By Catherine Estrampes, GE Healthcare, and Dr. Pedro Rico, Vithas Group
In the healthcare sector, we take great pride in what we do. We have the incredible responsibility of caring for patients and saving lives. This gives us a sense of mission that often translates into a feeling of professional satisfaction and a natural desire for even greater impact.
But today, the challenges that have long faced our industry have never been more critical, as we find ourselves facing one of the biggest crises of our lifetime: a global pandemic.
The increasing difficulty of delivering sustainable, high-quality care to patients poses an existential risk to hospitals and caregivers.
This challenge is often talked about as one of “efficiency.” And we have yet to solve it as an industry. Although many have been focused for a while on improving and increasing efficiency, perhaps it is the way we have been trying to do so that can explain why it remains a work in progress.
As members of a major global medical technology company and a reference healthcare group in Spain, we have lived these challenges firsthand, and we believe that now more than ever is the time to encourage novel thinking and a willingness to try new approaches to rethinking the concept of efficiency.
This is exactly what is behind a collaboration that we have just announced to holistically optimize the medical equipment installed in Vithas Group’s hospital network. In summary, we are implementing a comprehensive asset-management platform that will oversee risks and prevent damage and breakdowns in any of our MRI, CT, mammograph, or X-ray systems, avoiding downtime and the need to reschedule patients, and ultimately providing better care.
Moreover, this platform incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for proactive and predictive monitoring, as well as an augmented reality (AR) application to diagnose and remotely repair the systems.
The entire collaboration focuses on enhancing efficiency with a new perspective: addressing issues through a comprehensive approach that involves all relevant stakeholders to solve a diverse set of problems all at once. We have transformed what we call efficiency to what we may now know as intelligent efficiency, a three-key-principle concept focused on:
- Integrating technology, data, and human capabilities
- Being patient-centric and provider-centric
- Taking a comprehensive and holistic approach to find systematic solutions
This method is more integral, with the objective of boosting and uplifting all those who touch the healthcare ecosystem—from patient to practitioner—and by improving the management of our equipment installed all over a hospital’s complex network.
While we expect a healthy skepticism toward such a new approach at first, healthcare professionals and even patients are now more open to applying this new perspective, including this much-needed paradigm shift in how we view and define efficiency.
Using intelligent efficiency helps to actively solve the central healthcare issues that long sat unsolved, letting caregivers spend more time treating their patients and less time struggling with ad hoc systems. It can mean patients spend less time waiting for tests, results, and treatments. Overall, it means empowering physicians and other frontline providers to deliver higher-quality care, with better, more integrated data and tools. And, ultimately, it means better patient experience and health outcomes.
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Catherine Estrampes is president and CEO of GE Healthcare Europe/Russia, Middle East & Africa (EMEA). Dr. Pedro Rico is CEO of Vithas Group.