average length of stay by just 4 hours is equivalent to adding 10 beds.

Easier work for healthcare professionals

In 2020, staff burnout has become a major issue, and hospital facilities and clinicians are struggling to address it. One way to reduce burnout is to simplify an important aspect of the clinician’s role.

For example, dedicated medical smartphones that can improve nurse-doctor communication and streamline data-centric workflows can help reduce stress on healthcare providers while improving patient care. At the same time, these devices send alerts directly to the appropriate caregiver, provide access to comprehensive patient history via electronic health records (EHRs), and alert them of care decisions. Reduces fatigue caused by. Nurses can use these same mobile devices at the bedside to enter vital data directly into the patient’s EHR, reducing the time spent charting and reducing errors.

Doctors and nurses using mobile devices can be notified as soon as a patient’s test results are ready, allowing them to make treatment decisions faster and communicate. It’s no wonder media reports suggest that 97% of bedside nurses and 98% of doctors will be dependent on mobile technology by 2022, according to the survey.

Stop the spread of infection

“Disinfect everything!” COVID-19 became a mantra in 2020 as it continued to spread. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the need for disinfection in healthcare institutions is always important given that nosocomial infections affect an estimated 1.7 million patients each year.

However, in 2020, some hospitals found that their non-rugged devices were not made of healthcare-grade plastic and could not withstand repeated cleaning and disinfection. In the future, more hospitals are expected to adopt mobile computers, printers, and portable scanners designed to withstand repeated wiping with approved cleaning agents to limit the spread of the infection. ..

Telemedicine continues to grow

As telemedicine becomes more accepted in 2020, some hospitals will use technology to attach a rugged mobile tablet to the IV pole that allows professionals to interact with patients via video. “Doctor” was created. According to media reports, online health care consultations increased by 500% in India over the year.St. March-31St. May 2020. During this period, approximately 1 million Indians accessed medical care online, with an average of two online doctor visits per month. Many hospitals have found that this virtual solution speeds patient care by allowing specialists to handle multiple consultations without wasting time moving between rooms and hospitals. In the future, more hospitals will rely heavily on virtual patient counseling to provide more efficient patient care while keeping both patients and clinicians safe.

I’m looking forward to

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on medical care. Fortunately, these lessons have a positive impact on how healthcare facilities support both staff and patients and manage future inventory and workflows.

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