The emergence of smart hospitals

Imagine the last time you or a loved one was taken care of. What does the experience look like? Was it a seamless and positive experience? Or did it feel outdated and cumbersome?

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a large US healthcare system in re-imagining and transforming the patient and clinician experience. Focusing on how innovative technologies can shape the future of care, we envisioned a “clinic of the future” where patients can:

  • Schedule an appointment and submit a pre-screening form via their smartphone
  • Send proactive updates to the clinic using location context when factors like traffic congestion affect arrival times
  • Easily find clinics with pathfinding and navigation from patient home to provider and clinic parking
  • Virtual check in with reception, remote video visit or virtual expert consultation
  • Find peer support groups, pre-treatment education, digital medication reminders, and automated prescription refills through their preferred communication channel

The vision is fascinating! And the best part is that with Cisco and our ecosystem of partners, this wide range of experiences, capabilities, and results is possible today.

That’s right! Necessity is the mother of innovation.

Fast forward to March 2020 and the global pandemic. Almost overnight, healthcare providers and physicians have pivoted to virtual care and automate scheduling and admission through their digital front door.

We see virtual care being expanded to include increased adoption of remote visits, virtual patient visits, and remote clinical observation. Connecting bedside medical devices to enable virtual ICUs and reduce consumption of personal protective equipment (PPE) has become a necessity.

These combined working capabilities have empowered healthcare professionals and other healthcare professionals to work from home while maintaining access to care.

Before the pandemic, it was very expensive to renovate healthcare and disease prevention spaces; Innovation in the midst of a pandemic with enhanced infection control protocols is nearly impossible. Necessity has driven healthcare providers to deliver these solutions with existing physical infrastructure and minimal disruption.

As we look to the future, healthcare providers plan to continue to deliver the experiences that patients, clinicians, and staff are now demanding. The importance of business resilience and operational efficiency during the pandemic has helped prepare suppliers for future emergencies.

Healthcare providers understand that the flexibility created by flexible buildings, reconfigurable spaces, and resilient infrastructure systems will allow them to adapt to new solutions. and respond to changing circumstances in the future.

Health care and “fourth utility”

The requirement for agility and programmability is one of the trends driving the growth of smart hospitals. It is achieved by purposefully designing “technology as a fourth utility” into hospital infrastructure, along with water, gas and electricity.

In a smart hospital, a fourth utility can securely connect systems, applications, users, and clinical, operational, and business data to deliver an automated, adaptive experience that can Programmable and more sustainable.

The convergence of operational technology and facilities networks (“OT”) together with clinical and administrative information technology (“CE”) and administrative (“IT”) systems plays a very important role. Important for the secure, reliable delivery of healthcare provider capabilities, the adoption of the HIMSS Model (“INFRAM”) analytics infrastructure requires it for Stage authentication 6 and Stage 7.

Once connected, these previously connected systems can be programmed to work together to deliver improved workflows and experiences for patients, clinicians, administrators members and guests. For example, patients and visitors can be guided by way of finding and navigating; clinical staff can use real-time location services to track and locate devices such as wheelchairs, infusion pumps, and ventilators; clinical staff can add new ICU bed capacity and automatically connect medical devices; and administrators can manage lounge times, occupancy limits, and reservations to ensure optimal space utilization. All of these capabilities leverage common networking, wireless, data center, security, and collaboration technologies.

The doctor and patient experience is improved in a smart hospital by giving more autonomy to the patient. Patients can manage lighting, window shades and temperature – all from the comfort of their bed. As a result, nurse call events for these problems are reduced, helping to reduce stress, burnout and shift work among medical staff. As reported in Architect Journal, clinical outcomes can be improved with the right smart LED lighting solution, by enabling soft, indirect, and circadian rhythmic lighting in patient rooms and stations nurse. This LED lighting system, along with motorized shade, HVAC and other systems mentioned above can all be connected, programmed, powered and secured using a fourth utility.

A smart hospital with security and privacy by design

Cybersecurity and data privacy are more important in healthcare than ever – and cyberattacks and costs are on the rise. The ability of a healthcare organization to connect and secure previously secured systems, devices, and data is essential. Despite the risk and incidence of cyberattacks, traditional healthcare systems have failed to invest in cybersecurity, and policy and security controls can be put in place. consistent across different systems.

A smart hospital running on a fourth utility that can provide end-to-end security, policy, identity, and access control to block threats, stop intruders, and improve visibility on medical and IoT devices, infrastructure endpoints, building systems and other IT, and OT systems. This holistic approach to security enhances compliance, reduces risk, and improves stakeholder trust.

Smart hospital is the clinic of the future

Cisco is working with healthcare customers and a growing ecosystem of partners to help design and build smart hospitals. As a result, healthcare customers are realizing the potential to deliver multiple goals for the organization: business resilience, improved clinician, patient and guest experience, operational efficiency and security. The result will be a more sustainable, safe and agile hospital.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog where we will discuss how smart hospitals can fulfill an organization’s sustainability and carbon reduction goals.

Want to learn more about Cisco solutions for smart hospitals? Check out the stories of KNU Hospital and Groves Memorial Hospital and take a virtual tour of the office of the future.


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