The total market value for smart hospitals was $30B in 2021. If current trends hold, the smart hospital market is expected to reach $147.5B by 2029. The most prominent factors driving the evolution of hospitals and the healthcare software development boom are the threat of another pandemic, the global rise of health costs, and rising consumer expectations.
Today, smart hospitals are taking a holistic approach to infrastructure modernization by integrating digital and physical assets in a unified framework. Doing so helps medical institutions automate and streamline internal workflows and patient care.
Smart hospital benefits allow care providers to automate their routine tasks and devote more time and attention to patients. This, in turn, helps drive patient engagement while improving the quality of understanding and interactions between doctor and patient. As a result, patients understand the treatment process better than ever and have a clearer idea about their progress.
How to establish a digital-first hospital
The concept of smart hospitals requires the use of advanced technologies that are able to optimize and automate workflows, improve existing procedures, and support new and alternative models of treatment and care.
Enhancing and streamlining workflows includes front-, middle- and back-office activities such as virtual care models, digital-first user experiences, automated supply chain and digital inventory management, and enterprise resource planning.
Smart hospitals rely on digital hospital architecture and smart health service features:
- Highly personalized, holistic care that is driven by data
- Smart imaging and early diagnosis through Al
- Virtual care models and loT technologies
- On-demand access to shared resources and an interdependent ecosystem
- Seamless patient flow
- Seamless supply chain and inventory management
The path to becoming a smart service organization varies from one hospital to another. For new-build institutions, it’s better to pursue a modern, future-oriented and agile design approach that can stay relevant for the next 10-20 years. It is worth considering a phased transition to new technologies for hospitals with already established systems. This includes redesigning care models, partnerships with other companies, and automating operational activities and processes.
Technologies that enable a fast and agile transition to smart hospitals
Smart hospitals require advanced technology to improve customer care delivery. They also need to connect their organization to the broader healthcare delivery ecosystem and drive patient centricity across all care environments. A fundamental tech stack of a smart hospital is comprised of:
- AI and intelligent automation: Smarter front-, middle- and back-office processes drive better patient experiences, productivity, and outcomes.
- Virtual care: Interactive consultations between patient and clinician or clinicians via voice, video, or both allows for real-time communications from any location.
- IoT and smart sensors: These tools enable connectivity between different departments within a hospital and the extended health ecosystem. Wearables and sensors allow for collecting and broadcasting real-time patient data to a central organizing platform.
- Robots, drones, and 3-D printing: These tools support highly accurate medical procedures and optimize the deployment of the human workforce while improving the speed and availability of care across the supply chain.
- Augmented reality: Immersive learning, workforce training, and creating a virtual world for complex procedures enhances medical care and the patient healing process.
What’s behind the tech
Before planning their smart health transformation, healthcare leaders should think on:
- Considering current technological maturity, what opportunities does your institution have to personalize, automate, and streamline services and ensure current and future enhancement of those processes?
- Where are your opportunities to take costs out of your operations through the automation of manual processes?
- What is the best way to agree on a design experience with patients, caregivers, employees, and community partners to create the best vision for your institution’s success?
These points are crucial to answer because while advanced technology is the single enabler of the transformation, a hospital management system development is not just a technology project. This journey means taking into account internal challenges, strong change management, and executive leadership.
An institution’s path to leveraging the concept of a digital-first hospital involves the participation of all stakeholders: management, physicians, nurses, staff, and ecosystem partners. Their vision and plans should be accompanied by technology and tools that specifically satisfy the needs of the institution.