Digitalisation is something present in every aspect of our daily lives. We spend a large part of our lives on social media, for most of the population it is difficult to envisage daily life without smartphones, cars, houses and even cities that are increasingly more ‘smart’. So, it is unavoidable (and necessary) that technological advances and digitalisation also reaches the health sector. We are referring to eHealth as the new digital revolution in healthcare.
Digitalisation has slowly been introduced into hospital life. Today, most hospitals have electronic medical records accessible to any authorised doctor from any terminal connected to the network. Similarly, diagnostic imaging is mostly done digitally so that traditional x-rays on film are increasingly rarer.
PDMS: A step further into eHealth
Many hospitals, especially large centres, have PDMS (Patient Data Management System) which is a digital system that manages data of admitted patients including prescriptions, diagnostic and analytical test results, medical reports, etc. Also, the more modern PDMS helps to collect monitoring data in real time, such as cardiac monitors, pulse oximetry, blood pressure or, in the case of the arcomed pumps, data and alarms provided by infusion devices through which the patient is receiving medication.
This allows health professionals to fully optimise patient care, improving response time to any eventuality (something especially important for patients admitted into ICU) and means significant savings in down time and unnecessary displacement. In fact, some leading hospitals in eHealth are already planning to implement the concept “ICU without walls” where the patient is admitted to hospital, close to their family (which helps their psychological comfort and recovery) and remote monitoring just as if they were in an ICU. This does not mean the disappearance of the traditional ICU, especially for critical patients, but it does mean an advance that allows patients who need constant monitoring but are not in a critical state to be monitored in a more comfortable way for them.
What will eHealth offer us in the future?
Almost every day, countless developments are introduced in the field of eHealth. The improvement of wearable devices and sensors will soon allow home hospitalisation to be much more common (with the consequent reduction in costs for hospitals, as well as improving patient comfort) as all their vital signs could be controlled remotely, just like administering drugs by any means, establishing contact with the doctor by videoconference when needed. Let’s not forget that, in most cases, the hospitalisation of a patient comes from the need to administer them intravenous medication and to monitor their recovery, without being in a life-threatening situation (for example, in many post-surgical admissions).
This is just a preview of what is to come. eHealth, combined with the use of artificial intelligence algorithms and the miniaturisation of sensors (that could be implanted into the patient’s body) will allow not only to monitor but also to detect illnesses and/or complications early, which will allow doctors to act pre-emptively before the situation becomes urgent. Personalised drug dosage, automation (now present in many surgeries), advances in genetic engineering and implementing new technologies in general, could completely change hospitals as we know them today.
At arcomed we are leaders in infusion technology and, therefore, are not immune to this revolution. Our pumps present many features that were unthinkable a few years ago and we continue working on research and development in new concepts, always together with health professionals, to provide the patient new standards of comfort, safety and personalised care.