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The humble hospital bed joins the ranks of smart medical devices

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | March 11, 2019
Patient Monitors
From the March 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

"A great example: a facility I worked with last year was doing the workflow programming for their EMR. Staff pointed out the need to document Q2 hour turns required for several quality initiatives," recalled Aitken. "The nurses worked with the IT staff to develop a workflow and reminder utilizing the turn sensor data from the LINET beds to document not only if the turn was done, but the direction and degree of the turn.”

He added that the next step is to bring artificial intelligence into the equation so the bed can make suggestions to improve patient care, nurse safety and efficiency in real time. This capability will enable a bed to make customized recommendations for the care of each individual patient.

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While most of the manufacturers reported steady recent sales, NOA Medical Industries has seen an upward trend in the past three years, according to Steven Sauerwein, vice president of sales and marketing. He said that according to one industry analysis, the bed market is expected to grow at a 5.5 percent compounded growth rate through 2024.

Steven Sauerwein
“Life cycle of beds tends to vary from facility to facility, many times due to economic or budgetary requirements,” said Sauerwein. “Many hospitals are looking to upgrade to newer technologies, but look for best price, best features, best functions – a total package. Many companies offer ... many bells and whistles in hopes of offering a competitive edge but … do not meet the needs of critical access or rural hospital bed markets from a price perspective.”

The built-in nurse call, bed exit alarm, and scales tend to be an excellent way to manage costs by incorporating what used to be multiple products or technologies into one product, offering ease of use and convenience. The challenge, said Sauerwein, is for these technologies to be presented as value-added features to the facilities in a cost-effective manner. NOA, he said, achieves this through their built-in, patent-pending scale, saving the facility money by not requiring any calibration. Also, their exit alarm ties to the nurse call system, assisting in patient monitoring. Moreover, a new feature coming out in 2019 will include the integrated touch screen, monitoring, and reporting functions, as well as push-button electronic central and directional locking for the bed.

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