First of all, we want to make an important announcement:
The next Roundtable will be different from the previous ones. Because instead of a "normal" Roundtable, we are planning to hold a Pre-Hackathon. At the event on July 6, titled "Charité Pre-Hackathon: Challenges of Patient Monitoring and Alarm Management", problems from daily clinical routine will be extracted, thus laying the foundation for a big hackathon at Charité. More information about the event and the possibility to register can be found here. We are looking forward to a vivid participation!
At our fourth roundtable on May 12, 2022, we addressed the question of whether wearables are just a lifestyle gadget or if they have potential now or in the future as a monitoring device in a clinical/outpatient context. Due to current hygiene regulations, this was even possible for a small group in presence at the Institute of Medical Informatics.
The discussion highlighted various aspects - from the participants' own experiences with smartwatches during sports, to the difficulties in developing sufficiently sensitive devices, to potential areas of use in hospital and outpatient care. Individual participants were able to report that wearables, such as an Apple Watch, have become a constant companion in their everyday lives and during sports. The main focus here is on recording fitness activities (counting steps, recording runs, etc.).
Particularly with regard to potential areas of application for wearables, a consensus emerged regarding the fact that the devices are likely to find their way into care in both the outpatient and inpatient sectors - especially for the early or rapid detection of events requiring intervention, such as a heart attack or falls. However, with regard to the challenges to be overcome, various aspects were discussed, such as ensuring a sufficiently high level of adherence while wearing the devices (especially in the case of patients with dementia), the difficulties of insufficient battery life, and the question of whether the devices should only collect data or also be able to evaluate them.
Furthermore, the aspect of data sovereignty was at the center of the discussion: Should patients be able to access their own data? How can an adequate and contextualized interpretation of the results be ensured? On the one hand, this could sensitize patients to their health and healthy behavior, but on the other hand it could also lull them into a false sense of security through good values. For this reason, some participants suggested that the data should be evaluated together with family doctors, for example, as they would be able to classify the findings immediately and patients would not be left alone with the data.
A final aspect was the question of whether wearables will be declared more as a consumer product or rather as a medical device in the future. After all, the question of whether a smartwatch is more than a normal wristwatch does not arise when it informs emergency physicians of a suspected heart attack and communicates the wearer's position. However, with regard to the capabilities of the devices and the extent to which they can then be used in practice, the debated question is of great importance. But even despite these sometimes difficult-to-answer and highly sensitive questions, the roundtable participants agreed that wearables are becoming increasingly relevant and will play an important role in improving patient care.
As mentioned above, the upcoming event is a bit different than the previous roundtables. In four roundtables now, we were able to witness your expertise and passion for the topic of patient monitoring - and that's exactly why we want to encourage you to participate in the planned pre-hackathon as well (registration link). At the Pre-Hackathon as part of the Patient Monitoring Roundtable series, we want to identify and extract real problems of everyday clinical life in the field of patient monitoring as well as related topics for a future Charité Hackathon. We would therefore be very happy to welcome you at the Pre-Hackathon!
The Patient Monitoring Roundtable is organized by Hacking Health Berlin and INCH e.V. (Initiative for Collaboration and Innovation in Healthcare e.V.) in cooperation with the Institute for Medical Informatics at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
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