With so much technology at our fingertips these days, it’s surprising that more hospitals haven’t implemented the most promising innovations already. Many people wonder why it is that in an industry benefitting so much from technological advancement, the adoption of new technology is very slow.
Part of this is for safety reasons. The latest medical devices might be better than the old standbys, but new technology needs to be deemed absolutely safe before a hospital will pay top dollar and use it on their patients. There are also legal concerns, especially surrounding privacy and malpractice.
But one of the most common challenges to implementation is simply logistics. How do you turn a traditional hospital into a “smart” hospital? How do you ensure patient safety and privacy while making sure that all of the moving parts that are required in daily operations keep moving? Here’s how to make the transition to a smart hospital with as few hiccups as possible.
Educate Staff and Leadership on Smart Hospital Components
Smart hospitals rely on interconnected systems of technology to track people and resources. Many mundane but necessary tasks like laundry and meal delivery are automated, freeing up personnel for tasks that require human attention.
In order to ensure that your hospital will run smoothly after implementation, it’s important to start at the top. You need to make sure that your leaders are on board and understand both the vision for the hospital and their role. It’s important to outline all of the changes and components that will be necessary to make the transition.
Once leadership is on board, other staff members must go through the same training process. This takes some time, but training people on their roles and the expectations for each person before implementation is key.
Invest in Technology and Protocols
Creating a smart hospital is a big investment. The hospital will need to acquire new equipment and technology that is able to connect via a secure network. Therefore, it’s important to invest not only in the technology itself but in the personnel and protocols that will be needed to keep things running smoothly.
Cybersecurity is an extremely important factor in smart hospital implementation. Medical data is sensitive and protected by law, and any hacker that manages to breach the hospital’s network could pose a serious threat. You must invest in the necessary technology and take strong security measures to protect the organization and patients.
Create Opportunities for Digital Communication, Storage, and Collaboration
Everything is stored digitally in a smart hospital environment. For successful implementation, you must ensure that it’s easy for staff members to communicate with one another, collaborate, and record crucial data. Using mobile devices, modern workspaces, and even sensors will help to facilitate these communication opportunities while keeping data safe.
Communicate Upcoming Changes to Patients
Staff training is key in smart hospital implementation, but you also need to think about who else will be affected by the changes: patients. It’s important to communicate and to be transparent with patients about what will be happening and what they can expect.
People are wary of change and don’t like surprises when it comes to their healthcare providers. You can help to ease patients’ minds by communicating with them well in advance and welcoming any questions they might have.
Some of the changes might just involve how people check into the hospital. Others might include the use of wearables for some patients and shifts in the patient experience. As soon as you’re sure of the changes, get your patients on board so they know what to expect.
Expand Treatment to Personalized and Holistic Healthcare
Fragmented healthcare can lead to errors and poorer outcomes for patients. Smart hospitals enable a more holistic and complete picture of a patient’s health and can allow for greater wellness, personalization, and transparency. This is something you should emphasize in your implementation plan—using technology to allow for greater collaboration among healthcare professionals and improved wellness among patients.
Many patients are excited to move toward a preventative model of medicine, which can be supported by smart hospitals, but they might be wary of the new policies and procedures. As you navigate the process of implementation, remember that although staff and patients may have concerns about the new way of doing things, smart hospitals are ultimately designed to improve the patient experience, overall outcomes, and to make the delivery of healthcare services more efficient.