Of course, the true savings provided by a Solowatch system can never be effectively calculated. It would be both difficult and out of place for us to place a currency value on benefits such as lives saved, problems avoided, added convenience, and improved care. While these benefits alone may be sufficient to justify investing in our system, they do not address issues of cost and productivity.

A recent article in the New York Times technology section discussed some existing systems which are able to monitor groups of patients at a cost of $20,000 to $30,000 per bed. It stated that "Despite the cost, hospitals' needs for increased productivity have driven the market for these devices. Because more patients are being treated outside hospitals, those admitted tend to be sicker, requiring more intense procedures and thus more monitoring. Facing a chronic nursing shortage and being pressed to cut costs while maintaining quality care, hospitals look to computerized monitors to do more with fewer workers."

With the current state of the health-care industry, this comes as no surprise. Doctors and nurses typically spend as much time completing forms as working with patients, and home health-care workers can spend up to 70% of their time traveling and completing forms. Out of the nearly $800 billion spent each year on

health-care, $175 billion goes towards paperwork, and insurance industry pressures continually increase this burden. Added to all this is the escalating price of liability protection. A system which could reduce records, liability, and labor costs by only a few percent would save billions of dollars each year.

These costs place a burden on an already strained system, raising the price of medical treatment while lowering its quality. Because of the current shortage of trained personnel, many basic care tasks are never completed. When emergencies occur, the time it takes for overloaded staff to discover, diagnose, and treat the problems can far exceed what is safe. By easing the strain of patient monitoring and records maintenance, Solowatch frees up staff time, allowing nurses and aids to work as caretakers, not administrative assistants.

Solowatch provides real savings by reducing labor, paperwork, travel time, and liability exposure. In fact, a 10% savings in nursing labor alone would pay for our system, not even considering the other factors. The next few pages outline a sample savings estimate.


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By J. Michael Crawford.
Copyright (c) 2002 Solo Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: March 20, 2002.