Gaurav Parchani, Co-Founder & CTO, Dozee highlights that it is time that countries like India take adequate measures to ensure that all hospital beds in the country implement contactless RPM and EWS. This not only minimises morbidity and mortality in postoperative patients but also maximises clinical time utilisation of their health care staff to provide the best patient care possible
In today’s day and age, it is heart-breaking to know that globally ~29.7 lakhs of people die within 30 days of surgery due to post-operative complications. This is much higher than global deaths related to causes like HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. If we consider just the United Kingdom (UK), data shows that about 10 per cent of the patients that undergo surgery, fall at high-risk of post-operative complications out of which 80 per cent result in postoperative deaths.
This problem needs an immediate solution that can address the massive scale of the problem in a simple and efficient manner – a solution at scale that predictive AI-powered technologies like continuous patient monitoring in wards can provide.
In recent years, we have seen a drastic increase in the number of high-risk patients in ICUs around the world, increasing the strain on ICU time, and optimisation of time the patients spend in the ICU (ALOS) has become a global priority. One of the ways to tackle postoperative mortality in patients is to monitor their health in the wards outside the ICU, thereby reducing mortality due to common complications like sepsis, which can be treated easily if caught early. Indeed, when continuous monitoring of patients is done in postoperative wards, it leads to fewer complications, reduced patient mortality and saves ICU time due to early intervention.
While this solution seems relatively straightforward, the limited ratio of nurses to patients (sometimes well over 1:25 compared to the recommended 1:4) outside the ICU makes it near impossible to collect such data manually.
Need to relook at manual spot-checks, which provide a sub-optimal level of patient monitoring
When data is collected by the nurses, timely interpretation of changes in the vitals and therefore intervention becomes a challenge, as nurses need to both collect data and make decisions on patient health in very limited time, increasing the probability of missing changes in the patient vitals. Indeed, the 2018 National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death Common Themes and Recommendations, London, reported delayed response, or failure to recognise the urgency of patient health, a few of the key themes leading to patient mortality in hospital wards.
The way forward with Contactless Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) and AI-powered Early Warning Systems (EWS)
Therefore, the most logical way to tackle this problem globally is through the use of medical technology like Contactless Remote Patient Monitoring and Early Warning Systems that have shown potential to significantly reduce the strain on ICU healthcare infrastructure and healthcare professionals’ time. Such technology can be used on all the non-ICU beds in the hospital to ensure that the post-operative patient is regularly monitored with the support of technology and the most critical patients are attended to promptly to reduce morbidity and mortality.
A study published by the Clinical Medicine Journal London, 2021, proved that contactless remote patient monitoring and early warning systems work in managing critical patients. The study further stated that the effectiveness of contactless monitoring of the postoperative patient, found an overall reduction of 39 per cent in the risk of mortality, ~3.32 days reduction of stay in the ICU, as well as a reduced risk of general patient health deterioration.
With more such evidence being reported globally, it is time that countries like India take adequate measures to ensure that all hospital beds in the country implement contactless RPM and EWS. This not only minimises morbidity and mortality in postoperative patients but also maximises clinical time utilisation of their health care staff to provide the best patient care possible.