Industry Focus: Patient Monitoring
As with many other sectors, the health economy is undergoing a massive revolution with the incorporation of digitized solutions. It has become clear in recent years that using digital technologies to assist the healthcare community in different ways can highly enhance efficiency and outcomes for most parties involved. In fact, the promise is such that the IoT Healthcare industry is predicted to have investments above $400bn by 2022, according to a report by Grand View Research. While the applications of digitization in healthcare are multitudinous, in this article we will look specifically at its effect on patient monitoring and what it entails for the job market.
How Does Digital Healthcare Technology Affect Patient Monitoring?
One of the biggest obstacles in traditional healthcare is that patients not physically present in health facilities often do not receive the best available care. Digital health solutions overcome this by bridging the gap between remote patients and healthcare providers so that necessary care can be efficaciously administered. Especially for patients at risk of relapse or emergencies, the availability of a monitoring platform can allow for early interventions that prevent health deterioration and save money. For instance, founder and CEO Robert Herzog of eCaring suggests that patient monitoring can save up to $4000 per year and bring a RoI of 400% or more for healthcare providers. Furthermore, for many patients, implementing such a system can mean successful prevention of highly undesirable health decline.
Through real-time monitoring, doctors can assess changes in a patient’s condition and respond with informed decisions. Biosensors, wearable technology, and more can be used in conjunction with devices with network connectivity to deliver constant information to healthcare providers who can then prescribe healthcare treatment as required. Digital solutions are becoming more sophisticated to include features that make analyzing vital signs, predicting patterns, and addressing health issues much easier. Such possibilities allow patients to live in the comfort of their homes for longer, and also allow other caregivers such as friends and relatives to keep track of their condition. Even for non-remote patients, such as those in critical units in large hospitals or nursing homes, patient monitoring systems can allow doctors and nurses to respond speedily for the best possible outcome.
What Are Some Real-World Digital Solutions in Patient Monitoring?
There are many companies, from digital health giants to start-ups that have been developing solutions in patient monitoring. These companies, ever-growing in number, are an indication of the tech-based, patient-oriented direction the healthcare industry is moving towards. Here are some examples of such companies and the solutions they offer:
- Nihon Koden. Aware, an alarm management and reporting tool, allows hospitals to access key data and analytics from their remote patients based on several monitoring parameters to identify high-risk situations.
- Biotronik. Devices equipped with an antenna and extra storage capacity connect to a patient device, where clinical data is collected and sent to providers.
- GE Healthcare. The Apex Pro CH, a telemetry system for hospitals, supports both centralized and decentralized monitoring through a variety of information viewing devices. Protects against signal interference and dropout.
- Tata Consultancy Services. Uses ‘fog computing‘ to connect a mobile app across multiple network protocols and integrate various monitoring devices. Records data and sends alerts based on pattern inferences.
- Philips Healthcare. The EncorePro 2 graphically presents all of a patient’s data in one dashboard, updates information continuously, automates routine tasks to save time, and offers cross-analysis tools for providers.
- EarlySense. A patient monitoring supervision platform that provides continuous vital signs and motion information to a display monitor at the nurses’ stations.
- A&D Medical. A multi-device, mobile-connected, cloud-storage health metrics monitoring platform that shares data with patients, providers, and other caregivers.
- Abbott. With the Merlin.net platform and the [email protected] transmitter, patients can get efficient care through data transmitted from implanted cardiac devices with daily morning alerts.
- Boston Scientific. The Latitude NXT in-home patient monitoring system allows devices such as pacemakers, cardiac monitors, weight scales, etc. to regularly update providers in between primary visits.
- Endotronix. Offers early patient intervention for at-risk heart failure patients using an implantable pulmonary artery sensor and a cloud-based management system.
- Entra Health. Uses wireless biometric sensors and devices to collect real-time patient readings, which is uploaded to a cloud-based platform for data aggregation, reporting, and analysis.
- Glytech. Offers a cloud-based diabetes management system by automatically transferring patient blood glucose data to providers, who can use the automated suggestion from the solution to improve insulin dosing.
- Honeywell. The Genesis Touch device collects remote patient biometrics and transmits data onto dashboards across multiple providers. Allows for video visits and 2G data plans.
- Medtronic. The Vital Sync monitoring platform allows providers to view data from ventilators, pulse oximeters, capnography monitors, etc. on web-enabled devices and send to EMRs and clinical information systems.
- MediBeacon. Provides clinicians with continuous real-time monitoring of a patient’s renal functions using a non-invasive detection device and innovative fluorescent tracer agent.
- OptiScan. Offers an automated bedside glucose monitoring system for critically ill ICU patients. Shows data regarding matebolic analytes such as lactate and heodynamic analytes such as hemoglobin and ScvO2.
- Ornim Medical. Products such as CFlow and CerOx allow for non-invasive bedside patient monitoring of vitals such as blood flow, oxygen saturation, and more. Specializes in tissue and cerebral blood flow.
- Sentrian. Reduces preventable hospitalization of patients with chronic diseases using biosensors and wearable devices that analyze patterns of deterioration and prompt automated notifications to care managers.
- Spacelabs Healthcare. The Xhibit platform provides a customized clinical suite of data through the use of monitors, wearable devices, and dashboards to make informed decisions.
- Vivify Health. Provides different remote monitoring solutions for healthy but at-risk patients, rising-risk patients, and high-risk patients whether at home or on the go.
The unprecedented growth of digital health is not likely to stop soon, with the global market expected to reach £43bn and the UK market £2.9bn by 2018. The above is a list of some of the successful companies in the sector. These companies further represent a large window of opportunity for graduates and job-seekers who wish to find suitable professional positions. As digital healthcare solutions become more widely adopted across regions and healthcare providers, the demand for workers with the necessary qualifications is likely to increase substantially.
What Are the Opportunities in the Digital Health Job Market?
Digital health institutions and health providers using digital solutions have definitely opened up a slew of employment opportunities. As a multi-faceted industry, digital healthcare has created a want for a variety of skills and positions. To illustrate, here is a list of some of the jobs graduates can acquire:
- IT Support Specialist—providing tech-related information and troubleshooting problems.
- Digital Health Communications Specialist—planning and implementing communication projects.
- Software Engineer—developing innovative systems, tools, and applications that serve healthcare ends.
- Mechanical/Electronic Engineer—contributing in producing and improving digital products and solutions that tackle healthcare issues.
- Project Manager/Analyst—managing project organization, delivery, and analysis.
- User Interface Interaction Designer—helping design useful and attractive software products.
- Data Scientists/Architect/Operations Engineer/Analyst—working on complex data and advance modeling projects.
- Application/Cloud Operations Engineer—helping adopt best practices in documentation, testing, operational support, security, etc.
- Biomedical Equipment Technician—ensuring that medical equipment is well-maintained, properly configured, and functional.
- Procurement Engineer/Specialist—overseeing the purchasing of technical goods and services.
- IT Security Administrator—managing IT-related safety and security issues within a company.
- Clinical Education Specialist—planning and administering continuing education programs to healthcare personnel to keep them updated with digital solutions.
- Research Scientist/R&D Technician—designing and undertaking controlled investigations, and analyzing data to improve solutions.
- Quality Engineer/Manager/Analyst—monitoring, testing, and inspecting products to ensure they meet specified standards.
- Regulatory Affairs Specialist—ensuring products meet legislative requirements.
Necessary Skill Sets To Focus On Patient Monitoring
To obtain such jobs, of course, requires certain qualifications on the part of the applicants. Digital health solution companies often have hefty investments and high-risk possibilities at stake, and a prerequisite for joining their teams is usually at least a bachelor’s degree and often higher-level specialist graduate degrees in specific fields. The following are some examples of relevant real-world courses and some of the universities in the UK that provide them (please note that the list isn’t exhaustive):
- Computer Science/Information Technology— University of Cambridge, University of Warwick, King’s College London, etc.
- Data Journalism/Science— Cardiff University, Birmingham City University, Birkbeck University of London, University of Derby, etc.
- Software Engineering— University of Glasgow, Staffordshire University, York St John University, etc.
- Mechanical Engineering— University of Lancaster, University of Loughborough, University of Leeds, etc.
- Electronic Engineering— University of Bristol, University of Bath, Heriot-Watt University, etc.
- UX Design— University of York, University of Dundee, University of Portsmouth, etc.
- Life Science—Imperial College London, University College London, University of Durham, etc.
- Biomedical Science—University of Manchester, University of Edinburgh, University of Surrey, etc.
- Math & Statistics—University of Oxford, University of Southampton, University of Canterbury, etc.
- Project Management—The Open University (short course), etc.
It is evident that the world of healthcare is rapidly transforming, and with it, so is the scope for many of these educational fields. As companies capitalize on the growing demand for the digital touch in healthcare, interested individuals can find openings as per their qualifications within the industry.