COVID-19 has severely impacted the world’s healthcare system. For some, the impact is further exacerbated due to a lack of hospital management technology. With a growing population, ageing nations, and a global pandemic at hand, the healthcare industry has been hit hard for the past two years.
In order to tackle the triple threat, there is a need for hospitals to streamline their operations to achieve greater efficiency. As a result, the future of health care will feature smart hospitals. These hospitals embrace hospital management technology; ranging from artificial intelligence, visitor management systems to IoT technology (Internet of Things).
In the current age, technology helps us save time and be more efficient and is deeply rooted in our daily lives. Our needs and expectations of healthcare are thus getting more complex. As such, hospitals need to adopt advanced hospital management technology to meet the demand for precision healthcare.
In this article, we will be exploring the hospital management technology needed for a more competent hospital. This can help reduce operational costs, medical errors and improve patient outcomes.
What is a smart hospital?
Let us first break down the definition of a smart hospital.
A smart hospital refers to hospitals that leverage technology and automation. What smart hospitals do is adopt and use new technologies to improve hospital infrastructure, clinical processes, patient outcomes, and administrative workflows.
Smart hospitals use cutting-edge technology to streamline their operations and provide a better experience for their patients. Seamless exchange of data between doctors and patients provides patients with better care. And also utilising advanced smart devices that can quickly improve a patient’s recovery process.
For hospitals to become smart hospitals, we have to make some changes. Firstly, hospital management needs to be open to adopting and learning new technologies. In addition, some hospitals will have to start from the ground up – building new clinical processes. By doing so, hospitals can operate with minimal human errors.
Other than leveraging on technologies, smart hospitals think differently about patient care. The approach towards patient care in smart hospitals tends to be more proactive rather than reactive. This means smart hospitals ensure that they follow through with their patients’ health journey and not just stop when discharged.
Patients in smart hospitals use wearable hospital management technology devices or have remote monitoring devices to ensure they are always safe. Other features of a smart hospital include a robust and centralised database management system and a safety and security system.
The patient journey also begins right when they step foot into the hospital, and smart hospitals need to provide seamless and well-rounded care. As such, smart hospitals need to adopt hospital management technology that can help provide a better patient experience at the hospital’s doorstep.
Recommended hospital management technology for a smart hospital
Now that we understand what a smart hospital is, let us explore the different types of technology needed!
Safety and security system
The first hospital management technology that smart hospitals need is a safety and security system. While having the most up-to-date medical devices and technology is crucial for the success of a smart hospital; it is also vital to smart hospitals to ensure the safety of their visitors, patients, and staff.
One way to do so is to implement a visitor management system. It is encouraged for smart hospitals to have at least one in each of their buildings. Visitor management systems help hospitals ensure everyone going in and out of the facility is accounted for. Visitors and patients can also pre-book their visits or make appointments online ahead of time.
This helps ensure there won’t be a long line of visitors or patients waiting to enter. This is especially important in times of COVID-19 as it helps reduce the risk of overcrowding and ensure social distancing, in turn lowering the chance for COVID-19 outbreaks.
This hospital management technology also helps ensure visitors and patients are compliant with government restrictions and regulations. Visitors and patients will be able to upload their proof of vaccination and complete health declaration questions when needed.
After completing the above, visitors simply check-in and have their temperatures taken to ensure they don’t have a fever. Thus, having a visitor management system in smart hospitals is critical to ensuring everyone is COVID-safe.
With so many visitor management systems in the market, it is essential that smart hospitals adopt the ones that best suit their organisation.
The presence of COVID-19 has made it difficult for patients to visit the hospital. This is especially so for people with minor illness symptoms or a compromised immune system which makes it riskier if they leave their house during the pandemic.
Therefore, many smart hospitals have shifted to utilising chatbots and virtual telehealth communication to help patients with minor illness symptoms. Not only do smart hospitals use this hospital management technology to help diagnose patients; but doctors and nurses also use it to connect with their patients.
Artificial intelligence technology also includes electronic sensors, which can help doctors and nurses monitor and take note of any sudden changes or abnormalities in vulnerable patients. For instance, smart hospital wards can be equipped with a hidden monitor that immediately alerts nurses when fragile patients fall. These electronic sensors can help improve the patient experience by improving patient outcomes without invading their privacy.
Given the limited visitor and inpatient capacities in hospitals due to the pandemic, this hospital management technology of utilising artificial intelligence can help improve patient outcomes and experience and reduce healthcare costs.
Smart hospitals also have efficient database management.
Electronic health records
Electronic health records are a crucial tool for smart hospitals to stay organised. These electronic health records replace traditional and outdated health systems that contain patient information. This hospital management technology helps doctors and nurses to have a clearer picture of patient history, their current diagnosis, treatment plans, and the next steps they need to take.
This means that no information is lost even if patients change doctors. This helps make sure patients still get the best care that the hospital can provide. A centralised patient database is recommended to minimise mistakes in smart hospitals.
Hence, this helps with organisation and coordination in terms of patient care and outcomes. In addition, by automating electronic health records, smart hospitals can save on time and cost to hire administrators.
IoT technology (Internet of Things)
Lastly, automated processes such as the Internet of Things (IoT) are another smart technology hospitals should adopt. This helps to enhance operational efficiency by reducing administrative burden and improving clinical workflows by connecting medical devices to AI and data analysis.
Smart technology like this makes complex medical technology simpler, further helping doctors and nurses focus on providing top-quality medical care. IoT also plays a vital role in enabling contactless care from the comfort of the patients’ homes. In general, IoT-based medical sensors are proficient in monitoring patients’ health remotely. This helps mitigate the problem of staff shortage.
Although hospitals can do without hospital management technology; the healthcare industry cannot rely on outdated and less advanced technology in today’s world. Especially with COVID-19, healthcare has become more crucial. The more operationally efficient one hospital is, the better they can manage their visitors and patients.