A facility that is in the process of becoming a smart hospital can have many benefits. It’s not an easy transition, but the advantages for clinicians and patients in general translate into better healthcare outcomes.
Implementing wearable devices, robots, artificial intelligence (AI), charting systems, telehealth, virtual reality, and more can boost healthcare to another level. COVID-19 accelerated the use of technology in medicine, and telemedicine has become increasingly popular in this transition to technology.
With advances in wearable devices, technology is opening the doors to preventive medicine. For example, now clinicians can access their patient’s live data, making it easier to control patients’ health when they are in the comfort of their homes. Also, it’s an excellent way to reduce the probability of getting hospital-acquired infections since clinicians can monitor patients outside the hospital.
What Is a Smart Hospital?
Smart hospitals use technology like AI, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), robots, and other smart devices to achieve better healthcare outcomes and improve healthcare services.
The advances in healthcare technology allow hospitals to embrace the changes needed to achieve efficient ways to obtain patient records, live data, and accurate diagnostics while also reducing costs.
Smart hospital technology is helping with the process automation of different repetitive manual tasks. Software, robots, and AI are making it possible to interconnect the healthcare network, which is evolving into a more preventive system.
In the near future, hospitals will probably mainly treat severe trauma, surgery, intensive care, complicated treatments, and severe conditions. Healthcare will be patient-focused, and the information sharing between clinics, gyms, labs, pharmacies, nursery facilities, rehabilitation facilities, and patient houses will open the doors to a more integrative discipline and reduce healthcare costs since patients will be treated in earlier stages of illness and be more aware of their health.
Read about New Technologies to Reduce Healthcare Costs and Improve Outcomes
What Are Smart Hospital Rooms Like?
In hospitals with smart room technology, patients will have a better experience at their fingertips. Smart rooms give patients direct access to control their environment, such as access to their test results, among other things—therefore reducing nurse call fatigue.
Technology nowadays allows patients to control different systems in their rooms to make their hospital experience more comfortable. Smart room systems, like blinds control, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and housekeeping platforms, are integrated into smart televisions, helping to avoid unnecessary risks and excessive nurse calls. Having the possibility of controlling many features of the smart hospital’s rooms, patients don’t need to call nurses for food orders, room temperature, or any other need that is not among a nurse’s primary responsibilities.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, each year, 700,000 to 1,000,000 people in the United States fall in hospitals. One-third of these falls can be prevented with smart room technology since patients don’t need to move around the room if they can control many systems from their beds.
Communication can also be streamlined through smart technology. Patient electronic medical records (EMRs) integrated into a smart system will help families and patients look for their test results or know about their conditions. This EMR needs to be patient-focused, meaning the system should be user-friendly for patients and family members.
Having an IoMT network to exchange live data helps to control patients’ every moment. Hence, nurses can organize their time more efficiently during their shifts. Smart rooms improve efficiency, enhance the patient experience, promote greener practices, and reduce nurse fatigue.
What Are the Benefits of AI in Healthcare?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the technology that uses machine learning (ML), deep learning (DL), and natural language processing. AI can analyze significant volumes of data, process it, identify possible problems, and provide solutions in a short period, helping clinicians with diagnostics and decision-making.
This technology will have a transformative impact on healthcare services in the next ten years. AI has many applications in healthcare, including the following:
- Computer vision: This feature can help to identify possible health risks for patients. With machine learning, AI can detect anomalies in patient’s imaging studies to determine more accurate diagnostics. ML is an AI that works perfectly with healthcare. The ML algorithms can process large amounts of data from different hospitals, helping clinicians with the diagnostics of rare diseases in a short period.
- Administrative applications: In this application, AI can help with data entering, appointment scheduling, and claim processing, helping hospitals focus on patients.
- Natural language processing (NLP): This AI subfield helps digitalize medical documents and store them in clinical databases.
- Chatbots: This AI feature imitates human interactions and uses NLP and MLS algorithms. Chatbots interact with patients, clinicians, and clinical staff.
These are some of the practical uses of AI in healthcare that have the potential to transform healthcare soon. However, these features access a lot of patient data, so it is essential to define security parameters so that private information is not reachable by unauthorized people.
What Applications Can Virtual Reality Have in Healthcare?
Virtual reality (VR) has different applications in healthcare and is starting to have excellent results in training clinicians. According to a Harvard study, surgeons trained using VR had significant rating improvements compared with surgeons who didn’t train with VR.
The VR-trained group had a 230 percent improvement in the total score. VR-trained surgeons completed their tasks 20 percent faster and accomplished 38 percent more steps correctly in the procedure-specific checklist than the traditionally trained surgeons.
VR is becoming popular to train nurses as well and is giving excellent results. Around 65 percent of nursing education programs use VR and other digital methods to enhance nurse training.
In the following list, you can find some benefits that nurses have when they use VR in their training:
- Creates realistic experiences: Students face situations they may come across in their future work environment.
- Builds empathy: Since students experience realistic situations in their training and can be in the patient’s shoes, it is easy to be more empathetic.
- Empowers critical thinking: VR simulations put students in different situations to strengthen their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Boosts confidence: Since practice simulates real situations, students experience different and complex scenarios that give students the ability to deal with similar challenges in the future.
A study showed that training with VR is three times faster than classroom learning and 1.15 times faster than e-learning. After the VR training, the participants were 3.75 times more connected with the training content compared to the classroom participants and 2.3 times more connected than e-learners. Therefore, VR is an excellent way to improve education and training.
Becoming a smart hospital is a great challenge and needs substantial investments. However, in the long term, the benefits that come with the implementation of technology translate into better healthcare outcomes, reduction of operational costs, and more clinicians centered on patients.