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What is the ‘Smart Hospital’ Concept and Why is it So Important?

smart hospital concept
Image created by Rudy Chidiac. © Open Medical 2024. All Rights Reserved

The traditional healthcare model can’t keep up with increasing demand and complexity. There needs to be a change, and soon.

This is where the concept of a 'smart hospital' comes into play.

Based on insights from Open Medical's Director of International Strategy, Moh Thudor MBA ME BSc., this article explores the important concept of the smart hospital and how it can be established.

What is a 'smart hospital'?

The term refers to hospitals that leverage innovative technology to enhance patient care, streamline clinical decision-making, and boost operational efficiency. This would include the use of technology to automate patient pathways by digitising the workflow and using data captured to improve operations.

It’s important to note, however, that there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, a smart hospital thrives on a digital ecosystem where various tech solutions coexist, interacting seamlessly to deliver superior patient care.

So, how do these technologies transform a hospital into a 'smart' one?

The role of technology

  1. Advanced automation: Going beyond routine task automation, these technologies can automate complex activities such as risk stratification for patient prioritisation or using data to automatically identify patients at risk of specific illnesses.

  2. Granular data capture: The technologies should be capable of capturing detailed data. This data, accessible in real-time, fuels improvements in clinical decision-making and broader service planning and allows for personalised care plans.

  3. Connectivity: The solutions should connect departments and hospitals across regions and even countries, breaking down fragmentation and enabling the sharing of best practices.

Overall, the right technologies allow the establishment of robust digital infrastructure, which healthcare organisations can build upon, leading to the creation of a 'smart hospital.'

But the transition to a smart hospital requires more than just technological upgrades. It requires a shift in mindset, moving from a reactive to a proactive and preventative approach to healthcare.

Putting theory into practice

When deciding on digital solutions, there has to be more focus on value addition, ensuring a return on investment, rather than simply focusing on the initial cost. It's about thinking long-term and implementing solutions that address current problems while being equipped to handle future challenges. So the focus should be placed on solutions that are scalable and adaptable because healthcare needs are constantly changing.

However, adoption is perhaps the most important aspect of a successful transition. Healthcare organisations must be ready to invest in change management plans and training for their staff. After all, the most innovative digital solution won't make a difference if it isn't used properly or at all.

The future of healthcare lies in smart hospitals becoming the standard, not the exception. The journey from traditional to smart hospitals may be challenging, but it promises to transform patient care and operational efficiency. The road to this reality may be challenging, but the rewards are undeniably worth it.


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