Do Smart Hospitals Need Smart Buildings?
According to research from HIS Markit, healthcare is going to be the second-largest global market for building management system platforms and connected equipment by 2020. There will be a total consolidated revenue of about USD 1.9. Billion.
The main factors for this growth are the high construction rates for various upcoming projects in the world, combined with the increasing demand for high-quality healthcare providers, especially for the aged populace.
So, how do the smart hospital buildings work?
The answer is straightforward. The infrastructure for these buildings includes software that depends on data from connected devices and the building management system platforms. At the core of these technologies lies the philosophy of offering patient-centric care and comfort and adhering to the highest quality of operations.
Compare this with the traditional hospitals, which are riddled with several challenges. Without having the right infrastructure to deal with the changing times and needs of patients, their operating costs are always on the higher end.
Let’s delve into some of the sure-shot benefits of the smart buildings and why they are crucial for the hospitals of the future.
Smart Tracking of Assets
Asset tracking is one of the critical aspects of hospital operations, which, if not handled well, can create bottlenecks and reduce the efficiency of the workflow. Smart building technologies make it possible to track assets using the Internet of Things technology. For instance, hospital staff can use mobile apps to find out all the supplies that need to be restocked and identify where exactly a particular asset is at any given point in time. This is enabled using RFID, sensors present in various parts of the hospital, and Bluetooth-based asset tracking technologies. Another example is that of smart bedsin the hospital buildings. These help the health care providers offer instant care to patients by remotely monitoring their vital statistics and accessing the data on the go.
Smart buildings enable hospitals to make smarter decisions about their energy utilization without compromising on patient comfort. For instance, with smart sensors, hospitals can take a call about energy consumption depending on the critical room occupancy data. Such real-time data can help the stakeholders know how to optimize energy consumption by saving the energy that is usually spent on lighting, heating, and cooling the empty rooms. The rooms can be prepared before and after a patient has received care, thus ensuring that the patient’s rest time is not disrupted.
Smart hospital buildings also leverage the power of various technologies such as IoT and cloud-based systems to reduce their energy costs. For instance, they can use the data procured from various use-cases to analyze and identify the core areas to conserve energy. The system can help them predict how much energy the facility can save, and which energy conservation measure will be the most appropriate for them to reduce the costs further.
Patient safety in hospitals is not just limited to making sure that the patients have access to the best facilities and healthcare professionals. It also translates to uninterrupted access to power. This is because, in some cases, it can be a matter of life and death. Smart hospital buildings are equipped with reliable power supply 24/7. This helps sustain the life support machines, various diagnostic equipment, and other medical equipment. Also, think of a situation where there is a natural calamity. In that event, the smart building will be equipped to make changes such as automatic lockdowns or guiding patients towards the safety exits and so on. Smart technology also enables restricted access to sensitive areas so that only authorized persons can enter the facility during a specified timeframe.
Real-Time Data Sharing
Smart healthcare buildings collect real-time data from the patients on the go. This enables the transfer of crucial data, such as personal health records of the patients. The data is fed into the hospital’s system even before the patient arrives on the premises, making the diagnosis quick and lowering the wait time. This step is also crucial for claims and payment processes.
More often than not, hospitals face labor shortages or are understaffed during say, the holiday periods. Smart buildings utilize technology that can help address this gap by automating the core processes and reducing errors. This reduces the time spent on many of the time-consuming manual processes, and therefore, the staff can focus more on spending time with patients and offer more quality-care.
Better Patient Experience
The smart hospital buildings can also boast of various facilities and options to deliver a stellar patient experience. This could include things like mobile apps to guide the patients through the facility, guidance on how to avoid queues, find the parking spot quickly, faster patient registration through interactive kiosks, and smooth payment processing.
With the world population slated to grow to 9.6 billion by 2050, hospital infrastructure definitely needs to get smarter to accommodate the needs of the growing and aging populace. The smart healthcare buildings can use technology to offer the best of patient care, improve their bottom lines, and increase patient satisfaction. Right now, it is a steady work in progress but has many takers, who are ready to embrace the change.