Healthcare organizations are continually battling conflicting priorities. Our customers tell us they need to focus on delivering high quality patient care, preventing infections, maintaining hospital security, and ensuring patient safety – all with extremely stretched resources.
Through these discussions, we’ve pinpointed the top five issues that healthcare organizations around the world are facing today:
1) 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 quality of care.
2) 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 while in the hospital. 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.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) Patient satisfaction: The well-being of patients is a key to reducing length of stay and preventing readmissions. According to the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), in green hospitals, patients are 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 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—such as Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure™ for Healthcare—healthcare organizations can make more informed decisions about their facilities to meet these challenges head on.
For instance, for a hospital looking to combat rising energy costs and consumption, an intelligent infrastructure can be used as the central tool for monitoring and controlling facility systems. With the installation of meters and sensors, energy information is collected from designated areas of the hospital. Together, intelligent control, management, and analytics improve infrastructure efficiency and allow maintenance to be scheduled to reduce system downtime. In addition, energy procurement and sustainability planning software can help set the facility’s energy strategy and add money back to the operating budget.
Another example: let’s say someone tries to remove an infant from a hospital ward. In a hospital that utilizes an integrated security system with real-time location system tracking, specific sequences can be implemented to protect against infant abduction. Staff would receive alerts so they can respond according to their standard operating procedures. Alarms would sound; access control systems would lock designated perimeters and internal doors to push the abductor to a staircase, where he or she can be apprehended. Video cameras can scan the area and send live camera feeds to security staff, as well as provide identification for police.
While these are just a few examples of the benefits that fully integrated solutions can provide to address the top challenges, hospitals must also be ready to respond to both expected and unexpected changes, such as possible increased regulatory demands, environmental mandates, and future healthcare innovations.
What is your healthcare organization doing to combat these five challenges to create a more intelligent facility and prepare for the future? What are the benefits you’re seeing from your integrated solution? Leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter at @SE_EstelleS and @SchneiderElec.
To learn more about StruxureWare for Healthcare, read the press release.