I have been a practicing Anesthesiologist/Intensivist for over a decade, and have had the privilege of training and working in some of our country’s premiere hospital systems. A pain point common to all of my practice settings is the discontinuous way in which information is shared, especially in critical situations.
For example, I am typically alerted that a critically ill victim of a gunshot wound or accident is on the way without a full description of what I am about to encounter, save a brief synopsis from an EMT – often conveyed second hand. The trauma team assembles in the ER, the OR gets ready, all without any true realtime information of what we are about to encounter. While this a great way of generating an added rush of adrenaline as the relatively unknown comes crashing through the ER doors, it is a suboptimal way of managing critical processes or deploying resources.
Instead, imagine a world where first responders are connected to the ER through a realtime conduit of information. The ER care team “sees” what the EMTs see. Verbal reports are supplemented by critical visual information. Issues with an airway, intravenous access, injuries and critical events are all transmitted as they are happening. The ER team witnesses events at the site, sees and hears what is transpiring, and follows vital signs and interventions en route. The ER team is able to instantly add participants into the care team and share information depending on clinical need. Each member of the care team is able to independently assess the evolving situation, and make their own assessment/plan in realtime. Providers, for the first time, are able to muster the necessary resources efficiently, personalized to the patient they are about to encounter, resulting in higher quality care. Non- essential participants and resources can be released from the care team, saving money.
As a “Techie” I am thrilled to see all of the innovations in healthcare that will allow us to deliver a higher quality product to our patients more efficiently. In particular, I am hopeful that innovations in wearables such as Google Glass, and their ability to connect providers and responders as never before, will usher in a new era of how we manage the critically ill and injured.
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