Remote monitoring of patient beds could be big money saver

Continuous remote monitoring of inpatients from their beds could save the healthcare sector $15 billion a year, according to a new study published in the journal Critical Care Medicine.

The study, conducted by researchers from Israel, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital and California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles, concluded that using a continuous monitoring system (known as contact-free continuous monitoring) embedded directly in the patient's bed saved anywhere from $224 to $710 per patient when used in the surgical care unit of an unidentified 316-bed community hospital.

Extrapolated over five years, the cost savings for such a hospital would be as much as $9 million. The cost of investing in the technology is covered within six to nine months.

If the technology was used throughout the country, the industry could avoid more than 300,000 patient falls per year, reduce incidents of pressure ulcers by 1.2 million per year, and cut code blue events by more than 259,000 each year, according to a statement issued on the study by the manufacturer of the technology.

The study did not discuss the infrastructure that hospitals would need to deal with these maladies once the risk is detected. Eskenazi Health Center in Indianapolis, for example, had to revise its skin care protocols and use teams to reposition patients in order to cut down on the incidence of pressure ulcers.

- read the study abstract

- check out the statement