There has been a shift change in the patient monitor market, with innovation focused on improving cost efficiency, work-flow, and coverage of patient status. The continual push to monitor a patient status throughout the treatment pathway has increased demand for low-acuity monitoring. This has been further compounded by the increased throughput of patients, in addition to treatment in an ambulatory or outpatient setting. The new IHS Markit ‘Patient Monitors Report – 2018’ outlines the key technological trends in the market, and their subsequent impact on market growth and competitive environment.
With dwindling budgets, healthcare professionals are under pressure to provide a high level of patient care with limited financial resources. Purchasing decisions are becoming increasingly strained, and equipment is being used for longer before its replacement. The patient population is not only increasing, but it is getting sicker as the population ages. But what’s new?
As the emphasis on improving the quality of patient care intensifies, product innovation is directed toward features that improve workflow and the accuracy of patient monitoring. This has been driven by reimbursement changes that not only force providers to increase coverage, but also to be more cost effective in their purchasing.
Combating alarm fatigue
Clinical alarm systems are intended to alert caregivers of potential patient deterioration, but if they are not properly managed, they can compromise patient safety. Technological advancements in improving alarm management by patient monitor manufacturers is expected to continue, with targeted smart alarms that distinguish false alarms and optimize on alarm protocols being included in new solutions.
Communicating wirelessly between solutions and through sensors
Patient monitor devices are also becoming more sophisticated, offering not only wireless data transfer from the patient monitor to the central station, but also wireless data transfer from monitoring sensors worn by the patient. As the technology advances, the number of physiological parameters that can be measured through wireless body-worn sensors has increased.
However, as implementation of wireless communication between patient monitor devices, central stations, and clinical information systems increases, there is increasing concern over the security of data transfer. Cybersecurity is becoming a hot topic with many new protocols in place to protect patient data.
Expanding patient care through remote access
Patient monitor devices and supporting information systems allow access to data wherever the clinician is, enabling electronic access to vital data while away from the patient’s bedside, thus reducing the time required to make crucial decisions and increasing efficiency of the department.
As healthcare systems in emerging regions become more established, providers are looking at cost-effective solutions for more rural locations. Tele-ICUs enable physicians with trained experience to guide physicians with less experience to offer a higher level of care through remote access to patient status. As these locations do not have wired systems or infrastructure, connectivity will be vital.
Preventing patient deterioration by early warning scoring
In many mature markets, the use of early warning scoring is increasing as a matter of priority, with several clinical guidelines in place. As monitoring in lower levels of acuity is increasing, it is becoming more import to track any change in patient status.
There has been a progression to assessing patients using spot-check or vital sign monitors, with data automatically uploaded into the patients’ medical record to be incorporated into the early warning scoring protocol. This reduces the mistakes that can be made by errors in manual data assessments.
Advances now allow monitoring by patient-worn cableless sensors that measure vital sign parameters. This enables patients to remain mobile, aiding in the recovery process, but ensuring they are still monitored throughout their hospital stay. The next step is to use the data recorded and transmit it to intelligence software that automatically calculates an early warning score; Philips Healthcare is currently leading the market with its Guardian solution software. The software is adaptable to the hospital’s own protocol, enabling measurements to be taken at scheduled intervals. This is enabling increased compliance with early warning scoring, ensuring patient deterioration is detected as quickly as possible to improve patient outcomes and reduce mortality. This subsequently improves both clinical and financial outcomes for the caregiver. Uptake to date has been focused in markets that have advanced early warning scoring protocols in place. As the focus to improve clinical outcomes increases, global penetration is anticipated.
Using big data and data analytics
Patient data across the clinical space is increasingly incorporated into information systems; the next step is utilizing this information to improve patient diagnosis throughout the patient pathway. Not only is patient data being used in predictive diagnosis in precision medicine but also to improve product development and clinical applications.
Many of the above trends focus on the utilization of patient data to help improve patient diagnosis in a timely manner, and to ensure patient deterioration is monitored. New products are starting to appear on the market that extend the level of patient monitoring beyond the box.
Philips has taken the next step, with the recent launch of their IntelliVue GuardianSoftware app. The software leverages intelligent algorithms and predictive analytics to help clinicians identify patient deterioration and notifying the caregiver on a mobile device. Other companies are expected to follow suit as patient data is increasingly used to fuel algorithms that help to identify changes in patient status, even with limited resources.
IHS Markit will continue to follow these trends as part of our coverage of the patient monitor industry, including syndicated reports on patient monitors and electronic health records. For more information, please contact Kelly Patrick at Kelly.Patrick@ihsmarkit.com.