One of the biggest challenges for the makers of wearables and connected Health Tech devices is to clearly demonstrate the cost benefits. It stands to reason that if you can keep people healthier and diagnose diseases and conditions early, you are likely to save money in healthcare costs. But how much will you save? Companies are spending small fortunes on research that attempts to quantify these benefits, in hopes of building a larger fortune in return.
EarlySense is one such company. They offer a non-contact patient monitoring system that is connected to a system that records data and generates alerts for hospital staff. Earlier this year, we reported about their own internal study that estimated the savings generated by their system. Now a study has been published that provides more evidence of significant savings. “The return on investment of implementing a continuous monitoring system in general medical-surgical units” has been published in Critical Care Medicine, and reports on results from a 33-bed medical-surgical unit in a community hospital. The report compares results from the nine months before the system was implemented with the nine months after EarlySense was installed. The study was led by a researcher from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, with participation by the University of Durham in Durham, England, UCLA, and Harvard Medical School.
The results were dramatic. Using a conservative model, the researchers estimated that the system saved $224 per patient per year. A more inclusive model boosted that to $714 per patient per year. Over a five year period, they projected savings ranging from $3.8 million to $10.6 million. The estimated break-even point for installing the system was between six and nine months.
Any business would jump at the chance to install a new system that would pay for itself in less than a year, and generate millions of dollars in savings for years to come. This study is an example from just one ward in just one community hospital. Multiply the savings across the nearly 5,000 community hospitals in the U.S. and you’re talking about billions of dollars of savings every year.