A PLACE WHERE TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN CONVERGE TO ENHANCE PATIENT CARE.
Simply put, an intelligent hospital is one that works better and smarter. It is better because it is resourceful, creative, and perceptive about what patients and doctors need, and it is smarter because it is astute and inventive when it comes to weaving together diverse technologies to enhance patient care. Driven not only by new regulatory requirements but also by financial constraints and reductions in staff that require us to do more with less, institutions must now reevaluate their operational processes at all levels. In addition, while technology is important in an intelligent hospital, it is not the only focus. Facility design is also critical, including infrastructure and room design conducive to optimizing the management of patients, supplies, and devices.
History of the concept of Intelligent Hospital
The concept of the Intelligent Hospital was introduced by the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) in Health Care Consortium in 2009. By placing patient care at the center of all operational systems, the Intelligent Hospital brings together the architecture and design of the hospital space, innovative technology, and best practices in healthcare to achieve optimal patient care.
The Intelligent Hospital connects otherwise disparate clinical activities for more seamless operations. By enabling more automatic exchanges of information, caregivers and staff can provide detailed and effective patient care while equipping healthcare administrators with the insights needed to improve protocols and policies that help increase efficiency and lower costs.
Is intelligent Hospital a reality?
The notion of the Intelligent Hospital has been a welcomed concept by the healthcare industry but hasn’t been widely adopted yet. However, many contend that a tipping point is imminent. A perfect storm of variables is backing this notion, including the growth of enabling technologies such as ubiquitous wireless connectivity and device innovation, and widespread digitization of health data. All this while the healthcare industry is required to overcome seemingly intractable health challenges of access, quality, and cost.
Here are just a few advancements that are making the promise of the Intelligent Hospital a reality:
The increased prevalence of the Internet of Things (IoT), or “smart connected devices”, such as automated infusion pumps that can trigger a change in dosage when needed, to patient monitoring devices that feed data into the patient’s electronic health records (EHR), to smart beds that alert staff to changes in status. Real-time location systems (RTLSs) are another example, offering healthcare professionals up-to-the-minute information on availability and the location of usable equipment. Tracking these assets, such as hospital beds, monitoring devices, and caregivers, can create more efficiency with resources and streamline personnel allocations, thus lowering costs.
Improved wireless technology in healthcare environments, including network access, bandwidth, and coverage (RFID, WiFi, Bluetooth), combined with more connected devices, like wireless stethoscopes that transmit assessment data directly to the patient’s EHR, and mobile technologies that offer a better patient experience and that improve productivity, enabling physicians to gain access to more specific patient data where and when needed.
Real-time, predictive analytics of structured and unstructured data from multiple sources that have implications for evidence-based, patient-centered care; and population analyses that help the Intelligent Hospital adjust its policies, procedures, personnel, and systems to more efficiently and accurately meet the needs of its patients.
Today’s Hospital challenges
Financial challenges and hospital productivity: Hospitals are the second most energy-intensive buildings after restaurants, and globally, healthcare costs are on the rise. These financial challenges— in addition to an aging world population and increasing energy costs—are putting pressure on healthcare organizations to do more with less, without compromising the quality of care.
Maintaining patient safety: Every year an estimated 20,000 people in the U.S. and 5,000 in the U.K. die from an infection they received during their stay at hospitals. Reducing the risk of infection, as well as other potential risks, such as power failures, is crucial in ensuring a high quality of care and maintaining the organization’s reputation.
Regulatory standards and emerging energy mandates: Noncompliance with regulatory standards can lead to a disruption in operations, poor quality of care, safety issues, and substantial fines. At the same time, as energy demand rises, many countries are requiring healthcare facilities to reduce carbon output and meet mandates for energy reductions.
Hospital security: Healthcare facilities are often open 24/7, and those visiting are often under a great deal of stress when life and health are at stake. Violence, infant abductions, patient wanderings, and theft of drugs and hospital assets are major concerns.
Patient satisfaction: The well-being of patients is key in reducing the length of stay and preventing readmissions. According to the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), in green hospitals, patients have discharged an average of 2.5 days earlier compared to traditional hospitals. Additionally, patient satisfaction can also affect a hospital’s revenue. If the systems are operating poorly or not at all, quality metrics such as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems can be adversely affected.
So, how can healthcare organizations deal with these challenges while controlling costs, reducing waste and implementing a sustainability strategy? By utilizing an open and integrated solution that provides the right information to the right user at the right time.
challenges to have a smart hospital management system
The major challenges for hospitals on their path to becoming smart and installing an intelligent hospital system are:
The conflict of priorities: healthcare organizations have to deliver high-quality care, maintain patient safety (including the safety of patient data), prevent infections, ensure financial productivity, comply with regulatory standards, and keep patients satisfied. All these challenges usually have to be addressed with limited resources.
Becoming «smart» can take several steps: smart solutions can be implemented one by one, not in a single step. At that, newer solutions must be integrated with the ones implemented earlier.
Interoperability and cybersecurity are necessary as hospital devices, systems and networks must talk to each other in such a way that allows analysis of the data, and that data must be secure and unreachable for hackers.
Unstructured data and legacy systems have to be integrated to ensure holistic analysis and provide access to all collected medical data.
All medical personnel has to be trained to use smart systems and devices effectively to support their workflow and ensure semi-automated managing of data flow.
E-health is …
The coalescence of medical equipment into the network has already changed the methods of work in the healthcare industry. By 2020, the widespread introduction of high-tech methods in medicine will lead to the implementation of the smart hospital project.
This concept is based on the optimization and automation of processes in the information-communication and technological environment of interrelated objects. The purpose of this environment is to improve existing procedures for the provision of advanced means of medical care and to open up new opportunities for medicine.
The «fourth industrial revolution» is also of fundamental importance. It consists of combining network devices with cloud computing methods and analyzing large data and artificial intelligence, which makes it possible to call such an infrastructure «smart».
Thinking of the smart hospital definition, we can say that it is a relatively new direction at the intersection of medicine, information, health, and business, which is related to the usage of information technology support for healthcare.
E-Health includes ten key principles
Attention to personal data
Expansion of the patient’s capabilities
Improving the relationship between the patient and the medical organization
Continuing education and professional development through information technology
Realization of safe data exchange
Expansion of the healthcare framework
Accessibility for everyone