Patient neglect is a serious cause of concern worldwide. In the US, medical errors are the third leading cause of death with more than 250,000 deaths per year. Determined to figure out what’s going on in the patient rooms of hospitals and change current care routines, a group of practicing clinicians and nurses based in New York has developed a streamlined, artificial intelligence-powered IoT device to fight patient neglect while aiding staff to improve the quality of care. That’s Inspiren in a nutshell. The start-up established in 2016 already marketed their first product, iN, which is currently being implemented and deployed by two major hospitals in New York.
The Medical Futurist asked Michael Wang, Founder, and CEO of Inspiren about how hospital staff and patients receive their innovation and how they see the future.
What’s the story behind Inspiren?
Wang: “I am a student pursuing a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at Columbia University School of Nursing. While matriculating at Columbia, I worked as a night clinical nurse in Cardiothoracic Surgery. My bedside experiences working with patients and the care teams granted me insight into the critical issues in patient care. After witnessing first-hand preventable injuries and deaths, I was determined to create a solution that can help medical staff keep patients safer while delivering higher quality care. Together with my fellow clinician Dr. Paul Coyne and other healthcare leaders from data analytics to patient experience, we created iN.”
What kind of patient information does iN collect and what insights does it generate?
Wang: “Using computer vision, deep learning, and natural body-movement recognition, iN detects staff presence and assesses environmental safety risks while simultaneously collecting and aggregating data from other medical devices such as EKG/vitals monitors and from environmental sensors detecting temperature, noise, brightness, etc.
The byproduct is an intelligent system that gains insight into the care environment and mitigates the risk of human error. Our data analytics engine then uses A.I. to create predictive algorithms to prevent injuries and medical errors, to assess patient workload to enhance staffing, while the entire system integrates with the Electronic Health Records (EHRs).”
How does hospital staff usually react to your innovation?
Wang: “To be frank, before learning about the actual functionalities of the technology, some nurses automatically assumed it was “big brother.” Can we blame them? But once we began educating them and showing them how useful and engaging this tool can be, they really began to love it. Matter of fact, many nurses want to use our data as a quantitative proof of their clinical and patient care excellence.”
How do patients receive Inspiren?
Wang: “When they and their family members ask about what iN is; the staff tells them it’s a new technology that helps to keep them safer and allow staff to be more efficient. They really love the design. Don’t forget, most of these hospital rooms were built in the 70s. Not much has changed as far as how these rooms look. So putting iN inside the rooms makes it look super futuristic and cool. The wildest incident was one of the patients wanted iN for their house as a decorative lighting piece. I guess that was a compliment.”
Could you share some insights into your future plans?
Wang: “Our short-term goal is to make iN the clinical standard in terms of technology that can improve patient safety and quality of care. Another goal is to leverage on iN’s ability to enhance efficiencies for patient care. For example, they can track how long it takes for staff to disinfect a patient’s room or they even use our sensors to proactively adjust the temperature of the rooms in order to reduce linen utilization, which costs millions each year.
Our further vision is to bring iN to nursing homes and long-term care. In these facilities, patient neglect and adverse events are rampant. As these facilities become more prominent and competitive, iN can serve as a great tool for institutions to eliminate avoidable injuries and harm to patients. We are also working on an in-home version of the technology for an automated patient monitoring solution for elderly patients.”