System Transformation Drives the Patient Monitoring Industry

System Transformation Drives the Patient Monitoring Industry

Patient monitoring is finally being recognised for the critical role that it plays in diagnosis and the treatment administered.

As reforms to the healthcare system continue to place emphasis on value-based care and outcome-based reimbursement, it is important for hospitals and health systems to take advantage of technologies that reduce risk and ensure optimal patient care. Monitoring patients better to know their status at all times is one of the very few proven actions that can be done to address crisis of unnecessary expenditure. The focus needs to shift to one that actively promotes good health practices and enables providers to move from reactive to pro-active delivery.

One of the most significant shifts in monitoring patients is moving away from a device-based business model to a clinical information system solution. These systems now can be individually designed and scaled to meet a healthcare organization’s changing care models and clinical workflows.

Manufacturers are focusing on the development of technologically advanced monitoring systems such as multimodality monitoring that is used in neuro-critical care settings. It allows clinics and hospitals to track multiple parameters of brain physiology and functions such as brain tissue oxygen tension to determine the brain’s relative health or distress. With this new technology, professionals can quickly and efficiently identify the root cause of an illness to prevent any misdiagnosis.

With the hyper focus on healthcare costs, a connected OR can serve to cut the incredibly high cost of OR time. Better networking and integration of OR through upgrades of existing networks, or through the creation of new network platforms, can definitely provide tremendous cost savings. Whether a facility has 50 ORs or just a few, networking an OR can save lives and make the facility much more efficient. Manufacturers are constantly updating their software to ensure that the products they sell are up to date and comparable to the latest OEM equipment.

Wireless capabilities have also been a very functional advancement, converting the usual challenge of the patient completely entangled in cables on a hospital bed to the ability to move around freely and more comfortable. A major advantage of such Wi-Fi-based monitoring is that it allows hospitals that have installed wireless networks to leverage their existing infrastructure and investment; they do not have to spend additional resources to install traditional RF antennas. Another great advantage is that it can be deployed without having to sacrifice bandwidth.

More than 50 percent of hospital deaths occur in patients who are not continuously monitored. Advances in a rapid response system, alarms for vital signs outside of accepted ranges, allow for a successful treatment. Vital sign trending takes this a step further by assisting clinicians to identify true alarms and reduce alarm fatigue. Nursing and medical staff can visually see whether a patient is stabilizing or destabilizing and react appropriately. Continuous monitoring devices hold enormous promise, and will be an important part of the medical landscape in the very near future.

Indian market

The Indian market for patient monitoring equipment in 2017 is estimated at Rs 462 crore, and 62,900 units. This is a 4.5 percent growth in value terms and 14.5 percent increase by volume over 2016. This includes the HLL procurement of Rs 80 crore.

The premium segment has an 11.93 percent contribution by value and a 2.94 percent contribution by volume. The high-end systems constitute 21.6 percent share in value terms and 9.87 percent in volume terms. The belly of the segment continues to be competitively priced systems, the mid-end and low-end segment, also referred to as the value and super value segments that dominate with a combined share of 87.2 percent in volume terms and 66.4 percent in value terms.

The government hospitals were large buyers in 2017. HLL invited bids in 2017, and then again in 2018. It is gearing up to equip the MCH hospitals planned by the government. 2019 is expected to see this trend continue, as the government has decided that private sector companies can provide healthcare services in district hospitals to those who suffer from non-communicable diseases, as there is a visible growth in demand for these services after the launch of Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (NHPM). NITI Aayog has presented guidelines and a model concession agreement that will enable private companies to start operating in district hospitals, which were exclusively government-run earlier.

With the recent emphasis of the government on procuring only indigenous equipment, this segment is seeing a major drop in quality of equipment. Some leading brands, earlier marketing products from Japan and USA switched to sourcing from China and also introduced competitively priced products, so as not to be absent in a fast moving segment. Indigenous players, which were dominant in this segment, are in turn finding it tough to match these prices and are now facing competition from the leading brands too.

Hospitals in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, having to provide a patient monitoring system with every bed, give very low priority to what it is capable of doing.  Medical colleges with the recent change in fee structure, facing a financial crunch, have revised the specifications for the patient monitoring systems they are seeking. On the other hand, globally the segment is maturing to a never-before level.  Boxes are making way for state-of-the-art, customized end-to-end solutions that provides seamless data flow from devices to monitors to EMRs, absolutely the highest levels of clinical excellence.

Way ahead

Healthcare around the world is under increasing pressure with many healthcare providers now recognizing the urgent need for a wider system transformation. A large number of healthcare organizations are evaluating clinical systems that provide the potential of improving patient care in areas of the hospital that previously did not monitor patients. An example of this is monitoring of patients in general care areas to identifying subtle signs of deterioration in a patient, hours before a potential adverse event. By identifying which patients may need more focused attention, healthcare providers can make a significant difference in care of patients.

Advances in technology are set to improve functioning and performance of such medical devices in the areas of diagnosis, prevention, and monitoring. Advances in cloud computing and IoT are slowly catching up with patient monitoring devices. Various IoT startups are focusing on manufacturing patient monitoring devices, with key focus on areas such as telemedicine, remote monitoring, and behavior modification. India is amongst the most lucrative investment destination for patient monitoring devices and is expected to show high growth opportunities in the years to come.

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