Building the Smart Hospital of the Future

Updated on June 17, 2024
Health care and medical services concept with flat line AR interface.success smart medical doctor with operating room.

The healthcare industry is undergoing a radical digital transformation, with hospitals adopting smart technologies to drive innovation and deliver better patient outcomes. According to IDC, global digital transformation spending is projected to be $3.9 trillion by 2027, with the healthcare industry expecting a five-year compound annual growth rate of 19%.

In order to reach the next level of digital transformation, hospitals are now actively considering adopting Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in order to collect, contextualize and analyze valuable digital data. Data is the cornerstone of success or failure when it comes to patient care and the most valuable asset for organizations today. It paves the way for smoother progress towards comprehensive IIoT evolution, complete digital transformation, and AI strategies for improved operations.

For healthcare professionals, understanding the location and condition of critical assets or OR conditions is key to providing efficient, accurate, and optimized services to patients. With IoT applications and smart technologies, hospitals can quickly locate medical devices, monitor operating and patient rooms, ensure proper environmental conditions, and manage surgical inventory throughout the hospital. As a result, healthcare providers will save significant time by eliminating the need to manually track assets and be empowered to focus more directly on delivering better patient care. IoT application technologies will prove to be a significant competitive advantage for smart hospitals that decide to embark on their digital transformation journey.

Real-Time Asset Tracking

Real-time asset tracking is essential for optimizing resource allocation and reducing loss within healthcare organizations. By implementing IoT sensors with real-time asset tracking capabilities, healthcare providers can monitor critical equipment such as infusion pumps, patient warming and cooling systems, and resuscitation systems as well as manage surgical inventory and track biological materials with full visibility. Inefficient management of biological materials, such as blood and plasma, can lead to critical issues that negatively impact patient care. With real-time asset tracking technology, users can get granular location and stock counts for where these materials are stacked and stored within the hospital. This level of insight enables them to make informed decisions about resource distribution and minimizes the risk of misplaced or stolen assets. Additionally, by deploying a solution that automatically manages critical inventory such as infusion pumps, surgical tools, resuscitation systems, and high value implants, nurses and doctors can shift their focus on enhancing patient care. 

Conditional Monitoring

Hospitals must remain at a specific temperature, humidity, and air pressure to ensure proper risk control of healthcare-associated infections among staff and patients. Small deviances such as excessive humidity in the operating room or pharmacy could have significant negative impact on patients. However, each facility must adapt according to specific variables such as geographic location, climate variations, and the type, age and condition of HVAC systems being used in the surgery rooms. IoT devices equipped with sensors can automatically track operating and patient room environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and air pressure. This will help healthcare staff monitor room conditions to avoid operating room downtime, ensure patients in the hospital are comfortable, and automate Joint Commission reporting.

Building on Foundational Models

Starting a digital transformation journey and implementing IoT technologies throughout a hospital might seem daunting at first. However, organizations can start with one use case and layer in more applications as needed without any additional infrastructure. Just add a few new IoT sensors and beacons to what needs to be tracked within a specific organization. This will build a comprehensive dataset for the next-generation of analysis to increase hospital productivity and improve patient outcomes. 

Investing in smart hospitals now will allow healthcare professionals to build on foundational models such as Artificial Intelligence and deep learning to optimize patient outcomes, maintain infection control and crucial hygiene conditions. These use cases present an exciting opportunity for the smart hospital of the future, positioning them at the forefront of delivering cutting-edge healthcare solutions to patients worldwide.

Bryan Headshot 5 copy
Bryan Merckling
CEO at Thinaer
Bryan Merckling is CEO of Thinaer.