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Hospital Beds To Get More High-Tech?

Hospital beds certainly aren’t the most technical pieces of equipment but they could be getting an upgrade, with one manufacturer announcing plans to embed sensors in their new models.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the plans by Hill-Rom Holdings, with the company’s chief executive John Groetelaars explaining that the new beds will have sensors fitted in them that monitor patients’ heart and respiratory rates.

These new beds will take a reading 100 times a minute, and will alert nurses if there are any indications that a patient’s condition is worsening.

Mr Groetelaars also said that given that hospitals are increasingly embracing digital technology and becoming increasingly connected, it stands to reason that beds should play a part in this too.

However, the newspaper points out that many hospitals are strapped for cash and that this is likely to limit the uptake of any new high-tech models, at least in the short to mid-term. This kind of equipment is expected to come with a high price tag, which will put it out of reach of the majority of establishments.

In the UK, the NHS is constantly struggling to provide enough beds to cater for patients. At the beginning of December, the British Medical Association (BMA) warned that the health service will need 10,000 more beds if it is to keep patients safe this winter.

The Independent reported on the announcement, noting that last winter, bed occupancy peaked at 95 per cent, despite BMA guidance stating that if occupancy goes above 85 per cent it could affect the quality of care that patients are given.

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