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Five Ways Medical Device Connectivity is Changing Healthcare

A clinician takes a patient's blood pressure.

Access to accurate, up-to-date patient information is of paramount importance in identifying and treating patients effectively and efficiently. For example, vital signs yield important indicators of patient health, helping to guide diagnosis and treatment options. However, even the most meticulous patient assessments are of little help to clinicians if they are not documented correctly or in a timely way.

Often, information is written on a scrap of paper and never entered into the patient record. This creates inconsistencies in the documentation process, delays data entry, and hinders the quality and integrity of the data. Medical device connectivity can help eliminate these pain points by providing healthcare professionals with complete, accurate and current patient assessments on demand.

Access to Current Patient Information

Full access to patient data enhances a physician’s ability to make diagnostic assessments and select the most appropriate and effective form of treatment. Medical device connectivity enables access to current patient information by measuring and transmitting patient data to the EMR. As a result, caregivers can make informed decisions faster, speeding up the delivery of treatment and helping to improve outcomes.2

Case Study: UAB Hospital implemented a connectivity strategy throughout the organization to improve access to patient medical records. Welch Allyn and Cerner, a premier EMR software provider, partnered to create a unique data integration solution to provide healthcare staff with complete and accurate vital signs values at the point of care.

Error Reduction

There are numerous opportunities for patient ID, transcription or omission errors when manually documenting patient data into the EMR. Statistics reveal that 10-25% of manually transcribed patient information contains an error, which can translate into patient harms.3 For example, incorrectly recording a patient’s blood pressure can result in the wrong dosage of medication, putting the patient’s health at risk. Medical device connectivity eliminates manual collection and reporting via automated workflows, reducing the possibility of transcription errors.2

Case Study: The Ottawa Hospital wanted to eliminate traditional manual workflows for documenting patient vitals. The hospital chose to standardize on Welch Allyn Connex® Vital Signs Monitors, featuring wireless transmission of vitals directly into its EMR. This connectivity saved time and prevented errors commonly associated with manual transcription.

Remote Monitoring

Medical device connectivity allows the remote monitoring of chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. These devices can transmit data from the patient’s home to the caregiver, providing a 360-degree view of the patient’s condition, improving the effectiveness of the treatment plan.4

Case Study: Bloomfield Internists utilized an ambulatory blood pressure monitoring solution to obtain a more comprehensive and accurate patient blood pressure analysis. The practice selected the Welch Allyn Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring System with CardioPerfect® WorkStation software, which enhanced patient diagnosis by providing a comprehensive analysis of systolic, diastolic, mean blood pressure and heart rate over a 24-hour period.

Cost Savings

Healthcare is becoming more expensive with healthcare spending projected to grow from $7.1 trillion in 2015 to $8.7 trillion by 2020.5 Medical device connectivity can help lower healthcare costs by providing the caregiver with access to current information to help diagnose the patient quickly and correctly. This saves patients a large percentage of treatment costs by potentially minimizing unnecessary appointments, medical tests and hospital stays.4 In addition, organizations can benefit through improved resource allocation and planning.1

Case Study: Cardiology of Tulsa (COT) saw a wide range of positive impacts when the organization integrated Welch Allyn medical device products with NextGen Healthcare Information Systems. As a result, COT achieved a cost savings of $36,000 in staff time and materials through more efficient workflows and the elimination of tasks such as scanning and shredding reports. Because of the productivity gains, COT could respond to the growing patient demand without hiring additional staff.

Time Savings

Access to current patient information improves workflow efficiency by saving the healthcare provider the time of having to manually enter data into a paper chart. As a result, medical device connectivity allows healthcare providers to spend time on what matters most—the patients.

Case Study: Trinity Medical Center was looking for a paperless vital signs documentation solution. The organization incorporated the Welch Allyn Connex Vitals Management System into their clinicians’ workflow to eliminate the time required to transcribe and document two sets of vital signs readings per patient per shift. As a result, the nursing staff saved 1,460 hours per year, allowing them to spend more time with their patients.

Key Takeaway

The quality of clinical decisions is directly related to the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of patient data in the EMR. Medical device connectivity helps minimize errors and omissions in patient diagnostic data and allows physicians to access the most current data on demand. As a result, clinicians can spend more time at the bedside, thus elevating the level of patient care.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of medical device connectivity? Be sure to download the Clinician's Guide to Cybersecurity to read more about how you can easily and safely capture, store and transmit patient health information with connected medical devices.
  1. Peerbits. Internet of things in healthcare: applications, benefits, and challenges. Accessed November 9, 2018
  2. IoT World Today. Internet of Things healthcare applications, benefits and challenges. Accessed November 12, 2018.
  3. Welch Allyn. EMR Connectivity. Accessed November 12, 2018.
  4. Device Authority. Securing IoT Medical Devices—Benefits, Challenges, Requirements and Guidelines. Accessed November 12, 2018.
  5. Deloitte. Medtech and the Internet of Medical Things: How connected medical devices are transforming health care. Accessed November 9, 2018.