Ushering In An Age Of Contactless Healthcare

Macadamian Technologies | September 17, 2021 | 3 Min Read

In a world where a lack of contact is being used as a tool to fend off a global pandemic, Rand Ragusa sees potential. The New Orleans-based health-tech entrepreneur believes healthcare is becoming more and more contactless. We speak with him to hear his insights on what could be a paradigm shift in the industry.

Macadamian: You took your son to a pediatrician and the experience ended up being a wakeup call. How so?

Ragusa: I recently experienced my 12-year-old son’s pediatrician intake process here in New Orleans. I noticed that the nurse held a two-handed oral thermometer in his mouth for 30 seconds. She walked over to the computer and typed the temperature data into the electronic health record (EHR). Next, my son stood on the weight scale, and the nurse tapped the weight bar several times to determine his approximate weight. Again, she walked over to the computer and typed the weight data in the EHR. Then, she pushed the height measurement bar (stadiometer) down on top of his head to measure his height. And again, she walked over to the computer to input his height data into the EHR.

It was a lightbulb moment. All of this hands-on activity demonstrated a highly inefficient process that’s been around for decades and ripe for disruption.

 

Macadamian: Tell me where you see the future of healthcare going.

Ragusa: Contactless patient-facing technology is how healthcare organizations will meet the challenges of patient and clinician safety in a post-pandemic world. Outdated manual processes will be replaced by more efficient MedTech solutions like biometrics and robotics.

 

Macadamian: How has the pandemic sped up our need to revamp the healthcare industry?

Ragusa: With COVID-19 propelling healthcare organizations towards a contactless future, patient data collection processes, which require numerous physical touchpoints, heighten the risk of staff exposure to COVID-19 and other contagious diseases.

Contactless healthcare services have made big strides in their developments during the pandemic.  Advances in AI and IoT, cloud-based ambient computing, big data, and mobile technologies have enabled wide-spread use of innovative medical devices like contactless temperature check kiosks.

 

Macadamian: We’re seeing a mirror craze in the fitness industry, but it’s something that can offer value in the healthcare industry as well. Tell me more about how smart mirrors can be used to help patients.

Ragusa: An emerging intelligent device with potentially wide-ranging applications for healthcare is the smart mirror. These 2-way mirrors have reflecting surfaces with electronic hardware and computer software to provide passive, contactless monitoring, reminders, information, and many other possibilities. While applications of smart mirrors have appeared in the automotive, clothing, and fitness industries, real-world examples of this technology in healthcare remains limited.

 

Macadamian: The healthcare industry put in many protocols to deal with the pandemic. Some of these protocols will end once this pandemic ends. But what are some things you feel will stay with us post-pandemic?

Ragusa: Considering COVID-19’s significant impact on consumers’ fear of being in close proximity to other people, as well as the advances in digital technologies, it’s reasonable to say the “contactless” age is here. Contactless healthcare services including telemedicine, AI-based healthcare, and safety management of patients and staff will continue post-pandemic.

 

Macadamian: You’ve also worked in the realm of electronic health record systems. What changes are you seeing happen there?

Ragusa: The biggest change is the advancements in interoperability—allowing medical devices and software solutions to securely share patient data with third parties including EHRs, hospitals and patient data exchanges.

QuickTake’s EHR integration partner Redox Engine establishes a connection with the customer site to allow for the flow of data inbound to the hospital interface, then sends an HL7 message containing the appropriate patient vital signs data to be stored in the hospital’s document storage solution. Redox’s API fills an important technical gap to ensure QuickTake has maximum scalability.

 

Macadamian: If you could change three things about the healthcare industry, what would they be?

Ragusa: I would dramatically reduce the administrative burden placed on healthcare workers; I’d use technology to improve access and reduce cost, and I’d shift the United States’ “sick care” approach to care to more preventive and comprehensive care.

 

Macadamian: I’d like to end our conversation by delving into the contactless age, which is something you feel is already here. What will the contactless age look like for the healthcare industry?

Ragusa: In the digital age, hospitals and care providers will actively pursue innovations for contactless services and operational processes to improve safety, productivity, and organizational agility.

And with EHR networking infrastructure readily available and quickly deployable, rolling out contactless solutions and bringing healthcare organizations into a new era of touch-free work will be easier than ever.

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