The Hurdles You Could Face with Your Smart Hospital Initiatives
The healthcare industry is transforming. On the one hand, healthcare institutions are building systems and processes to enhance patient-doctor interactions and make healthcare reachable and affordable. On the other hand, patients are also much more involved in their health and demand a certain level of experience form their healthcare providers.
To offer enhanced patient-care care without increasing the costs, the healthcare industry is adopting smart healthcare solutions that leverage the power of the latest technological innovations. This disruptive paradigm shift is urging the medical fraternity to roll-up their sleeves and be prepared to welcome a new way of working driven by technology.
However, the journey towards smart hospitals is not a cakewalk. Hospitals can face a few hurdles along the way. But once you are aware of these challenges, it is easy to tackle those.
Let’s take a look at these challenges –
Lack of Management Buy-In
Any major initiative has to be supported by top management. The lack of buy-in by a bureaucratized and hierarchical management may show resistance in being adaptive and agile. Lack of clear mandate for change can deplete the speed at which things actually need to progress. Also, the absence of a clear roadmap by the management can be responsible for slowing down the progress.
Leaders should be willing to manage and adopt change and take initiatives to create a futuristic vision for their hospital and employees. Only then it is possible to create a more synchronized team of professionals that can deliver better and accelerated outcomes.
Poorly Defined Scope
Before starting to implement technologies, hospitals need to first identify their business goals and challenges and then agree on the solutions to address those. Defining the scope for smart hospital initiatives becomes an important step. Here, all the stakeholders need to define their priorities, budgets and define KPIs for the measurement of success or failures.
The breadth and depth of the entire project are always going to be exhaustive, and a poorly defined scope can create a lot of challenges when it comes to setting up the infrastructure, facilities, hiring experts, budgets, and, most importantly, in adopting and implementing technology.
These challenges could be resolved with a strategic roadmap that defines a clear scope of the project, highlighting the major and important objectives of the initiative. This scope should also define the budgets, the devices, medical staff-training, as well as the creation of supporting documents for the patients’ understanding of advanced healthcare facilities.
Inability to Evaluate Technology Solutions
One of the biggest hurdles in smart hospital initiatives could be technology itself. It means, even if one knows the power and value that technology is capable of offering, it isn’t enough to realize its potential. A deeper understanding of the choice of technology, whether it is AI, IoT, Data, and the capabilities of these technologies in the context of smarter healthcare facilities, is very crucial.
The lack of understanding can create a gap in acquiring technology and implementing the same for the relevant use cases. The one-size-fits-all philosophy cannot work when it is about combining the two powerful dynamics, such as healthcare and technology.
To eliminate this hurdle, one needs to understand the relation between technology and healthcare and how exactly technology can help augment healthcare. Hospitals need help from experts who can understand the business challenges and the possible technology solutions that can address those challenges. For instance, AI is a very powerful technology. But someone needs to make a call on whether to use it for increasing operational efficiencies or for better patient connect or both.
Improper Design and Implementation
The transition to a smart hospital is challenging because it could mean a complete transformation of existing workflows and technologies. An unclear understanding of objectives might lead to poor design and implementation of solutions.
To ensure that the design and implementation of the smart hospital initiatives is right, hospitals need to ensure that –
- They select the right use cases
- They choose the right technology
- They have an expert team on board to design and implement the solutions
- They have a proper implementation roadmap that does not interfere with day-to-day operations
- They have a robust plan for user training
- They have a system in place to gather feedback and measure the impact for continuous improvement
Resistance from Users
Every change brings in some resistance. The same is true with the smart hospital initiatives as well. Hospitals may experience hesitation in using the latest technology by the hospital staff and doctors. To ensure acceptance and increase the usage, here are a few suggestions –
- Involve the key stakeholders in the planning phase and make them the champions
- Explain to the users how the new technologies can make their work simpler, help them improve their productivity, and enhance outcomes
- Organize regular training programs for the users to help them make use of the technology
- Provide ongoing, instant support
- Gather feedback and improve the systems based on that
For your smart hospital initiative to deliver on its promises, you need to execute the initiative as a comprehensive strategy instead of looking at it as the implementation of new technologies. Involve the key stakeholders, map the initiative to real business use cases, hire experts to help you make the right technology choices, define a phase-wise implementation plan, provide training, and regularly measure the effectiveness.
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