The way to the digital fever curve: The only thing that makes sense is the complete integration of all systems

The fever curve of every patient in the hospital is the central work tool for doctors and nurses. Among other things, it provides information about blood pressure, pulse and medication and thus about the patient’s condition. In most health care facilities, the temperature curve is still handwritten. It is therefore often prone to errors and can only be used to a limited extent.

Especially in intensive care units, recording a temperature curve is very complex due to several special requirements. In addition to the usual vital signs, it usually contains further information on the patient’s heart and respiratory function, the medication administered and infusions via perfusors and other values from connected devices such as EEG, ECG or dialysis machines. Data from the intensive care monitoring devices automatically flow into the digital curve, giving staff a quick overview of the patient’s condition. Patient Data Management Systems (PDMS) have been in use here for years in many intensive care units and ensure digital documentation of patient data.

More and more HIS providers are expanding their existing HIS with PDMS modules and also with a digital temperature curve on the normal ward. However, in the majority of cases, the use of these digital data can only be used and viewed at fixed clinical workstations.

In the future, hospitals will need an overall concept to manage information of different formats and origins – image data, laboratory values or doctors’ letters – and make it available across institutions and sectors. Mobile systems such as digital rounds trolleys, which offer intelligent access to all clinical systems via secure WLAN and also allow data to be entered directly at the patient’s bedside, will help to remedy this situation. But even here the wheat is often separated from the chaff. It makes little sense to cooperate with manufacturers of rounds trolleys who only offer “partial solutions” in this segment and do not take into account full digital integration of the people working on site. Single Sign On (SSO) solutions, automatic data transfer from spot-check monitors and ECG devices as well as intelligent medication boxes for dispensing medication at the bedside should be a “must have” in the specifications. Unfortunately, hospitals are still trying to economize on these digital innovations and prefer to make do with hybrid solutions, where the classic patient file is still part of the hanging file in the rounds trolley. Of course, it is important that a good digital infrastructure is available on site in the healthcare facilities. Without a secure WLAN infrastructure, a data security concept and a HIS system that can process the data and includes a fever chart, all attempts to work effectively with a digital rounds trolley are waste. That is why I personally think it is important to look for partners in this segment who offer a modular design of their mobile digital round trolleys and can be upgraded step by step, depending on the progress of the digital infrastructure. It is of no use here to use the cheaper alternative if the long-term goal of a fully digital round is lost sight of. It is to be hoped that manufacturers of HIS and PDMS systems will network with the manufacturers of mobile digital rounds trolleys in such a way that they can offer flexible, time- and cost-saving overall solutions for nursing and medical departments.

©, author: Frank Bergs

Image: ALPHATRON Medical BV