An Electronic Intensive Care Unit (eICU) represents a type of a healthcare setting that uses the latest technologies with the purpose of providing top quality care to patients. Key goals of eICUs are making sure that care is being provided in multiple facilities, that the clinical expertise is optimized to the fullest extent, and that care is provided on a 24-hour regimen. A standard eICU consists of monitors, cameras, alarms, microphones, and other tools that offer caregivers real-time data on patients’ conditions (Rouse, 2012). Professionals who work at eICUs are called intensivists; they may also communicate with other providers to facilitate effective care. Benefits of eICUs include the following factors:
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- Reduction of clinical complications among patients;
- Improvement of overall patient outcomes with the goal of reducing the length of hospitalization;
- Extension of professional expertise to as many patients as possible;
- Collection of valuable information for analysis with the goal of improving the existing care practices (Advocate Health Care, 2017).
Overall, Electronic Intensive Care Units present many opportunities for healthcare providers to extend their scope of care possibilities while making sure that patient data is under strict monitor 24 hours a day.
Bar Code Medication Administration
Since the inadequate administration of medication can lead to adverse health outcomes and put patients in danger, innovative tools targeted at the prevention of this issue have been developed. Bar code medication administration (BCMA) uses systems that aim to reduce medication errors through the verification of the “5 rights of medication administration – right patient, right dose, right drug, right time, right route – at the patient’s bedside” (Shah, Lo, Babich, Tsao, & Bansback, 2016, p. 395).
Therefore, the key benefit of BCMA implementation refers to the system’s effectiveness in reducing errors associated with the administration of medicine. The adequate administration of medicine also leads to financial benefits; it has been shown that BCMA tools a more cost-effective and require less financial coverage to pay for the aversion of a harmful error in the prescription of medication. Lastly, BCMA can contribute to significant changes in the workflow for nurses, leading to the decreased burden for healthcare professionals who can serve more patients simultaneously because an automated system plays a large role in the reduction of their workload.
Robotics in Medicine
It has been suggested that the sphere of healthcare was going to work with medical robots in the nearest future (“Robotics in healthcare – get ready!,” 2017). Despite the fears of robots becoming substitutes to the human workforce, the array of benefits of such technologies tempts healthcare professionals. Robotics in medicine can work in a variety of ways, such as offering surgical precision, generating more time for nurses to communicate with patients, assist in taking care for patients, developing telemedical networks, contributing to such innovative technologies as exoskeletons, and much more (to help paralyzed people walk) (“Robotics in healthcare – get ready!,” 2017).
To better understand how robotics in healthcare work, it is worth mentioning such successful solutions as the origami robot. Developed and tested by MIT researchers along with the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the University of Sheffield, the origami robot is a small device placed in a dissolvable capsule that patients swallow (Burns, 2016). Once swallowed, the robot unfolds itself in the patient’s body and with the control by a healthcare professional using magnetic fields can patch up a wound or remove a foreign object (Burns, 2016). Thus, robotics in medicine has had dramatic success in the last decade, and the opportunities for further development only expand.
Advocate Health Care. (2017). Benefits of eICU. Web.
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Burns, J. (2016). This tiny origami robot captures intestinal intruders, patches holes in stomach. Web.
Robotics in healthcare – get ready! (2017). Web.
Rouse, M. (2012). Electronic intensive care unit (eICU). Web.
Shah, K., Lo, C., Babich, M., Tsao, N., & Bansback, N. (2016). Bar code medication administration technology: A systematic review of impact on patient safety when used with computerized prescriber order entry and dispensing devices. The Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy, 69(5), 394-402.