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Digital ICUs for an Improved Patient Safety, Healthcare Future

Female doctor comforting female patient lying in hospital bed

As we all know that the critical care setting or unit, commonly called as ICU is one of the most complex environments in any healthcare facility. With time and with technology, the ICUs have evolved in a way to maintain a high-tech environment for ensuring the best of patient-safety standards, and by providing the high-quality care to the sickest patients. Additional, it also offers staff competency in operating the equipment, and tends to the needs of healthcare staff working in such a stressful environment. 

Today, it is all about patient-and-family-centered care, and ICU Director’s are leaving no stone unturned in achieveing that goal. Transformative spoke to a few, to know more about the concept of Digital ICUS that seems to be the future now.

“There is a lot at stake in an ICU and therefore, there needs to be strict SOPs & at Medanta, we follow that”, Dr. Yatin Mehta, Chairman, Institute of Critical Care and Anaesthesiology,

Medanta the Medicity Hospital, Gurugram

“Every hospital needs to be extra vigilant when it comes to ICUs and patient safety. What exactly is happening at any ICU is primarily the monitoring. There is a basic monitoring and there is an advanced monitoring. Apart from this, ICUs also have visual and audio alarms that are supposed to keep the ICU medical members alert in case of any parameters of a patient are a concern, or need an emergency visit. With technology, now we can successfully do remote monitoring too. Remote monitoring is all about offering a transparent and authentic system to the ctitical care patients and their respective families. But despite of all this, you can still not say that everything is full-proof. So an ICU still needs that extra precaution and care when it comes to a patient’s safety. ICU needs to have a well trained staff. There is a lot at stake, you see,” says Dr. Yatin Mehta.

He further adds saying that in India the infection rate is much higher. ” At every hospital, we need to do time to time audits so that there is no scope of blunders or errors. I happen to Chair such a commettie at Medanta. There is a need of strict SOPS, and I am glad that at Medanta, we follow that,” sums Dr. Mehta.

“We were the first hospital in India to become a completely digital ICU, way back in 2012,” Dr. Sandeep Dewan, Director & HOD Critical Care,

Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram

“In ICU, most of the patients are critical ones and they have high risk of death and mortality. So, patient safety becomes very important. Safety with regards to infection control practices, safety with regards to the emotional needs of the patient, safety in the form of monitiroing, in the form of medical treatment, so everything is part of patient safety. At Fortis, we have a specialized quality department whose job is to look at the overall patients safety and the quality of the intensive care delivery. While the Director of the critical care, and the consultants are obviously the pillars of the ICUs, and they will continue to do the medical part, but it is a mix of the teams which does the whole of it,” says Dr. Sandeep Dewan.

He further adds that it is not one team which maintains all this but a mix of 4-5 key departments that are responsible for maintaining the patient safety standards as far as ICUs are concerned. “Fortis Memorial was the first hospital in India to become a completely digital ICU, way back in 2012, we have a 100 bed intensive care network at Fortis Memorial, and the whole ICU is completely digitalized. Not even a single paper as far as the patient monitoring is concerned. Now, what are benefits of being a digital ICU? One, the data is completely transparent, everything is charted on a software on a real-time basis, even if an alarm goes up in an ICU monitor, it will immediately get charted on the ICU’s software.To achieve this level of success, the ICU needs to be completely digitalized. It’s all happening in real time, and is a total transparent way of functioning. As Fortis, we take a pride in that as we are one of the most digitalized ICUs in the world, and one of the first ones to start in India,” adds Dr. Dewan.

Digital ICU Benefits During Covid19

“Particular in Covid, this has become more relevant. As we know, there is a 14% incident of health workers getting infected as they are in the high-risk zone, so you don’t need to be inside the Covid ICU all the time. You can monitor the patients remotely from your office, or, from your duty room via your devices. So, you can actually save healthcare workers from 24-hour exposure to the Covid intensive care environment. While the government is now opening up to this idea, the private healthcare has championed it already. The government has launched national health mission already which will actually completely digitalized the healthcare data of each and every citizen of the country,” sums Dr. Dewan.

What do you think?

Written by transformative

Transformative is single-handedly maneuvered and navigated under the expert hands of Dr. Supriya Himanshu, Consulting Editor, Transformative. Dr. Supriya, who has spent more than 15 years in media industry, working with media houses like TOI, HT, MediaTransAsia, The Statesman, TheHindu, Danika Jagran, both in print and online space, from Deputy Editor to being a Freelancer, is conceptualizing the content and cover, in sync with today’s need.

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