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The humble hospital bed joins the ranks of smart medical devices

por John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | March 11, 2019
Patient Monitors
From the March 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Andrew Aitken
Andrew Aitken, director of product management and marketing at LINET Americas also speaks of a similar high-level view of the hospital bed. As hospitals seek to improve outcomes, avoid "never-events" such as fatal falls, and reduce caregiver injuries, he said that the bed frame begins to take center stage.

“The bed is the single piece of equipment that every patient is in intimate contact with every day of their stay and directly impacts the care being provided,” he told HCB News. “With all of this in mind manufacturers are including technology to address issues such as comfort, ease of use and delivery of care.”

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Such features include lighted bed controls and standard USB chargers demanded by patients. The bed also occupies a unique position in the delivery of care, such as turn assist – a feature that traditionally resided in the mattress. However, Aitken said, LINET has incorporated this into the frame, which increases efficiency and use by the staff. This simple feature helps to not only reduce the pain experienced by patients in daily care activities such as linen changes, skin inspection, and patient hygiene, but it also reduces caregiver strain and injury by utilizing gravity to help reposition or turn a patient.

Linet Bed Multicare OptiCare
Reducing clinician injury is no small matter. According to the Department of Labor, every year nursing employees incur more than 35,000 primarily back injuries severe enough that they lose time from work. That’s three times the injury rate of construction laborers.

“Hospitals and all healthcare have begun to ask more of both the equipment… Slowly, manufacturers are responding to the need to care not only for patients but also for the caregivers," said Aitken.

Beds will become even more of an active player on the interconnected hospital front as nursing and IT become even more integrated, driving data to the EMR. Only a few health systems have achieved this standard, according to Aitken, but it holds great promise. Improved Interaction between the nursing/medical staff and the IT staff has begun to give rise to analyzing the data collected or utilizing the sensor data in novel ways.

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