The future of health care will be decentralized and patient-centric, and it will feature smart hospitals. According to McKinsey, “Smart hospitals do not attempt to deliver all services under one roof; rather, they deliver a narrower set of high-value services within a broader ecosystem of entities, many of which have not traditionally been associated with health care delivery.”
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A New Approach to Health Care
Successfully implementing digital technologies in the health care system could help reduce annual national health care expenditures by more than 10%.
The Smart Health Care System
Under the smart health care system, hospitals will still offer treatment for acute, severe, and complicated conditions. They’ll also offer services such as major surgery, trauma care, intensive care units, and in-patient admission.
Clinics, gyms, and patient homes, will also be part of the smart health care system, offering preventative services and health care management programs. Additionally, independent centers will provide diagnostic testing, ambulatory centers will provide minor procedures and same-day surgeries. Other systematic components include rehabilitation facilities, nursery facilities, and pharmacies.
Features of a Smart Health Care Ecosystem
One of the primary features of a smart health care ecosystem is digital connectivity, which enables primary care providers and independent service centers to collect patient records and share and store data via a standardized format. Another key feature is using automation to improve operational processes and patient services. The ecosystem also creates a patient-centric experience through innovations like telemedicine, cloud-accessible reports, and self-aided examinations. In addition, analytics and big data within the ecosystem enable practitioners to utilize technologies like artificial intelligence and design cost-effective preventative programs. Finally, the ecosystem allows for holistic and interdisciplinary innovation, which could lead to more efficient, higher-quality care.
The Demand for Smart Hospitals
Data Bridge Market Research estimates that the global smart hospital market will reach $102.31 billion by 2026. Four factors will drive the demand for smart hospitals.
The first factor concerns an urgent need for improved outcomes and quality. Functionality partially drives this need – seven in 100 hospitalized patients develop a health care-related infection each year. It’s also steered by economics, as more than $210 billion is wasted annually on unnecessary services in the U.S.
The “revitalization” of health services is another key factor. This relates to the number of health services being moved out of hospitals and into outpatient settings. These services include vaccinations, minor procedures, and lab work.
A third factor revolves around informed and empowered patients. Digital devices provide patients access to their health information. This could allow more patient-centric care to take place, especially as patients are seeking greater involvement in the treatment process.
Finally, there is a need for greater value and accountability. The U.S. spends more than 17% of its GDP on health care each year. Payment reforms can be supported via concepts like electronic health records (EHRs) and care coordination.
The Innovative Role of Hospital Administrators
Hospital administrators’ vision, expertise, and support will be key to successfully building smart hospitals. If executed effectively, the transition to smart hospitals will bring rewards to health care organizations, staff, and patients.
How Hospital Administrators Will Lead the Transition to Smart Hospitals
There are several ways hospital administrators can ensure smooth and efficient movement towards a smart hospital environment. Firstly, they can ensure smart hospital rooms by enhancing and supporting human interaction, taking care to not supersede human interaction, or not disrupting the clinical workforce. They can also foster an innovative environment by investing in new talent and by collaborating with universities, research institutes, and technology companies, government agencies, industry thought leaders, and unions. Additionally, hospital administrators can help build the smart health care ecosystem by identifying and defining requirements and by selecting technology to meet a hospital’s needs while also ensuring a people-first perspective. Finally, they can design smart hospital “use cases” to create a path to realizing goals, which can include the establishment of processes designed to help achieve these goals.
Tips for Transitioning to a Smart Hospital
While transitioning to a smart hospital, it’s important for those in hospital administration roles to create a culture that embraces digital transformation, which can create a better understanding of the transition’s benefits. They should also consider using technology that communicates interdependently. In addition, a hospital’s planning team should think about the long-term needs to scale systems in the future. Admins should also focus on building systems that focus on gathering, storing, securing, and analyzing data. Additionally, hospital administrators should make sure that employees are prepared for the transition by training in the development of digital strategies. Finally, hospital administrators should maintain a strong, effective cybersecurity strategy.
The Future of Health Care Is Now
The need for smart hospitals is clear. The road to building smart hospitals, however, will require significant planning, investment, and dedication.