The patient has become a consumer of healthcare.

This concept was alien to the healthcare industry for the longest time. The advent of globalization has also put hospitals under tremendous pressure – to increase patient-centricity, reduce operational costs, increase efficiencies and improve patient outcomes.

A move towards digital technologies was a natural response to address and accommodate these changes. And then we witnessed the rise of the sensor network and technologies such as IoT that promised to unleash a wave of efficiency in this ecosystem. We were ready to welcome the age of Healthcare 2.0 driven by smart systems, devices, and technologies.

But, was this enough?

You can only manage what you can measure

The truth is, singular and siloed applications don’t quite serve any purpose. While digitization has reached hospitals, to be a Smart Hospital, you have to possess the ability to provide valuable insight into service – something that was not available earlier. And that insight resides in the data generated in this digitized ecosystem and the capability to generate insight from information through continuous analysis.

Data, insight, and access are three essential components of the Smart Hospital framework. While data is collected from several sources and systems, it is not necessarily integrated to deliver smart insights. To enable the hospital to function as a smart machine you need to leverage these diverse data sources and employ real-time analytics to support decision-making capabilities, augment patient care and maximize outcomes at every relevant touchpoint.

It is only when we are able to make intelligent applications of data derived insights can healthcare move towards becoming value-based….and become truly smart in the broadest sense of the term.

When it comes to operational intelligence, what are the sources of data that contribute towards creating this value-driven ecosystem? Let’s take a look –

Patient Data

The quality of information has a direct impact on the quality of care. Patient data is not just a goldmine of information but is a great tool to understand risks, diseases, improve patient safety, design care plans and make healthcare more proactive. Collective patient information is vital to improving population health, developing new treatments, reducing readmission rates and improving patient outcomes.

This patient data resides in, registrations and discharge information, HL7 trigger events and in the several transitions of care that transpire in a patients’ journey. This data is helping healthcare become more preventive and personalized and is improving communication and enhancing health outcomes. With a 360-degree view of patients by integrating patient data from all available sources, healthcare organizations are improving patient engagement with predictive modeling and analysis. They are also being able to understand physician activity and align them with the organization’s goals and make informed, high-impact decisions based on data insights.

Clinical Data

Clinical data resides in several places in the Smart Hospital network and is a great source of operational intelligence. With access to data from EHR’s, laboratories, pharmacy, medical imaging, PHM, ED, telemedicine and helps the entire smart hospital network improve its situational awareness.

The ability to access and analyze clinical data helps the smart hospital environment become more adaptive. It then develops the capabilities to evolve with changing needs and circumstances.

With access to data from this environment, hospitals can proactively improve the internal logistics of their mobile assets, the medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, consumable inventory, etc. as well as gain greater control over their human assets. These insights improve and augment the utilization of existing resources, remove bottlenecks, improve efficiencies and thereby create more revenue opportunities.

Clinical Operations

One of the roles that data plays in a smart hospital is that of the facilitator. Data helps balance resources with demand, optimize workflows and mitigate waste. The entire clinical operation network in the smart hospital is a veritable information utopia. You can generate and assimilate information from Smart patient rooms, nurse call stations, IPC, CC&C environment.

These sources of information contribute to better resource management and help in improving patient outcomes. With smart patient room monitoring the hospital network can optimize bed management. They can have better infection control. They can improve infant protection. They can improve how the patient is monitored etc. All of these things contribute to the overall efficiency of the hospital environment that have a direct impact on patient outcomes.

Facilities and Others

Along with the usual suspects, you can get operational intelligence from some other sources as well. The IoHT (Internet of Healthcare Things) is expanding and is delivering tangible benefits from the wealth of data it generates. Wearable devices, ingestible nanotechnology, location and behavior monitors, implanted devices, clinical attachments to mobile phones, “smart” equipment, miniaturized imaging modalities, etc. are all emerging as clinically relevant data points. The other contributors here are the supply chain, CRM, environmental monitoring, wayfinding, etc.

By tapping into the data generated from this ecosystem, you can improve the ability to track non-human assets ably. This helps to:

  • Manage and schedule assets and resources
  • Optimize supply chain management
  • Enable preventive asset management
  • Make the hospital environment safer by patient movement tracking, way-finding and movement monitoring (including fall detection)
  • Optimize clinical staff workflow
  • Enable better compliance monitoring
  • Enhance bio-surveillance capabilities
  • Improve infection and disease identification and control

All these use cases help to preemptively identify and predict medical events and provide timely interventions and also make the entire hospital environment driven by efficiency.

It also helps to mitigate waste and contain and lower costs. It is with the help of this data that we can completely redefine care delivery and usher in the new age of healthcare – one that is optimized and resistant to waste.