Healthcare

The Smart Hospital: 5 Benefits of Intelligence

As my first post in this series showed, demographics are causing healthcare demand to outpace budgets. Hospitals are tasked with the need to do more with less, while also keeping pace with technology and patient expectations. Continuing the status quo is no longer a viable option with hospital operating margins suffering at 5.7% and dropping, according to the latest data from American Hospital Association. In order to achieve all this you need an digital, smart hospital.

Schneider Electric Smart Hospital

A digital hospital joins the physical infrastructure with the clinical environment, creating a communication highway between facility systems (HVAC, power, and IT) and hospital scheduling and administration systems such as patient admission, discharge, and transfer; nurse call, and more. When systems communicate, it creates a wealth of data, which when delivered to the right person at the right time, becomes priceless information that you can act on. It’s more than a traditional building management system. A BMS would only deal with the first half of that list.

The goal of any hospital is to ensure their mission remains safe and sound, while improving hospital safety, patient satisfaction, and business operations. A digital infrastructure, delivered through a comprehensive suite of software applications, such as StruxureWare for Healthcare, puts your hospital to work for you, and can reduce operating expenses by highlighting opportunities for energy efficiency, improved productivity, and better use of time and resources.

As promised, here are 5 more benefits of an intelligent, digital hospital.

  1. Improve patient satisfaction. Mobile applications from a bedside tablet can be tied into the building management system to give patients control over their own room temperature and lighting, as well as the ability to call the nurse, view noise levels, and control their smart TV. A patient recovering in a more friendly environment may be discharged an average of 2.5 days earlier, according to the American Society for Healthcare Engineering.
  1. Protect patient health. Proper air movement can reduce the transmission of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) and can be an effective measure to promote patient safety and healing, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The normal air flow design is based on air changes an hour (ACH); however, WHO suggests that in order to reduce infections, air flow should be designed per patient. This WHO guideline recommends 60 liters per second per patient in general wards and outpatient departments. That figure is easier to achieve with intelligent infrastructure automating the process.
  1. Stay current. Technology is evolving so fast and hospitals are notoriously slow in adopting the latest and greatest. And that’s because it’s no small challenge to incorporate new technology, as hospitals are complex facilities (second only to nuclear power plants in that regard). A digital infrastructure is built to be open, flexible, and scalable so that it can accommodate future technologies and expansions.
  1. Enhance productivity. A digital infrastructure utilizes forward thinking network connectivity to enhance wireless communication and transfer of digital data such as electronic medical records and digital imaging. Being able to access patient information remotely through smartphones and tablets enables hospital staff to react efficiently and quickly, improving not on productivity, but also patient care.
  2. Protect them like they are your own. With a digital, intelligent infrastructure, hospital security teams can integrate video surveillance, access control, intercom, intruder detection, fire safety, RTLS, among other security systems to provide real-time data and alarms. In addition, in the event a security incident occurs, actionable reports with traceability are available for forensic analysis.

For more information, check out our video on the future of modern healthcare.

How do you envision a smart hospital? Tell us about it in the comments.


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