Contact-free continuous monitoring is quickly becoming the standard in post-acute care, and it’s not difficult to see why. As the authors of a new white paper from Frost & Sullivan point out, the technology offers facilities a real opportunity to not only improve outcomes and patient satisfaction, but also to realize double-digit increases in revenue and profit.
But just what is contact-free continuous monitoring (CFCM), and why does it represent such a dramatic improvement from traditional patient monitoring technologies?
What Is CFCM (Contact-Free Continuous Monitoring)?
A technology pioneered by EarlySense, contact-free continuous monitoring (CFCM) is a method of gathering and analyzing vital signs and other essential data more comprehensively and more unobtrusively than ever. Using a sensor placed under the mattress, the device transmits patient data directly to clinical workstations and mobile devices (thus also reducing the use of intrusive alarms).
“The technology has proven effective at reducing the rate of falls and identifying patients who are deteriorating all while avoiding audible alarms in the patient room and disrupting a patient’s sleep and privacy,” as the white paper authors note.
The white paper authors also cite published clinical studies that demonstrated other benefits of contact-free continuous monitoring, including:
- Reducing the number of bedside falls by more than 40%
- Reducing hospital LOS by approximately 9%
- Potential for early detection of cardiac conditions
- Early detection of patient deterioration
- Preventing pressure ulcers
- Early detection of the onset of sepsis
How CFCM Offers a Superior Level of Continuous Monitoring
Why is the “contact-free” part of CFCM so important? Traditional bed-exit and body-worn alarms haven’t demonstrated results comparable to contact-free continuous monitoring. In addition, the authors note that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services believes those older systems “may unduly restrain patients, and their audible alarms keep patients awake or in a perpetual state of agitation.”
CFCM has a few other advantages over traditional patient monitoring systems:
- No audible alarms are used near the patient.
- Activity levels are analyzed in context over time, and in relation to other physiological measurements, providing “better insight into whether activity levels are normal or require a response.”
- Because patients are unencumbered, they’re able to proceed with daily activities more comfortably.
- The technology has the power to gather more data than ever before.
“While general rounding measurements provide a dozen readings in four hours, our sensors capture two data points per second, that amounts to more than 20,000 data points in four hours,” as EarlySense President Tim O'Malley explained to Healthcare Tech Outlook.
That level of patient data — along with the logistical and administrative tools to effectively monitor and assess it without contributing to alarm fatigue — is a big part of why making contact-free continuous monitoring is becoming the new standard in post-acute care (especially for those facilities looking to maximize their competitive advantage by treating higher acuity patients).
Easy Integration & the Potential for Higher Reimbursements
All of these factors contribute not just to patient satisfaction, but also operational improvements and the potential to maximize revenue during a time of intense competition. “Facilities that adopt CFCM see reduced rehospitalization rates,” the authors point out. “They also are able to extend their capabilities to serve more medically complex patients that bring with them higher reimbursement.”
Contact-free continuous monitoring “will be a valuable asset as post-acute providers raise their quality standards to secure higher reimbursement under the Skilled Nursing Facility Value Based Purchasing (SNFVBP) program,” they add. “The technology will also allow facilities to adapt to stricter CMS clinical standards related to the use of traditional bed exit and body worn alarms.”
And finally, not only is CFCM “easily integrated into the departmental workflow,” it also “improves the quality of care and staff efficiencies in post-acute facilities and helps them competitively position as a market leader,” the authors conclude.
“All of these benefits have been delivered with a technology that can work within existing infrastructure and under an affordable payment model.”
For more details on how contact-free continuous monitoring (CFCM) can give your facility a key advantage in a competitive market, we invite you to download your complimentary copy of our white paper here.