With a global population of 7.6 billion that’s both growing and aging, healthcare organisations are confronted with a shortage of medical professionals, an increase in the number of patients – many of them with chronic illnesses – as well as a steep increase in the costs of ensuring the quality of and access to healthcare services.
Many healthcare providers have begun to incorporate technology into the healthcare ecosystem, stepping up their digitization and digital transformation efforts in order to provide consistently effective patient care, reduce risks, and lay the groundwork for a more sustainable global healthcare system.
One such innovative solution, which will cause even more of a shift towards an increasingly patient-centric model, involves the development of intelligent building technology infrastructures – smart hospitals.
Over the past two decades, technology and medicine have joined forces many times, leading to outcomes that have significantly driven medical innovation and the development of smart hospitals requires the same strong commitment to patient care that has lead to a consistent improvement in the quality of healthcare.
The University of Maryland Medical Center first employed robots to deliver medication from satellite pharmacies to patient care units as early as 2003. In 2012, the industry was taking a major step towards developing a more effective, real-time patient monitoring system by opening Palomar Medical Center – the first hospital to use wireless wristband, a device capable of transmitting vital signs from the patient into the hospital system.
In 2015, Kuopio University Hospital introduces Ascom Myco into its neonatal intensive care unit. The smartphone, together with the advanced staff duty-assignment software Ascom Unite Assign, was specially designed for mission-critical communications in hospitals and healthcare environments and is contributing to safer, more efficient care for mothers and newborns.
Building on the successful partnership between the two industries, tech companies are leveraging their own core business strengths to redefine healthcare. Google is applying its AI capabilities in the area of disease detection, data interoperability, and health insurance, collaborating with doctors to develop an algorithm that can diagnose diabetic retinopathy in images at a level of accuracy likened to that of board-certified ophthalmologists.
Focusing on patient-facing products, Apple has partnered with Stanford Medicine to conduct the Apple Heart Study. Using the heart rate sensors in the Apple Watch, they collected irregular heartbeat data and notified users of potentially life-threatening conditions like atrial fibrillation.
Now imagine all of this innovation in technology under the roof of each patient care facility in the world. You don’t have to. As technology and healthcare continue to strengthen their collaboration for a better, more patient-centric model, smart hospitals might become a reality as early as next year.
Director UK Centre for Health Solutions Deloitte, Karen Taylor, believes that 2020 the widespread adoption of technology-enabled care will ensure that the concept of the “Smart Hospital” becomes a reality.
“Providers need to work in collaboration with health system partners to apply the technology that can help achieve the necessary changes. Embracing digital technology and big data (including genomics) will help deliver not only improved patient outcomes but also lower healthcare costs, while delivering personalized care to patients.” – Karen Taylor
She believes that a smart hospital relies on optimised and automated processes, built on an ICT environment of interconnected assets (the Internet of Things (IoT) aimed at improving existing patient care procedures and introducing new capabilities.
Considering that medical staff spends a considerable amount of their time on documentation, administration and coordination tasks, a strong partnership between the IT and healthcare industry isn’t just about how technology and smart tools can help save lives and improve quality of life. With a number of US studies showing that nurses spend less than 40% of their time with patients, it’s also about enabling doctors and nurses to care for patients.
“By freeing up clinicians’ time, they can focus more on delivering the face-to-face care and, with the help of technology, maximize levels of performance and health outcomes. The greatest potential comes from partnering human intelligence with probability tools and analytics to help improve the precision around diagnoses and treatment options and embedding quantitative data at the point of care.” – she added
Covering the rise of smart hospital, the changing nature of community and primary care, as well as the important role of digital technology in improving staff productivity and efficiency across the health ecosystem; Karen Taylor will be joining Life 4.0 to discuss how digital technology is changing the way patients engage with their healthcare providers, enabling them to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. Save your seat and learn more about smart hospitals – the buildings that will support the healing process.