By Kelly Patrick
Many hospitals were at breaking point during the pandemic, with healthcare staff pushed to their limits, desperately seeking support to help care for the large influx in patients. Hospital admission was restrictive, with only the most critical patients entering the hospital.
Since then, healthcare providers have reflected on their care-provision capabilities, and as such have accelerated plans to improve patient monitoring capacities both in and out of the hospital.
Patient monitor demands are changeable
The pandemic highlighted the need to ensure patient monitor devices were capable of monitoring specific respiratory parameters, with demand for CO2 and SpO2 modules increasing the most. With ICU capacity overstretched, patients were also cared for in alternative departments, transitioning demand for ICU-level continuous monitoring outside of the traditional setting. Now the pandemic has subsided, the demand for ICU monitors has reduced, with more demand for solutions to be used in the OR to help monitor the surge in patients expected because of the surgical backlog. This will also filter to lower-acuity settings to ensure patients are continuously monitored after discharge from surgical wards. With demand varying so significantly, hospitals are now seeking more flexible modular solutions, which can flex up or down the level of functionality depending on the patient’s requirements or the demands on the hospital facilities.
Healthcare providers see the benefit of continuous patient monitoring to ensure patient deterioration is identified quickly. There is also a greater need for data to be integrated into digital information systems to help improve patient diagnosis and subsequent treatment plans. Prior to the pandemic, there was some movement toward integrated care and movement of patients to low acuity and ambulatory settings in mature regions. Following the pandemic, this is expected to be expedited, with other emerging countries also following.
Flexibility is in greatest demand
There has been a definite gear change to configurable modular monitors that enable greater flexibility and can be adapted according to the acuity setting required for patient upsurges. The utilization of flexible portable solutions is further fueled by the increasing demand for solutions in lower-acuity settings and in remote capacities. There will be more demand for solutions that can be altered easily to the care setting required. The next stage in the market will be to develop cloud-based solutions that can enable parameters to be switched on or off as required. This will also increase demand for associated software and add-on modules that increase functionality.