Intensive care units (ICU) treat patients that are in serious or critical condition. Therefore, rapid response and a proper environment for healing are crucial for improving the patient’s health. Advances in information technology have contributed to the development of smart ICU rooms aimed at optimizing the standards of care and patient’s privacy and safety. This paper is concerned with the benefits and risks of the intelligent ICU room technology as shown in The ICU at the 2014 Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion video.
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Patient’s Privacy and the eGlass System
Privacy is one of the most critical factors in the ICU setting. It is usually ensured by curtains or glass panels. However, curtains pose a risk of introducing bacteria into the patient’s environment as they get dirty often. Curtains also obstruct the nurses’ view and may contribute to the patient’s anxiety (Rogin, 2015). On the other hand, eGlass allows remote control of visibility. The system can be controlled by a wall switch or motion detector and can be easily disinfected (Rogin, 2015). Becoming opaque, it “provides privacy for the patient at the touch of a button” (Intelligent Hospital TV, 2014). The system is beneficial for both nurses and patients, but it has some drawbacks. For instance, a malfunction may deny the individual his or her privacy or limit nurses’ view of the patient.
Tracking Specimens and Medications
Another benefit of intelligent hospital technology is the improved tracking of specimens sent from the room to the laboratory and blood products or drugs received from other hospitals. A unique pneumatic tube system provides instant monitoring and notifications for the ICU staff (Intelligent Hospital TV, 2014). Therefore, the risk of the nurses misplacing or contaminating a specimen or medication is eliminated. However, the system may be compromised with regard to information security. The issue of displacement and miscommunication between staff may become a viable reason for using this equipment.
Monitoring the Patient
Linking all pieces of equipment present in the ICU room together may also benefit patients’ health. A new system that labels and tags the equipment and connects it to the bedside unit can help both patients and staff. Tracking devices transmit data gathered by individual pieces of equipment and send it to the unit. A monitor installed in the room shows all current knowledge about the patient. This information can be broadcasted remotely as well, along with a view from the patient’s room. Benefits include an increase in the speed of response and intervention in case of emergency. The risks posed by this centralized system, on the other hand, include numerous improper readings due to software malfunction or improper calibration.
The Sonogram Machine
A stethoscope is one of the traditional methods of patient examination. In the intelligent hospital’s ICU, the stethoscope is replaced by a bedside sonogram machine. The technology allows a real-time analysis of the patient’s body and its condition. Data about the patient’s blood pressure and heart rate “provides a crucial insight into the real-time care” and is beneficial to both the patient and the nursing staff as it allows rapid detection of complications (Intelligent Hospital TV, 2014). Provided the employees are sufficiently trained in using the new technology, it should not pose risks to the healing process.
Patient safety is one of the most significant challenges in the field of intensive care. In the modern intelligent ICU room, an infusion pump platform provides essential safety features. The pump blocks the incorrect dosage administration of medication set by a nurse (Intelligent Hospital TV, 2014). The system eliminates the risk of the individual’s condition worsening due to the staff’s negligence or mistake. Additionally, it is beneficial to the patient as it removes the possibility of malicious tampering with the prescribed dosage. However, the system can be compromised when an outsider gains unauthorized access to data.
The intelligent ICU technology is beneficial to the patient’s healthcare experience as it improves the aspects of individual privacy and safety. Moreover, the system reduces nurses’ workload and chances of making a mistake and ensures rapid response to changes in the patient’s condition. The risks associated with this type of modern technology include outside intervention, data tampering, and equipment failure due to the centralized system malfunction. In the end, the benefits of this system outweigh its drawbacks.
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Intelligent Hospital TV. (2014). The ICU at the 2014 Intelligent Hospital™ pavilion [Video file]. Web.
Rogin, S. (2015). The intelligent hospital and patient experience. Web.