Despite the economic downturn, the medical device market is booming to the tune of over $105 billion. Most of the increase can be attributed to the exponential growth of medical device components utilized by health care organizations. Medical devices such as smart pumps, smart beds, tablets, mobile labs, and smartphones are being integrated at alarming rates within nearly all health care settings.

It is not uncommon for the neediest patients to have 15 devices collecting data. The sheer number of devices can be a strain on health care providers such as physicians and RNs that must record data manually. The sheer torrent of data is becoming overwhelming to health care staff who must record is at ever-increasing rates. The problem with so many data sets being in silos leads to mistakes with potentially deadly consequences.

Many staff members, particularly registered nurses, believe the focal point of care has shifted from focus on the patient to the collection of data. The redundancy of manually collecting data from one device and then entering into the hospital information system is inefficient and puts the health care professional and entire organization at risk of making mistakes.

Medical device integration with hospital information systems, especially with EHRs can virtually eliminate the redundancy and inefficiency of entering the same data multiple times. Integration solutions cannot come soon enough for overwhelmed nurses. Medical device integration increases patient care, safety, and workflow. All of that adds up to healthier patients, staff, and a better bottom line for the organization.

The Impact of Medical Device Integration on Health Care Leadership

How leaders respond to the challenges of medical device integration will greatly impact their respective organizations. A study by HIMSS Analytics was recently published, showing how health care leaders view medical device integration within the framework of their role as leaders. The study was designed to take the pulse of health care administrators’ mindsets toward rapidly evolving technology. Those polled in the study were chief medical officers and chief nursing officers. Some of the study’s findings include:

• Most Chief Medical Information Officers view their primary responsibility as bridging the gap between the needs of the organization and information technology. Chief nursing officers indicated that their job scope has evolved to be far more inclusive of non-nursing personnel.

• Both groups cited the importance of medical device integration as a key driver in moving toward an EMR environment.

• Most of the chief medical officers indicated that an entirely electronic environment is impossible to achieve without attaining a high level of medical device integration. They noted that EMR implementation should be congruent with medical device integration. Not doing so would cause burdens to staff and is shortsighted.

• The CMIOs and CNOs all cited that the data explosion has highlighted the need to properly synthesize data. They indicated that it’s not just about data collection – it’s about data organization and reducing redundancy.

The results of the study showed most CMIOs and CNOs have a clear picture of the benefits and challenges of medical device integration and EMR. This bodes well for the future of health care organizations and the patients that rely on them for care.