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IoT Devices Significantly Lower Nurse Response Times

Newton-Wellesley deploys EarlySense Continuous Monitoring System, using the IoT to reduce nurse response times.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Newton-Wellesley and EarlySense recently collaborated, using the Internet of Things (IoT) and implementing EarlySense’s Continuous Monitoring Solution, to reduce nurse response times to alarms and improve patient outcomes.

The partnership began in response to The Joint Commission’s 2009 National Patient Safety Goal (NPAG) on Alarm Management, which urged hospitals to "improve recognition and response to changes in a patient's condition." The initiative was supported by Newton-Wellesley physicians and the clinical nurses in the medical surgical division.

Newton-Wellesley reported that the Continuous Monitoring System implementation has an overall reduction of 59 percent in median nurse response times to alarms. The 265-bed hospital implemented EasySense’s solution to detect irregularities in heart and respiratory rate and patient motion to detect adverse events earlier.

"Our joint concern for effective monitoring and treatment of post-operative patients receiving opioids was a key factor for undertaking this initiative, and our strong nurse-physician partnerships enabled us to successfully implement the program" Newton-Wellesley Hospital Chief Operating Officer, Division of Hospital Medicine, Dr. Perry An, MD said in a statement. "Throughout the course of our Early Detection of Deterioration Project we have documented dozens of case studies in which continuous monitoring aided our staff in early detection and diagnosis.

“This, combined with our success in minimizing the frequency of false alarms, has allowed Newton-Wellesley to significantly improve its response times and achieve better patient outcomes."

The device contains a sensor that is placed under the patient’s mattress to provide detection of patient deterioration. It also alerts staff before the event occurs, increasing the success rate of treatment.

In addition to improving response times, the solution’s continuous monitoring supplies Newton-Wellesley with a large amount of data, analyzing the patient’s condition over time. The data gives clinicians even more insight into each patient to notice signs of an event before the sensor detects it.

"Newton-Wellesley has shown leadership and a commitment to preventing unrecognized patient deterioration by implementing continuous vital sign monitoring for all their patients, not just the sickest ones," Chairman of the AAMI Foundation's National Coalition to Promote Continuous Monitoring of Patients on Opioids Dr. Frank J. Overdyk said in a statement. "They have successfully integrated EarlySense technology into the workflow of their bedside providers and improved patient safety by reducing burdensome false alarms and alarm response times, without compromising efficiency."

Newton-Wellesley also made changes to its reporting policy to accommodate the new IoT devices. The policy now requires documentation and verbal communication of alarm activity within the EHR at every shift change so initial and repeated alarms are more visible to staff as patients change hands. 

"As the healthcare industry works toward improving patient care, we'll see more facilities across the continuum of care invest in continuous monitoring solutions and implement early detection programs,” EarlySense CEO Avner Halprin concluded. “These initiatives are providing significant clinical outcome benefits and improving patient care. We believe that with these efforts, and their associated results, Continuous Monitoring of patients is becoming a Standard of Care for all non ICU Patients."

Many healthcare organizations have been implementing IoT devices in their health IT infrastructures to improve workflow and the quality of patient care.

Organizations are constantly looking for ways to cut back on costs while improving patient care and are often looking to advanced IT infrastructure solutions to do so. By implementing IoT devices that constantly communicate with the network, organizations can reduce hospital stay times and lower the rate of readmission.

The data collected from IoT devices helps significantly with preventative care allowing clinicians to recognize patterns before symptoms present themselves. Newton-Wellesley has deployed their IoT solution to achieve the specific goal of reducing nurse response times, proving that similar implementations can achieve similar results elsewhere within the organization.