6 Ways Your Next Hospital Visit May Bring Technology Changes

The continuing advances in technology serve to improve patient care and alleviate the work load of hospital workers. While some of these devices are in current use, others are in trial periods in facilities across the country.

Bloodless Medicine
Though regulations make transfusions relatively safe, patients may opt out of receiving blood products because of religious beliefs or concerns about safety. The innovation of bloodless medicine implements medication and technology that salvages, cleanses and extends blood volume without the need for supplementation with blood. The various techniques used in the process include minimally invasive surgery, coagulating lasers or electro-cautery instrumentation and volume extenders.

Remote Monitoring
In a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 10 percent of the Intensive Care Unit beds in the country now have advanced systems that provide continual monitoring of critically ill patients. The systems consist of two-way television monitors and video cameras maintained at an operations center via computer, which enables nurses and physicians to monitor and interact with patients, families and other staff members.

Paperless Hospitals
Medical facilities are continually moving closer to becoming paperless environments. Advancements in technology include hospital automation consisting of computerized systems that create electronic forms. The systems have the capability of handling a multitude of information that extends from administration through patient care. Department and file filters ensure limited access to qualified personnel and printing options easily create hard copy replications of any file.

SafeStep Testing
The cost and prevalence of hospital acquired infections prompted manufacturer Getinge to create the SafeStep testing unit. The portable, hand held device is about the size of a phone and detects the presence of adenosine triphosphate, commonly called ATP. When present, the enzyme indicates living organisms. Staff members swab the areas requiring testing and insert the swab into the unit. Within 15 seconds, the device displays the results.

Infection Fighting Robots
Patients hospitalized at the Loyola University Health System may see three-foot tall, cylinder shaped robots rolling up and down the corridors. Equipped to emit ultraviolet light rays, the medical center uses the robots in unoccupied patient rooms and surgical suites to eliminate MRSA and other possible pathogens.

Closed Hospital Gowns
A hospital in Detroit recently began supplying patients with new gowns that completely close in the back and consist of a thicker material that provides added warmth. The gowns have snaps in the front that make the garment adjustable in size. Easily put on or removed, the gowns also allow for IV lines and medical equipment accessibility when needed.

Every year, engineers create technology that serves medical needs. The technology utilized in today’s hospitals was once only the product of minds that created science fiction.


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