The term “smart hospitals” is nothing new in healthcare, but new technologies are helping take this slowly building trend to a new peak. Electronic health record (EHR) adoption in the hospital is at an all-time high—with 96% of hospitals using this technology. Beyond clinical systems, hospitals are now becoming smarter with how they utilize technology to become more efficient (smarter) and provide better care.
The Beginning of the Smart Hospitals Movement
As far back as the 2012 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, “smart” healthcare was already a key subject of discussion, especially in the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion where interoperability and early meaningful use standards were central topics. RFID chips, intelligent alarm servers, and early interoperability dominated the show floor as industry leaders looked for ways to bring smart technologies into the hospital space.
Over the last five years, the number of “smart” options available and adoption of these technologies have continued to rise. Asset tracking in the hospital is more important than ever before, as hospital costs climb and profit margins become increasingly narrow. While hospitals are becoming smarter in all areas, resource utilization is one that holds the most promise for making a measurable financial impact.
Exploring Today’s Hospitals
A walk through some of today’s hospitals affords a look at some of the most innovative technologies in use. From artificial intelligence programs that enhance clinical care, to analytics tools that run in the background to help prevent medication theft, clinical teams are now supported by an army of tools that enable them to provide better care for patients.
In both pharmacy and nursing areas, the need for automation is high, and the time to implement solutions is now, as hospitals work to improve their margins and clinical care ratings. However, some hospitals attempting to become “smart” by adopting the latest automation and digitization tools struggle to determine the right steps to integrate solutions and align workflows for optimal results. Improper alignment can result in the counterproductive introduction of new technologies, which can derail achieving desired efficiency results.
By using the right technology to introduce efficiencies into pharmacy and nursing, hospitals can create better cohesion between these departments. As a result, medication distribution workflows can be simplified, helping to remove inefficient or redundant steps from this process. Ultimately this benefits the patient, as these saved minutes can be returned to clinical care.
Recognizing the Value of Smart Hospitals Technology
Throughout the industry, “smart” technologies are being recognized as an important part of daily clinical operations. Frost & Sullivan recently instituted an award for the Global Smart Hospitals’ Automation Vendor Company of the Year and named Omnicell as the recipient for its powerful portfolio of solutions.
Regardless of what technologies you choose to implement, becoming “smarter” can enable more time and resources to be directed to patient care, where both hospitals and patients will benefit.