start-ups launch bed management offensive

Outpatient care development, bed cuts, patient flow to be regulated: the hospital is increasingly using start-ups to manage care pathways despite reluctance among caregivers.

It was listening to his wife, an anesthesiologist-resuscitator in Alsace, tell him in the spring of 2020, in the midst of the Covid crisis, the incessant calls from other establishments to see if she had “available beds” that Roderick Ballan imagined her beginnings.

“I realized that communication between hospitals was non-existent”, says the biomedical engineer who wanted to “interconnect” healthcare facilities thanks to his platform called MedBed360.

Since then, four hospitals in Grande Est have already joined this solution accessible to health establishments, Samu, regional health bodies, allowing the filling in real-time of information about hospital vacancies.

Faced with new organizational contingencies, hospitals, whose information systems are often outdated, are turning to young companies that offer solutions to manage patient care pathways.

– “Release beds” –

In September, the Foch hospital, in the Paris region, chose the start-up My Hospitel to develop a hospital accommodation platform that lists available rooms in partner hotels, for patients on the eve of hospitalization or their families.

“The objective is to free up beds inside the hospital to accommodate other patients, especially those coming from emergencies”, says Philippe Guymarho, project director at Foch.

The company must accompany the establishment until the launch of its own hotel-hospital.

For its part, La Poste, the main bank that finances public hospitals, is developing its portfolio of administrative management start-ups in the health sector. It recently took over shares in Nouveal e-santé and Happytal, both of which specialize in digitizing the path of care.

Nouveal manages pre-admission administration of a patient and post-operative outpatient telemonitoring for around 350 healthcare facilities. It is at the origin of the Covidom app that allows you to follow patients affected by Covid at home.

Happytal, present in more than 400 structures, is a concierge service for patients that allows you to pre-admit or request a single room online.

“We want to help spread these new forms of relationship between patients and caregivers, hospitals need partners to provide them with tools,” says Delphine Mallet, director of the health and autonomy division at La Poste.

– Cultural shock –

To establish themselves in the hospital environment, these young companies need to overcome some barriers because health professionals are “reluctant” when they arrive, according to Arnaud Have, from consultancy Sia Partners. “Often, they’ve been forced to adapt to new tools, so there’s fatigue. If the tool wastes time, caregivers won’t use it.”

According to the Hospi’up guide, developed in 2021 by the French Federation of Hospitals to connect hospitals and start-ups, “72% of establishments have never worked with a start-up” and “60% of start-ups found it difficult to work in a hospital center”.

Some caregivers do not welcome the emergence of these start-ups whose search for profitability they believe is contrary to the mission of the public hospital.

Le Canard Enchaîné in the spring conveyed the distrust of Paris hospital staff after AP-HP signed a contract with start-up Noé Santé to “optimize the average length of stay for patients”.

In 2019, France 2 also pointed the finger at the business practices of Happytal, of which La Poste is now “guarantor”, assures Delphine Mallet.

But the health crisis “broke the locks”, deciphers Arnaud Have. The emergence of digital technology in patient care is “a real underlying trend,” he said.

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