Digital Hospitals: The Future of Healthcare
Digital hospitals provide an incredible opportunity for the health care industry to improve their quality and safety of patient care significantly. Digital hospitals would support world-class clinical research while enabling better management and administration of the hospital environment. These new facilities aim to reduce inefficiencies and wastage while offering a greener environment for both its patient and staff that is safer and healthier. Furthermore, digital hospitals would attract world-class talent in both medicine and healthcare management. The benefits of a digital hospital have long been realized. However, the execution requires leadership and strategic planning. Hospitals all over the world are already under extreme pressure to consistently deliver the highest quality of care at the lowest possible cost. Patients expect to be treated quickly without spending beyond their cost structure. Modernizing existing healthcare facilities into digital hospitals can take twice the amount of time it would take to construct a new hospital. But because of the costs required to build entirely new facilities, the only option may be to retrofit existing hospitals. A properly designed and well-executed digital or “smart hospital” will not only have a positive effect on staff productivity and patient satisfaction but operating costs. One that is well-built and properly planned should have an infrastructure that is economically-friendly. These aren’t just smart hospitals, but they are intelligent buildings which are integrated with advanced IT, communication, medical and building technologies. Digital hospitals go beyond just their physical infrastructures. An equipped digital hospital means advanced technologies that are automated with intelligent information systems, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), sensors, control systems for facilities and medical devices. A dedicated IT team will complement hospital medical staff in how the facility is run. It is a collaboration of systems, communication, infrastructure, and people that are integrated to make the digital hospital environment work. Communication will be unified thanks to a seamless exchange of audio, video, and data between patients and their doctors, staff, and any external healthcare providers or consultants. When people, systems, and processes are seamlessly connected, the sharing of data is more effective leading to the efficient diagnostic, treatment, and management resulting in better business decisions. Efficiency is achieved when the right information and resources are delivered at the right time to the point of care. High-speed networking that is reliable is embedded in the systems interconnecting all the services of the facility. The information communications technology requirements of a digital hospital are unique, unlike any other smart facility. Digital hospitals need to be run by a team of high-performing medical professionals, administrative staff, and a department of experts who oversee the ICT requirements for day-to-day digital health operations.