The healthcare industry is battling with many challenges. The healthcare costs are rising (global health care spending is projected to reach $8.7 trillion by 2020). There is a constant need and demand to improve access to care. There is an increasing involvement of patients in care delivery. Despite all this, the healthcare facilities around the world still employ poor systems – systems that have access to a wealth of resources but are rarely efficiently deployed, resulting in poor and redundant care outcomes. Patients either miss appointments (no-shows cost the medical industry more than $150 billion a year) and frequent clerical errors (roughly $765 billion of medical spending is wasted on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud, and other problems) make healthcare operations less efficient, more expensive to run, and less likely to improve patient health and satisfaction.

That’s where a smart hospital program comes into picture. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies like AI, IoT, cloud, and mobility, hospitals can create smart spaces that streamline clerical tasks, empower patients to make better use of available facilities, and make hospitals and clinics more efficient and effective. My discussions with several healthcare executives have always given rise to in one common question – how can healthcare institutions build their own vision of a smart hospital? Here is my 10-point guide:

  1. Make sense of the new technological landscape: From implementation of Healthcare Information Systems to the use of smart wearables, from telemedicine systems to intelligent data analytics, the first step towards a successful smart hospital program is making sense of the new technological landscape. With investments in digitization of the healthcare sector rising 20% every year, you need to automate and update existing operations and driving efficiency across your organization.
  2. Drive commitment from the top: A successful smart hospital program requires commitment from the top management. Institutions that simply embrace innovative technology will achieve far less than those that commit to a concerted organizational approach. Ensure the program is led by a team of senior IT managers that can efficiently allocate budget, clear targets linked to cost containment, and enhance patient experience.
  3. Rethink capabilities: Implementing a smart hospital program requires you to fundamentally rethink several key capabilities internally. Assess how the program will drive the enterprise architecture approach – including clinical and non-clinical operations – and how modern technology will boost current capabilities and care outcomes.
  4. Create a learning organization: A smart hospital program cannot spring to action overnight; it requires you to establish a culture that motivates your staff to continually update their capabilities and get accustomed to new technologies that transform traditional ways of working.
  5. Get smart: A smart hospital program starts with smart technology; integrated, modern workspaces that intelligently integrate the physical and digital world to maximize healthcare outcomes while boosting team productivity. Make use of IoT and AI-enabled devices for collecting and using information about individuals, systems, applications, devices, and workspaces and drive better healthcare outcomes.
  6. Enable digital collaboration: Mobile technology lies at the crux of any smart hospital program. Using mobile technology, patients can make appointments, doctors can view patient EHRs, and hospital staff can keep collaborate efficiently with their team.
  7. Leverage mobile apps: With mHealth market expected to be valued at around $58.8 billion, the capabilities are enormous. Mobile apps can enable patients to make appointments and even cancel or reschedule appointments automatically if they are running late. Patients and hospitals can keep track of medical records, forms, and bills in a single location and easily store, organize, edit, and reference their medical history.
  8. Digitalize wayfinding: One of the best ways to enable a smart hospital program is by digitalizing wayfinding. Smart facility management operations can guide patients or visitors to an available parking spot and lead them through the maze to the proper department, and even to the shortest reception line. Patients can receive forms in advance, and head straight to the prescheduled room saving valuable time.
  9. Make the most of smart wearables: Smart wearables are an integral part of any smart hospital program; by measuring things like heart rate and blood pressure, they enable patients to take care of their own health, and help doctors unearth insights about both individual patients and populations that can enhance patient care and accelerate lifesaving research.
  10. Enable smart asset tracking: Hospitals looking to embark on the smart hospital journey can make use of technology to track and refurbish assets; by connecting all devices to an IoT ecosystem, hospitals can identify and report the location and utilization of hospital equipment, reduce downtime, and synchronize treatment schedules. Hospitals can also carry out predictive maintenance activities of critical hospital equipment, track bottlenecks and service slowdowns, repair or replace equipment in time, and improve performance.

Transform the care process

Building a smart hospital is more than investing in modern technology and connected devices. It requires you to rethink care processes, management systems, and physical facilities to drive a new way of delivering care. By leveraging modern technology, you can not only facilitate a team-based care model to be spread across a network of departments but can also help care processes to be shifted out of the hospital setting and into people’s homes. If you are looking to drive a successful smart hospital program, it is important you build a learning organization that leverages technology strategy design and adoption across your healthcare organization.