04 December 2021 | Interviews
Despite advances in technology, healthcare remains burdened by heavy paperwork and manual processes. Medical personnel are overloaded with repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as capturing and registering patients’ vital signs. This leads to inefficiencies, loss of productivity, exposure to infections, and increased risk of incidents. To overcome this challenge, Honeywell has launched a Real-Time Health Monitoring System (RTHMS), a smart edge-to-cloud communication platform for remote and real-time monitoring of patients that acts as a bridge between caregiver and patient. In conversation with BioSpectrum, K. Nandakumar, General Manager – India, Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions, Bengaluru, reveals more about this product and about the company’s future plans.
What is the real-time health monitoring system and what are the unique features?
The offering integrates hardware and software to improve care delivery, enhance healthcare worker productivity, and enable process efficiency. It uses advanced sensing technology to capture the vital parameters of patients in real-time and transmits them to a comprehensive health analytics dashboard. This can be accessed by authorized personnel over the Internet or through Honeywell’s care communication platform, a mobile application for caregivers. This system also generates alerts in real-time should there be any deviation in patients’ vital signs against acceptable or normal ranges.
Empowered by pioneering technology, the system addresses the need for multiple medical equipment while reducing response time by 20-25%. Moreover, the 24*7, dashboard-based monitoring system has a nurse call option and real-time alerts when clinical thresholds are transgressed. It automates tedious, routine work for medical personnel, freeing up their time for more critical tasks. The offering caters to the requirement of hospitals, ambulatory care centers, elderly home care, specialized day surgery, and clinics. Currently, we have extended our services to hospitals.
How much has been invested in developing this system and how do you foresee its growth in the coming years?
Honeywell is dedicated to building an efficient, safe, and connected healthcare delivery system. We are investing in R&D, Marketing and Sales resources, and creating a skilled talent pool for developing cutting-edge technologies.
The healthcare market in India is expected to reach $ 372 billion by 2022 as income rises and there is more health awareness. The government’s push towards digitization and beneficial healthcare schemes, i.e., Ayushman Bharat Yojana, have given an impetus to the sector. Therefore, strong demand, policy support, and skilled manpower will drive growth and facilitate a level playing field.
The health tech market is expected to contribute significantly towards this growth, driven by increased adoption to technology by hospitals, doctors and caregivers.
How do you plan to implement this system within the healthcare services in India and what are the challenges?
While there have been advances in technology, healthcare in India remains burdened with inefficiencies due to heavy paperwork and manual processes. Medical practitioners are piled up with redundant and onerous tasks such as registering patients’ vitals, maintaining records, setting up medical equipment, etc. On average, a nurse travels 9.1 km during a single shift. This leads to productivity loss, inefficiencies, and exposure to infections, which in turn lead to higher risk of adverse incidents.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of improving healthcare delivery processes and the need to reassess healthcare infrastructure and preparedness. India has a huge untapped potential to use disruptive healthcare technologies, to improve patient outcomes and serve remote healthcare. The merger of technology with healthcare can unlock new horizons and transform medical care system substantially. A patient-centric approach can be augmented through technology-led productivity and mobility solutions. Honeywell has been working towards creating a new category of healthcare solutions that streamlines error-prone tasks and improves organizational agility, communication, and data collection. Our solutions are tailored to ensure hospitals and caregivers can deliver superior customer experience and care.
To facilitate a smooth transition to a digitized healthcare system, there is a need to upskill medical professionals to enable them to use these technologies effectively.
How would you ensure the issue of data security & privacy?
Our constant endeavour is to maintain the fiduciary relationship between the patient and the medical practitioner. All the sensitive patient data and information is encrypted and stored in cloud. Archived data can be accessed only by Hospital Information Management Systems. A patient’s vital details can be deleted or archived depending on the need of the concerned authorities. The confidentiality maintained by the robust cloud ecosystem ensures patient privacy, strengthening mutual trust and fostering good faith amongst stakeholders.
Are you planning to launch more healthcare-based products in 2022? What are the major plans for the new year?
We are a technology company and constantly looking at meeting evolving challenges, including in the healthcare space. In India, specifically, we launched products like our upper air UV-C disinfection solution for hospitals and clinics, real-time health monitoring system, and BluTag 360, an IoT-enabled digital tracking and shipment condition monitoring solution that captures critical information such as temperature and pressure to ensure product integrity of sensitive goods, including pharmaceutical products.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed loopholes in India’s conventional healthcare system. Our efforts are directed towards plugging those gaps and strengthening the healthcare ecosystem of the nation. From artificial intelligence (AI) to the Internet-of-Medical-Things (IoMT) and cloud computing to predictive analytics, technology is paving its way to offer quick care management and, most importantly, reduce casualties with real-time access to patient history and remote patient monitoring. The medical grade technologies developed by Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions lay a strong ground to increase efficiency while streamlining critical workflows in hospitals. We have also developed a range of personal protective equipment, i.e., protective clothing, respirators, face shields, safety shoes and safety glasses to safeguard frontline healthcare workers.
Our aim is to shape hospitals of the future which are smart, efficient, and connected. To attain that vision and possibly venture beyond, Honeywell is developing innovative products which are at the pilot testing stage. Our solutions are designed with the intent to reduce waiting time, make patient flow efficient, and make hospitals safer.
Dr Manbeena Chawla