At Mainspring, we strive to identify real problems in the healthcare industry and work with likeminded partners to utilize versatile Internet of Things (IoT) technology to develop innovative solutions. We create closed loop workflows, designed with multiple automated and manual inputs. Sensors placed on medical devices allow for automated data collection, giving hospitals insights into where things are and what condition they’re in. Different things in the hospital have different requirements for being connected to humans via the internet. Some challenges can be simply resolved by locating the assets using active RTLS or Passive RFID, while others need to also send information such as temperature/humidity and utilization.
How many coach potatoes do you think there are out there, got a FitBit for the holidays and made good on their New Year’s resolutions to become chiselled fitness buffs — they all did, right? All these people started tracking themselves, gained detailed insights into every step back and forth from the fridge between Netflix binges, and through the power of visibility with informative dashboards and a fancy app, they put down the Häagen-Dazs and turned their life completely around.
The same thing happened with RTLS across the healthcare industry. Never mind the size, age of the facility or makeup of the physical environment, every hospital that bought into RTLS for asset tracking in the past decade gained visibility into the every tagged asset. As a result, biomedical engineers knew exactly where every medical device was and what condition it was in, nurses received those devices when they needed them, money was saved, patients were happy, and nobody had to get off the couch.
The following is both an insightful and entertaining client email to Mainspring from Matthew Bruns, Business Systems Analyst for Hartford Healthcare Corporation, in response to asking him for a high-level overview of his expectations for accessing a library database of medical device manufacturers and models.
Like any card-carrying geek, I abhor anything that resembles actual work. So our conversation today is about an especially onerous task that I am stuck with, and the best way to find someone else to do it for me.
How many students pulling all-nighters right now in nursing school dream of becoming a device interface when they graduate? What would the course description look like anyway? Maybe something like: Device Interfaces in Modern Nursing — In lieu of automated systems, today’s nurse is expected to spend an inordinate amount of time manually typing and/or writing information down on a sticky notes from medical devices to electronic health records (EHR). While it’s not a course they teach, the task of manually and inefficiently managing data between devices is what nurses are being tasked with in the real world every day, and it comes with high costs.
“Place it. Press it. Get it.” Thus reads the marketing copy on the Amazon Dash Button webpage. Instantaneous and on demand, you stick the Wi-Fi-enabled button by its corresponding product and whenever you’re running low on coffee or razors or baby formula, you press it and get it. That’s the type of user experience and automated process Mainspring is bringing to hospital operations; where nurses and clinicians get their on demand requests quickly and easily fulfilled, while support services (whether it’s clinical engineering, facilities, environmental services, etc.) have the proper tools and workflow to effectively deliver that request.
Is this the post-EHR era? Are we now living in a post-EHR world? The general idea of this term is that we’ve come to a point where the industry-wide shift in the adoption of electronic health records has taken place, and now the focus can be on making much needed improvements to the health IT infrastructure that’s been implemented, like doubling down on efforts to improve interoperability.
When hospitals think information technology, the 100-million-dollar gorilla in the room is electronic health records (EHR). While the adoption of these systems is meant to improve healthcare and create cost savings, EHR software systems are sprawling, their implementation complex and their price tags can run in the millions to hundreds of millions of dollars. At the high-end there are places like Boston-based Partners HealthCare, which went live with Epic (the EHR market-share leader) to the tune of $1.2 billion, after a three-year implementation process.
There’s a healthcare revolution going on out there. The digital age came upon us, new technologies arose, and the American healthcare system underwent a seismic transformation. With the HITECH Act, accompanying the 2009 economic stimulus, and the Affordable Care Act in 2010, there’s been a national push for the adoption and advancement of health information technology, most importantly of the interoperability of health information technology. But what exactly does interoperability mean, and why is it so important?