Understanding smart hospitals and why most aren't there yet

Hospitals around the world are under tremendous pressure and are facing factors such as reimbursement and costs, while serving a growing population of chronic diseases. Hospitals are looking for ways to improve their productivity and efficiency in order to reduce operational costs and thus improve margins. While hospitals are busy doing so, the patient evolves to become a consumer, whose needs and preferences must be taken into account in order to achieve the optimal "customer satisfaction", a notion that is foreign to the sector. health (for the most part).

Naturally, hospitals are considering digital technologies as a solution. But singular and compartmentalized implementations do not necessarily serve the purpose. Digitization trends are having a major impact on hospitals, and digital hospitals are also emerging. But does this lead to a real "smart hospital"? In our opinion: not really. This is how Frost & Sullivan defines SmartHospitals.

Our Definition
"Intelligent hospitals are those that optimize, remodel, or construct new clinical processes, management systems, and even potentially infrastructure, made possible by an underlying digital network infrastructure. interconnected assets. "The critical component for smart hospitals is the ability to provide a valuable information service, which was simply not possible or available sooner. that makes a hospital a little bit farther to be just digital, making it really smart.Must scan, or make the hospital paperless (although this is a great achievement) is not enough.We consider the implementations digital solutions in hospitals as steps in their journey towards intelligence. Exploratory implementations at an intermediate ultimately become smart where hospitals have a complete alignment of clinical processes and management systems.

Conceptualization of Intelligent Hospitals
The Smart Hospitals Framework has three essential layers – data, insight, and access. Data are collected today, but not necessarily in all hospital systems, but they are not integrated to obtain "intelligent" information, which can be done by injecting them into software packages. or machine learning. This overview must be accessible to the user – a physician, nurse, facility staff or other personnel, via an interface including a desktop computer or a smartphone or similar portable device, to enable them to critical decisions faster.

There are three areas that all intelligent hospital addresses – operations, clinical tasks and patient centricity. Operational efficiency can be achieved by using automation systems and intelligent maintenance and asset management solutions, as well as improving the internal logistics of mobile, pharmaceutical, medical, supplies stocks. and consumables as well as the control of the flow of people (staff, patients and visitors). Not only do these solutions reduce operational costs such as energy needs, but also reduce the need for capital expenditures on mobile assets, for example, by improving the utilization rates of existing equipment. The bottlenecks of patient flows, when they are addressed, improve efficiency, allowing a greater number of patients to be "treated" in the system, allowing to generate more revenue at lower cost.

Clinical excellence revolves around solutions that enable nurses and physicians to improve their work efficiency, as well as solutions designed for various services, particularly areas of work. emergency, surgery and radiology. Clinical excellence also encompasses improving outcomes for patients by ensuring patient engagement and monitoring. A smart hospital must look beyond its walls with a vision of the health of the population so that patients are released more quickly while ensuring that they recover well, without being forced to go to bed. to be readmitted. Remote monitoring tools can help smart hospitals achieve this goal.

In addition to the above initiatives, which also serve to improve the patient experience, other non-clinical aspects can also contribute to better patient satisfaction. Consider the smart patient room, which allows voice-based interactive devices such as Amazon Echo with Alexa or tablets, to call nurses or turn off lights. Hospital design features such as large open spaces and gardens to alleviate patient fears associated with hospitals or custom environments for children, can also help the healing process and ensure faster recovery.

Hospitals that are already smart The current hotspots of smart hospitals are Canada, Finland, South Korea, Dubai, Singapore and Australia. Currently, not all hospitals are really considered smart hospitals because they do not necessarily meet all the requirements of smart hospitals. Yet, some of the more advanced hospitals that are about to become smart include the Humber River Valley Hospital (Canada), the Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital (UK), the Farrer Park Hospital (Singapore), the Seoul Bundang National Hospital (South Korea) and the Royal Adelaide Hospital (Australia).

Among the features of the Humber River Valley Hospital in Canada is the first all-digital hospital in North America (with an online appointment calendar, digital recording, electronic ordering of lab tests and results), GE Healthcare Managed Equipment Services, a RIVA chemotherapy robot, automated pharmacy systems (3 / 4th automated hospital supply chain) and a patient flow control center (currently underway).

Similarly, at the Farrer Park Hospital in Singapore, doctors have electronic tablets and / or phones connected to hospital systems, the hospital design combines nature and art with 700 paintings and 15 gardens, patients have access to telemedicine services. fiber optic connections throughout the hospital with 650 WiFi access points, and the focus is on medical tourism with a combined hospitality-care approach including an international office, a hotel and a spa in the same complex and a common kitchen with a 5-star hotel.

As can be imagined, different hospitals in different regions have adopted different approaches to become intelligent, but are very advanced compared to their peers. Although we do not imagine that a significant number of hospitals will become smart over the next few years, we expect the majority of existing hospitals to begin the journey by adopting smaller solutions in a fragmented approach. a network of "smart" solutions.

Siddharth Shah, Frost & Sullivan, on LinkedIn

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