At APA Group we aim to bring technology closer to people. Including closer to patients and those responsible for medical and senior care. It turns out that artificial intelligence in medicine is no longer just a futuristic concept, but a reality that is happening before our eyes. Recently – at the American Heart of Poland clinic in Bielsko-Biała. How did the APA solutions perform there? And what else might the future of technology-coupled medicine look like?
The pandemic has hit many medical establishments. Among others, in the cardiology department of the American Heart of Poland clinic in Bielsko-Biała, which, like other hospitals, often had to use an isolation room for patients infected with coronavirus.
Unfortunately this spatial arrangement, although necessary, was inconvenient for both staff and patient. Communication was severely hampered and the only way to contact was face-to-face, with risks. And generating material consumption, because each time a worker went into a room, he had to change into personal protective equipment (e.g. overalls).
The same applied to special containers for taking swabs. Each such examination involved a personal examination with the doctor. The medics therefore had to enter the containers, and before doing so they had to dress in protective clothing.
We have addressed the problem described in the APA. In order to improve the operation of the Bielsko-Biała Clinic, we proposed using our proprietary ElodiaMonitor system. It is a technology developed specifically for healthcare. It allows the establishment of an audio/video connection between hospital staff and the patient. And in a very intuitive, uncomplicated way.
This solution itself is based on mobile terminals in the form of a smartphone with the APA app installed. They were placed on special holders at the patients’ bedsides (and at the chairs in the swabbing containers). There is also a staff station (at the nurse’s station and the doctor’s on-call station). Employees can use the web application in the Chrome or Edge browser.
Establishing the connection did not require any additional activity on the part of the patient, as the application worked in auto-answer mode. This means that the connection is automatically established after the first signal. In addition, patients were able to make contact requests to staff via the app. This translated into:
It was also a benefit that the installation and implementation phase did not complicate the work of the ward and was quick and seamless. No intervention in the facility’s IT infrastructure was necessary to set up the system, as the staff workstations were run on existing computers, which were only enhanced with peripherals for media transmission. No additional specialised software was required.
The situation was similar for patient terminals – the phones were equipped with SIM cards, so they did not use the hospital’s internet network. In addition, the smartphones operated in “kiosk” mode, which protected them from unauthorised access to settings.
You can read more about this case study here.
What other digital, mobile and artificial intelligence solutions are working in medicine and care, including senior care?
Very advanced technologies that for many still sound like a science-fiction scenario include AI in medical diagnostics. Algorithms are already able to view images from examinations (e.g. X-rays) and analyse the data extracted in the process.
PFor the time being, these analyses are still limited, but the idea is still being tested, and consequently developed and refined. What is still needed, of course, is an expert eye, which simply cannot be replaced. But certain elements can be successfully automated and placed in the “hands” of smart technology.
However, let’s come down to earth a bit or… on the contrary, let’s stay in the clouds. Because it is in the cloud that patient data is very often stored today, for which huge amounts of physical or server space would normally have to be allocated. With the right safeguards in place (bearing in mind that sensitive information is involved), this option is the most convenient and resource-saving.
Speaking of savings, we have to mention one more APA product that is proving itself in modern medicine (and beyond). We are talking about our BMS, or intelligent building management systems. In this way, for example, lighting in less frequented parts of the hospital can be controlled, reducing electricity consumption. It also increases the comfort of the people in the facility: patients and staff alike, as the optimum level of heating or air conditioning is provided.
Among the innovative methods, it is also worth mentioning the monitoring of the needs of vulnerable patients. And this is where the system by APA comes in again, namely ElodiaLink. It is used for audio-visual communication between carers and their guests who, for example, are at home and need someone to watch over them and respond in the event of emergencies.
The system consists of an easy-to-use mobile app used by the senior and a web application used by carers. In this way you can, for example, signal a fall (so that you can quickly get the necessary help). Or control the lighting on during night wakes.
As you can see, there are quite a few solutions. And there could be even more, which we are still working on at APA Group. As Robert Czarlewski, our Business Development Manager says: The pace of technological development in medicine is very fast. Technology is developing rapidly, both in terms of diagnosis and treatment of patients themselves, as well as solutions related to patient care in medical centres, i.e. all kinds of HIS, RIS or PACS systems. Technological developments have recently been further accelerated by the increasing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. On the one hand, this significantly increases the possibilities of diagnosing and treating patients and, on the other, raises the technological level of many medical solutions.