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Everybody was talking about "Digital Healthcare" when healthcare professionals and clinical technology experts met at the HIMSS AsiaPac 2017 from September 11th -14th in Singapore.

After the 4th industrial revolution the broad digitization wave also shows its impact on the healthcare sector. But when terms like 'Predictive Analytics' or 'Big Data' now come up in a healthcare context and the clinical informaticist is seen as a prospective care team member, important questions arise. 

The Digitization in the healthcare sector implies some challenges

  1. With all the data – in the end decisions must be made, namely by human experts. So how does this quite sensitive information reach the responsible target persons safely and efficiently?

  2. How can we prevent that the additional amount of data and information eventually becomes unmanageable and only increases the burden on the care personnel? Even now, the nursing staff regularly suffers from stress symptoms and 'alarm fatigue' due to an overwhelming number of tasks and alarms.

  3. And finally: How can we avoid that the digitization upstages real people – both the patient hoping to recover and the caregiver carrying such a high load? What do we need to make the digitization rather help us to enhance the focus on the human competences?
Accordingly keynotes, talks and company presentations revolved around topics like patient-centered care in the digital age, cyber security in the hospital setting and the question, how the new technologies can foster a team-based care.

Atos / Unify with the help of tetronik presented an extensive portfolio of contemporary answers to all these questions with OpenScape Alarm Response (OScAR).

Atos / Unify shows the OScAR portfolio concerning 'Digital Healthcare' at the HIMSS AsiaPac 2017 in Singapore.
Atos / Unify shows the OScAR portfolio concerning 'Digital Healthcare' at the HIMSS AsiaPac 2017 in Singapore.

The key lies in the interface 'Machine – Human'

In order to successfully face the mentioned challenges, appropriate ways must be found to transfer digital data and machine information to the relevant persons in the right way. OScAR (resp. DAKS) serves as exact this human-machine interface, helping to evolve digitization to a useful and pracitcable culture. OScAR solves this problem by providing an efficient, safe and targeted communication: Between machines and humans, between the members of a care team as well as between nurses/doctors and patients.

Between machines and humans:

Who gets which alarm, information and assignment? How many of them can one person handle? For example, instead of letting an alarm signal echo through the entire ward and address everybody around, OScAR directs alarms, nurse calls and messages specifically to the devices of the assigned persons. This reduces the mass of notifications for the individual as only those relevant are addressed. Additional information, such as location, alarm type etc. help the target persons to evaluate different priorities and make according decisions.

And how about the aspect of security when transmitting sensitive information? Smartphones – often used for private and professional purposes – are in many ways prone to data misuse. Thus they cannot be applied unconsidered when dealing with personal health data worth of protection. OScAR integrates organizational communication platforms and thus enables completely autarchic communication for sensitive areas. In combination with 'DAKS-Communicator' (a mobile device specifically developed for OScAR / DAKS) OScAR supports mobile workflows most effectively and reliably.

Between the members of a care team:

Responsibilities and tasks are appointed to the various team members and accordingly stored in OScAR. But what if the target person is already involved in an assignment and not able to accept an alarm? For such cases substitutes and escalations are predefined. Alarms can be either accepted or rejected and forwarded to other team members. No alarm or notification gets lost – in fact, the ward center always has an overview over the current state of each assignment. A detailed protocoll of all alarm activities helps to retrace all operations.

OScAR enables team coordination via telephone conferences. In cases of emergency the server assembles a comptetent emergency team (MET) from a pool of stored skill groups and starts a high priority telephone conference to connect the team members with the emergency call initiator. The team can coordinate all necessairy actions with the initiator. Help starts before the team even arrives.

The OScAR application ‚Role-based Telephony‘ supports an easy and flexible shift organization of internal hospital on-call services, such as the pharmacy or radiography service. With this application, employees who are scheduled for duty can directly sign in, sign out or change the device they wish to be called on, using either their phone or a web-interface. At the same time, calling wards benefit from a complete availablilty of the on-call service. This shortens waiting and processing times and optimizes the collaboration between the different clinical departments.

With OScAR being the human-machine interface, patients and care team benefit from the digitization in the healthcare sector
With OScAR being the human-machine interface, patients and care team benefit from the digitization in the healthcare sector

Between caregivers and patients:

The object of all the efforts made by the health workforce is a fast and lasting recovery of the patients. In this respect the human factor should not be underestimated. Besides all the data and technical possibilities, a successful healing also depends on how comfortable, happy and well-treated patients feel in their hospital environment. How can caregivers manage to find enough time for the urgently needed personal attentiveness in addition to all their other responsibilites?

Here, too, OScAR brings relief by not only directing nurse calls from the patient bed directly to the devices of the assigned nurses but also enabling voice communication. Does the patient need urgent help right now or does he or she just have a question or feel a bit lonely? Priorities can easily be clarified in a personal conversation without having to complicate the workflow with frequent interruptions. Patients feel reassured and well supported and won´t need to wait long to receive help for urgent problems.

Moreover, the OScAR / DAKS portfolio offers solutions for various special scenarios with patients:

  • Processing alarms directly from connected medical devices at the intensive care unit
  • Tracking patients / beds
  • Preventing wandering of dement patients

Prepared for 'Digital Healthcare' with OScAR

The course has been set and the digitization starts pervading the healthcare sector just like many other areas of our lives. The better the interface between digitization technology and humans is adjusted, the greater are the benefits we derive from the new technologies. OScAR / DAKS, most experienced in and developed for reliable human-machine communication, is ready for this responsible task.