Healthcare Going Forward And Digitization

With our healthcare systems becoming the forefront of our focus over the years, a focus on how things are going and what need to be addressed. Combine this with the rapid wave of digitization that has washed over every industry and sector of business, one can’t help but ask what the future holds for healthcare as well.

Technology evolves at a rapid pace and with looming necessity for innovation to patch the holes left by the pandemic or shortcomings discovered in building operations or business processes, healthcare could look very different in the coming decade. Network connectivity with the internet of things (IoT) and the range of functionality that automation and IWMS platforms have brought to the table can elevate day to day operations. 

Emerging technologies 

Digitization efforts in most industries have their roadblocks and hills to climb, with difficulty integrating digital tools and reluctancy to change. Coupled with the learning curve of new systems or technologies and it is unsurprising that an area such as healthcare could be hesitant to integrating digital technologies that could disrupt the current flow of life-saving work. 

However, this hasn’t prevented healthcare technology from evolving, and there is a growing acceptance towards the advent of digital healthcare and the use of AI in hospitals. Notable examples are the use of cloud computing and IoT networks in hospitals – combined with cloud computing, IoT allows for hospitals to store information across multiple devices and networks. Real-time data collection allows for more efficient and accurate telemedicine practices as well as wearable technology for patients who may not have direct access to the hospital. 

Green Healthcare 

Sustainability practices and “green” healthcare is a common theme as of late, as with many industries as we look to overhaul our relationship with the environment. Hospitals are actually large producers of carbon emissions and produce large amounts of waste materials, so initiatives that can address this are paramount. 

Working to achieve “green” certification requires energy, lighting, heat and air circulation to all be adjusted and systems upgraded to sustainable ones with outputs and systems in place that can help hit target levels. This is especially tricky to do in a healthcare setting as there are certain systems that need to be adjusted for patient care like air circulation and temperature as well. Things like natural light, recycling programs for waste, and new ventilation systems all make a significant impact. 

Attention to detail; design 

Designing hospitals to not only accommodate the work that will be done inside but also to fit environmentally sustainable practices, all while keeping patients comfortable and looked after with basic amenities.  

Namely following the pandemic, designs of hospitals going forward will undoubtedly adhere to lessons learned along the way such as using IWMS to track space management in waiting rooms and smart technology for the ICU and patient care. Using this kind of lessons learned can prevent from encountering the same problems twice such as overcrowding.  

Data Analysis in Healthcare  

When envisioning practices such as healthcare benefitting from data analysis technology and digital networks, it can turn into somewhat of a rabbit hole of thinking. How can AI and data help when a doctor is the one ultimately making decisions?  

The answer places AI and data analysis technology in a secondary role rather than a primary one; we will not be having surgeries performed by robotic or AI practitioners like is seen in futuristic movies. However, their assistance in hospitals will be welcome nonetheless. This technology is being integrated already with the advent of telemedicine and an increased need for access to patient records since there are some who may not be able to access a hospital and their records must be on file or can only see their practitioner via webcam, virtual recognition software for certain diagnoses has begun use in limited fashion, paving the way for future advancements.  

Automation in Healthcare  

Automated practices will be a step up from the healthcare practices we see now, as automation and AI can increase capabilities and streamline current positions, leaving people to focus on other things while AI and automated technology take some of the load off. 

The obvious use for automated technology comes in the form of patient diagnosis and monitoring. Nurses spend most of their time checking in and monitoring patients, and with automation could now offload some monitoring burdens as well as administrative ones. From hormone monitoring to cost prediction for care that can be reviewed with nurses or staff should there be any issues, eliminating human error while optimizing practices and leaving staff to review results rather than having to both record and review information. 

IWMS and Healthcare 

Moving to the physical structures of hospitals where IWMS technology can help to shape what hospitals of the future look like from a facility standpoint, giving facilities managers and operations staff the chance to monitor and optimize systems.  

Hospitals are a meticulously crafted built environment where levels of air quality, heat, lighting and more are designed to sit at certain levels for patient care as well as overall hygiene to be at optimal levels. With the integration of an IWMS the monitoring of these systems such as ventilation can be done with ease and prevent critical downtime for maintenance that could adversely affect operations.  

Further, combining an IWMS such as Archibus with digital twin technology like Autodesk can create a comprehensive digital network for staff to monitor operations and patient care throughout the building at their fingertips.  

We’re a while away from robots performing surgeries, but the digitization of healthcare is coming and will streamline operations for practitioners in the years to come, shouldering some of the extensive load they have been faced with. From patient check-ins to monitoring air quality and floor planning for space management, the future of healthcare is digital and efficient following years that have been anything but.