The paradigm of healthcare delivery has shifted dramatically over the past 10 years in response to rapid technological improvements. Furthermore, the pandemic has compelled healthcare professionals to use digital technologies and come up with new ways to improve, not only healthcare services, but also the way that back-end activities are handled.
Now, a new class of really “smart hospitals” is emerging, which have undergone a thorough digital refurbishment or makeover. These hospitals are using cutting-edge, tech-driven solutions to automate their end-to-end operations — booking appointments, recording patient data, sharing information with other components of the medical team, processing payments, and providing comprehensive treatment. This enables modern hospitals to increase efficiency, provide highly individualized and patient-centric treatment, and work to make cost-effective healthcare available to all.
What is a Smart Hospital?
The paradigm of patient care is changing. Smart hospitals are becoming commonplace and accessible to all. Pandemic serves as de-facto catalyst for driving tech-based innovations in the industry. Expect more hospitals to invest in smart technology solutions to metamorphose into truly smart hospitals. The transformation was borne out of necessity in response to unprecedented uncertainties brought on by the health crisis. But what does it mean to be a smart hospital?
Smart hospitals optimize, redesign and build new clinical processes, management systems, and maybe even infrastructure, to improve patient care and operational efficiency. Optimization and the design of new processes is based on data and analysis to locate inefficiencies and track implementation to ensure that the set goal is actually achieved. This is all enabled by underlying digitization of healthcare which provides valuable insight that was not previously possible.
But, it’s important to note that the ‘smart’ revolution is not just affecting hospitals; it applies to clinics and private practices, specialty medicine and the entire network of interoperability.
What Are the Features of Smart Healthcare?
The smart revolution will be pushed forward by the use of new technologies and devices, new sources of information, new tools for better process efficiency, optimized infrastructure design and facility management.
New Technology & Devices Utilized in Smart Healthcare
Healthcare facilities are adjusting to match the evolving requirements of the industry and demands of patients. This includes adopting new technologies and tools, such as:
- mobile workstations,
- robotics and cobots,
- artificial intelligence,
- 3D printing,
- voice automation,
- at-home patient monitoring,
- tracking devices for at-risk patients, and
- wearable devices.
New Sources of Information Used by Smart Healthcare
Everything from administrative work to diagnostics can become more accurate and efficient by combining multiple sources of data and information. These days, smart healthcare leverages the following:
- big data,
- omics and genomics data,
- integrated devices for non-invasive diagnostics,
- Internet of Medical Things (IoMT),
- machine learning, and
- electronic medical records and integrated services.
New Tools for Improving Processes in Smart Healthcare
They’re becoming ‘smart,’ incorporating new technologies into their designs and operations to improve outcomes, costs, and patient satisfaction. Smart healthcare providers are adopting the following solutions aimed specifically at optimizing activities and workflow:
- queue management systems,
- digitized patient and visitor registration,
- speech transcription apps,
- biometric access control systems,
- software that combines data warehousing, clinical data silos, and HIEs,
- streamlined clinical workflow, and
- real-time staff and patient tracking.
New Infrastructure Design Developed by Smart Healthcare
Using the same concept that has led to smart cities, smart homes, and smart cars, smart hospitals have centralized information. By combining all of the information from the various technologies, it’s possible to create a comprehensive ecosystem. This allows healthcare management and personnel to see what’s going on and better manage activities in their facility.
- high-performance network connectivity,
- centralized risk management,
- integrated maintenance and facility management,
- mobile patient navigation app,
- real-time tracking for medical equipment,
- real-time tracking for patient transfers and discharges,
- coordinated staff notifications for maintenance, porters, and cleaning,
- advanced access control and security,
- remote bedside commands and individual comfort settings,
- real-time patient communications, and
- critical environment controls,
- critical power chain that prioritizes energy demands.
Related article: 9 of the Best Cloud-Based Tools Built for Healthcare.
As a whole, the smart healthcare revolution aims to leverage technology and connectivity to make important, and much-needed improvements. It works to improve patient care and the patient experience, streamline clinical processes, accelerate turnaround times for beds and appointments, decrease hospital-acquired infections, and optimize the time and effort of medical staff.
Smart Healthcare Starts with Smart Communications
Working with a dedicated doctors’ answering service means getting valuable help where and when it counts the most. PatientCalls’ healthcare call center ensures that patients calls are answered promptly and appointments are scheduled correctly which frees up on-site staff to focus on delivering better care.