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      Headshot of Francisco de Molina
      Francisco de Molina,

      Marketing Director of Medical Instrumentation Business Group in Digital Healthcare

      Analog Devices

      Author Details
      Francisco de Molina
      Fran focuses on driving business growth through a combination of nurturing broad market sales and disruptive innovations in the diagnostics, surgical, implantables, and therapies spaces. Fran has over 16 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, holding various technical and business roles in Precision Converters and Healthcare teams. He holds an MBA degree from the Isenberg School of Management (University of Massachusetts–Amherst, MA), and a master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA).
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      SMART HOSPITAL TECHNOLOGY IN THE ICU: MAKING HEALTHCARE MORE HUMAN


      Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are facing the most critical conditions and require the most critical care. Thus, errors in the ICU can have devastating consequences. Yet despite the high cost of errors in this environment, mistakes are common due to manual workflows, understaffing, and unsustainable workloads placed on healthcare employees. Smart hospital technology has the capability to revolutionize the ICU to help reduce avoidable errors and improve patient care.

      Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) is helping to enable cutting-edge, smart hospital technology in the ICU. Whether it’s simply optimizing schedules to improve workflows or automating direct patient care, digital technologies have already shown their potential to drive efficiencies, reduce errors, and increase positive patient outcomes.

      Vince Roche Vince Roche
      Healthcare is still, in many ways, the most underexploited opportunity for the semiconductor industry at large. It’s a sector where digitalization has got to become more pervasive, from how the diagnostics are achieved to how the diagnostics are moved and understood. We’re in for a period of potentially very explosive growth in the healthcare sector.”

      Vince Roche

      CEO of Analog Devices

      AN EPIDEMIC OF ERRORS IN THE ICU

      Adverse patient outcomes can begin with seemingly small mistakes: Misdiagnoses, missed steps in procedures or treatments, errors in medication, failure to start or stop treatment at the proper time, or simple miscommunication.1 One study1 found that, even in high income countries, one in 10 patients was adversely affected during treatment. The study traced 15% of hospital expenditures to mistakes in care or patients picking up new infections while in the hospital.1

      Fortunately, smart hospital technology can help hardworking physicians and nurses avoid such mistakes more easily. Any task that can be fully or partially digitized represents one more opportunity for nurses to spend time directly caring for patients.

      Icon depicting adverse effects during treatment

      1/10 patients experience adverse effects during treatment, even in high income countries.1

      Icon depicting a pill shaped medication

      Medication errors account for 78% of serious medical errors in the ICU.1

      Icon depicting a patient on a bed

      7% of ICU deaths are potentially avoidable.2

      THE ROOT OF ERRORS IN THE ICU

      In healthcare, a cure must treat the root cause of sickness, not just manage symptoms. The same can be said when solving for errors in the ICU: The cure must begin with an understanding of where and why errors occur in the ICU. Only then can digital transformation have the greatest impact to lessen or eliminate mistakes.

      70%
      OF NURSE INTERRUPTIONS ARE FOR NONCLINICAL BEDSIDE CALLS SUCH AS A PATIENT NEEDING THE TV REMOTE.3

      OUTDATED WORKFLOWS

      Many hospitals still use manual processes that can cause errors and impact efficiency. Medical workers can spend one to two hours at the end of each shift just preparing documents for transfer to the next shift.3 Even facilities that have adopted technologies such as electronic health records (EHR) can often struggle with interoperability challenges.

      STAFFING CHALLENGES

      A tremendous workload, growing workforce gaps, and frequent interruptions provide fertile ground for errors in medical environments. Nurses can be interrupted as many as 10 times an hour, often for nonclinical bedside calls such as a patient needing the TV remote.3 It’s no surprise employee burnout leads to roughly one-third of nurses quitting within their first three years of working, especially in the ICU.3 The World Health Organization (WHO) anticipates a shortfall of 10 million healthcare workers worldwide by the year 2030.4

      INCREASED COMPLEXITY OF CARE

      ICU patients may be recovering from complex illnesses or injuries, including multi-organ failure. Others may have complications such as chronic conditions or, simply, aging bodies. Even an average patient is now generating exponentially more data than ever before.5 Smart hospital technology can help providers collect, manage, analyze, and share patient data with the right people at the right point in time.

      A group of medical personnel sitting on a bench

      SMART HOSPITAL TECHNOLOGY AT WORK IN THE ICU

      Imagine smart hospital technologies automating aspects of direct patient care that do not require provider intervention, for example, administering or updating medication based on live data collection. In fact, automated and adaptive mechanical ventilation is one such closed-loop therapy technology that already exists today.6

      By leveraging sophisticated sensing and intelligence at the edge, medical technology can help support smarter, faster decision-making and more accurate diagnoses in an environment where seconds often matter. Here are some smart hospital technologies that will help enable this transformation:

      Icon depicting Advanced Sensing

      Advanced Sensing

      Real-time, holistic insights into patient conditions facilitate early detection of essential changes, while noninvasive monitoring can reduce patient discomfort along the way. Examples include optical, patch-based, and contactless VSM; miniature MEMS motion sensors for insights into mobility and sleep; and electronic skin assessment tools to help identify pressure ulcers, a common occurrence in the ICU.7

      Icon depicting Artificial Intelligence

      Artificial Intelligence (AI)

      AI makes a vigilant companion to advanced biosensing capabilities and the data they generate, enhancing early warning systems through continuous data analysis. AI’s penchant for pattern recognition makes it a powerful tool for smart clinical decisions and diagnostic support, as well as flagging emerging public health trends.

      Icon depicting Precision Motion Systems

      Precision Motion Systems

      Precision motion systems present opportunities to automate and optimize direct care processes. By automating repetitive tasks, healthcare professionals can focus on delivering high quality patient care.

      Icon depicting Connected Platform/Ecosystem Solutions

      Connected Platform/Ecosystem Solutions

      Secure, real-time transmission of vital signs data across devices and locations could help empower providers with the information they need to provide the right care at the right point in time. To provide the best care, hospitals need to maximize integration and interoperability across their facility and, ideally, across their entire provider network.

      Icon depicting Secure Authenticators

      Secure Authenticators

      A cyberattack can compromise both patient data and direct care devices, such as ventilators and medication pumps, putting patient lives at risk.8 Robust cybersecurity is needed at both the system/network level and at the edge. Solutions such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and scanners can also help identify counterfeit pharmaceuticals to ensure medication safety.9

      ICU DIGITIZATION: EMPOWERING CAREGIVERS, HUMANIZING CARE

      A woman in a hospital bed being assisted by a nurse

      By digitizing aspects of ICU care, we can make healthcare more human as well as more effective. Imagine a world where doctors can respond to deterioration before a patient even shows obvious signs. Imagine predictive care enabling lower cost and lower impact management of chronic conditions. Technology can enable hospitals to maximize doctor-patient interaction time and minimize errors to support positive patient outcomes.

      Analog Devices is proud to play a role in empowering physicians and nurses through smart hospital technology. We are co-creating with customers to design breakthrough healthcare technologies in VSM, biosensors, AI diagnostics, noninvasive optical methods, and smart hospital beds, among others, all to help revolutionize the ICU and bring about a smarter, healthier, more efficient future for healthcare.

      References

      1 “Transforming acute care through digitization.” Philips, 2019.
      2 Schwab, Kristin E., et al. "Rapid Mortality Review in the Intensive Care Unit: An In-Person, Multidisciplinary Improvement Initiative." National Library of Medicine, 2021. 
      3 “Honeywell’s Robert Robinson on healthcare digitalisation.” Healthcare Digital Magazine, 2023.
      4 “Health workforce.” World Health Organization, accessed Oct. 2023.
      5 “Health Data Volumes Skyrocket, Legacy Data Archives On the Rise.” Harmony Healthcare IT.
      6 “The dawn of physiological closed-loop ventilation—a review.” BMC, March 29, 2020.
      7 “Effectiveness of interventions to prevent pressure injury in adults admitted to intensive care settings: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” National Institutes of Health, 2021.
      8 "The elephant in the room: cybersecurity in healthcare.” National Institutes of Health, 2023.
      9 “Critical Success Factors and Traceability Technologies for Establishing a Safe Pharmaceutical Supply Chain.” National Institutes of Health, 2021.