Mobile and wireless technologies dominate a Computer Sciences Corp. list of six technologies that show promise for improving patient care and making a better working environment for clinicians, particularly nurses.
In an article posted on the CSC website, research principal Fran Turisco and senior research analyst Jared Rhoads in the Emerging Practices division of CSC's Healthcare Group describe the six technologies, all of which the consulting firm has successfully implemented as part of workflow redesigns at client sites:
- Workflow management systems to gather information from multiple sources and present it in a single display;
- Real-time location systems (RTLS), a specific form of radio-frequency identification (RFID) that tracks movement of patients, staff and expensive medical equipment;
- Wireless mobile VoIP communication, perhaps integrated with monitoring and bed management systems, that runs over existing in-house wireless networks, and come in the form of telephone handsets or wearable badges;
- Wireless patient monitoring, via sensors embedded in patient bedding, to provide continuous surveillance of patient conditions and allow for faster response in case of an acute episode;
- Delivery robots to replace humans for mundane "fetch-and-deliver" tasks; and
- Interactive patient systems for two-way communication with patients and delivery of multimedia content such as educational material and Internet services to individual beds.
These technologies have tended to bring significant, measurable changes to CSC clients. St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital in Savannah, Ga, for example, saw patient falls decrease from five incidents per 1,000 patient days to just 1.4 per 1,000 patient days after integrated wireless patient monitoring with nurse communication systems, the article says.
"While not an exhaustive list, the selected technologies mentioned above are in use, have demonstrated their value, and represent both leading-edge technologies that offer great potential as well as advances in mainstream solutions," Turisco and Rhoads write. These recommendations all come from a larger report, "Equipped for Efficiency," that CSC produced for the California HealthCare Foundation.