Digital Healthcare: The Role of Smart Hospitals

Updated on April 22, 2023
Health care and medical services concept with flat line AR interface.success smart medical doctor with operating room.

Today’s hospitals and healthcare organizations are facing many challenges. The rising cost of supplies and labor, decreasing reimbursement rates, overcrowding, and staffing shortages are all contributing to longer wait times, staff burnout, decreased morale, and turnover. 

One solution to address many of these challenges is healthcare technology innovation. New technology across other industries has altered patient expectations and hospitals need to catch up. By taking a patient-centered approach, harnessing the power of “smart” integration, and cultivating innovation, hospitals and healthcare networks can future-proof themselves and provide patients with a better quality of care. 

Achieving a Patient-Centered Approach

Patient experiences are improved in a smart hospital by giving more autonomy to patients. By leveraging digital technologies and systems, patients can have more control over their own health and healthcare experience. Instead of passively receiving treatment, patients ask for more information and expect to be a part of care choices all while at home and on the go.

With access to their own health information, patients can develop personalized care plans that meet their specific needs and goals. Patients can easily access medical information, communicate with healthcare providers, perform virtual care visits, and schedule appointments and intake through portals and mobile apps.

Inpatients using a simple smart device can easily collaborate with the care team and check test results, as well as manage their surroundings like room lighting, window shades, temperature, entertainment, translation services, and scheduling.  Consequently, nurse call events for these issues are reduced, helping to lower stress, burnout, and, ultimately turnover of clinical staff. 

Enabling remote patient monitoring from the comfort of their own home can also improve patient quality of life. With wearable devices and other technologies, patients can monitor their vital signs, reducing the need for frequent hospital visits. Providing convenience for patients with chronic conditions who may require frequent medical attention allows them to maintain their independence and continue with their daily activities. These benefits transform the way healthcare is delivered and hospital systems make care more patient-centric.

Smart Integration for Improved Care 

Smart integration involves connecting and coordinating various digital systems, devices, and technologies to form an interconnected network. This complexity can sometimes result in higher costs and reduction of quality of care. Increasingly, hospitals are becoming just one component of a larger, interdependent ecosystem that includes multiple other facilities such as primary care providers, clinics, pharmacies, rehabilitation centers, and even the patient’s home.

Successful smart integration requires a combination of technology, process, and cultural change. It requires a comprehensive strategy clearly outlining goals, objectives, and standardized data to ensure that all systems are using the same format. With sensitive health information being stored and shared between multiple systems, it is important to invest in cybersecurity measures that protect against data breaches and unauthorized access to data. It is important to create a culture of collaboration among healthcare providers, both within your hospital and between other healthcare organizations. The goal of smart integration is a secure common platform that enables connecting EHRs, medical devices and health-related applications.  This enables exploring new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and, Machine Learning thus positioning hospitals to become more patient-centered, efficient, and effective healthcare organizations

Cultivating Innovation for an Improved Future

As we look to the future, patients, clinicians, and staff demand a better experience. The goal of digital transformation is to provide better, more efficient, and more accessible healthcare services to patients. Smart hospitals simplify that effort with advanced technologies that require a digital platform to enable the delivery of digital health services.

Building a digital platform is a multifaceted process and an architectural vision that clearly defines goals, and objectives. This vision outlines the building blocks that create a foundation for a simplified multi-cloud operation having security at the foundation. Broadening consumer reach with cloud networking provides flexibility and cost savings for both legacy and modern health systems. Healthcare providers are realizing the potential to deliver on multiple organizational goals such as business resiliency, security, operational efficiency, and improved clinician and patient experience.

VMware is working with healthcare organizations worldwide to build a digital platform for smart hospitals. The result will be a more sustainable, secure, and agile healthcare organization. Learn more about our healthcare IT solutions here. 

Bryan Eubanks
Bryan Eubanks
Bryan Eubanks is Staff Solutions Architect at VMware.