New technology, new medication and new treatments can help patients but can also be confusing to the staff and lead to medical malpractice. Every new year brings new challenges for hospitals and doctors. The ECRI institute just published its top 10 hospital watch list for 2018:
Last year the FDA approved reSET®, a prescription app for patients with substance-use disorders. Relying on cognitive-behavioral therapy, the app interacts with the patient to find out if the patient was using, to rate the patient’s craving and to rate his or her feeling. After a few weeks the app is able to turn the data into messages for the patient such as “your urge to do drugs might increase when you feel lonely”. Patients better understand what triggers their urge and doctors can use results for face to face meetings. This app was approved after the FDA found out in a 12 week trial that patients using the app stayed away from their addiction problem for much longer than those who din’t use the app. However the app didn’t show positive results for opiate addicts and therefore the FDA didn’t approve it for patients who used opiates. The manufacturer is working on a separate app for opiate use and is running trials.
Direct to consumer genetic testing
Genetic tests offered directly to consumers are not only used to find out about ancestry anymore. Epigenetic tests that are provided directly to consumers for a little more than $200 can now estimates a person’s biological age versus chronological. Epigenetic tests can also provide information about risks of cancer, Alzheimers and addiction. Other tests on the market provide consumers with diet and exercises fitting their genetic background or provide ingredients and treatments for healthy skin based on their genes. Doctors and hospitals not only must be knowledgeable about these new tests and must be able to answer patients’questions about them.
Acuity adaptable rooms
Some hospitals are testing a new concept where patients stay in the same room from the first day to the last day. Instead of moving the patients around i.e. from intensive care units to a step-down unit, each room is staffed and equipped to handle the patient from the begining to the end of his or her stay. While doing so hospitals avoid patients hand-offs. During hand-offs not only patients’anxiety may increase but it is also when the risk of medical malpractice such as medication errors or patient falls is the highest.
Insertable Cardiac Monitor
People suffering from heart arrhythmia or other heart disease can now be monitored 24/7 via an implantable loop recorder cardiac monitor. The implant transmits the heart data to the patient’s phone via Bluetooth and from the patient phone to a patient care center for doctor’s access.
Virtual Reality for Pediatrics
Some pediatric hospitals are testing Virtual Reality Headsets for children that allow them to play games using only head movements. These games allow the children to be sufficiently distracted so that doctors or nurses can easily proceed to treatments such as multiple intravenous infusion for children with hemophilia or other difficult treatments for children with cancer or severe burns. Recent tests have shown that VR help reduce pain and anxiety in children. It also reduces anxiety for parents.
A non invasive device to treat Alzheimer’s Disease
NeuroAD Therapy System, a new device invented in Israel uses noninvasive transcranial magnetic stimulation and computer-based cognitive training to improve cognitive abilities in patients suffering from AD. The system doesn’t cure AD and patients have to continue to be medicated. However tests show the therapy might improve scores on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale by about three to four points by six-month follow-up.
A more efficient and less painful way to draw blood
A new type of device may replace the actual unpleasant blood drawing in the future. This device composed of 30 micro-needles and a small vacuum is taped to the patient’s skin. In 2 to 3 minutes it collects 100 micro-liters of blood in an almost painless manner. This device can be especially useful in pediatric care. So far the blood collected with this device has to be tested within 6 hours therefore any doctor’s office that is located in a remote location and has to send the blood overnight to a laboratory couldn’t use the device. Additionally the device has only been cleared by the FDA for blood glucose level testing so far. The manufacturer is working on getting additional clearances and also on integrating an additional chip that time stamps the blood sample.
MRI system for newborns
When doctors suspect that a newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit may suffer from edema or hemorrhage, the infant has to get a MRI. The newborn has to be transported to the radiology department and placed into a large noisy scanner. Infants have a higher risk than adults to suffer from MRI hazards such as projectile accidents, radio frequency electromagnetic field effects, noise hazards, physiologic instability, and trauma resulting from transport, positioning, handling, and sedation. Some brand new MRI systems for infants are adapted to their size and fully enclosed so they don’t requires a safety zone and can be placed directly in the neonatal intensive care unit. Additionally these systems are not making as much noise as the adult ones protecting the delicate ears of the newborns and making the experience less traumatizing.
New technology to keep brain tumors at bay
After a surgeon excises a brain tumor he can implement brachytherapy seeds in the cavity left by the excised tumor, The brachytherapy seeds then deliver radiation dose to targeted tissues. Instead of waiting several weeks between the surgery and the follow-up beam radiation therapy, the brachytherapy is intended to destroy residual cancer cells faster, reducing the risk of harm from cancer cells reseeding the tumor surgical margins.
A micro-hospital positions itself between an urgent care center and a full-service hospital. It offers emergency care and inpatient beds but it will not provide intensive care services. This type of hospital addresses the distribution of care in fast growing suburban areas. This concept is still experimental as the construction and the maintenance of hospital structures despite being smaller than actual ones can still drain consequent capital resources.
The complete ECRI 2018 TOP 10 HOSPITAL C-SUITE WATCH LIST can be downloaded here