Smart hospitals are the ones that optimize, redesign or build new clinical processes, management systems and potentially even infrastructure, enabled by underlying digitized networking infrastructure of interconnected assets, to provide a valuable service or insight which was not possible or available earlier, to achieve better patient care, experience and operational efficiency. A critical component for smart hospitals is the ability to provide a valuable service of insight, which was simply not possible or available earlier. This is what makes a hospital a step further from being just digital, making it truly smart. Simply digitizing, or making the hospital paperless, although a great achievement, is not sufficient.
Dr Raja Dutta, the co-founder and Director of Avisa Smart Hospitals, which claims to have transformed a few hospitals in India and the UAE into smart hospitals with adoption of digital technology and automation. It holds the potential to transform unsustainable healthcare systems into sustainable ones, that too with enhanced efficiency and growth prospects. “Digital technology could help transform unsustainable healthcare systems into sustainable ones with increased operational efficiency and growth, equalize the relationship between medical professionals and patients, and provide cheaper, faster and more effective solutions for diseases,” Dr Dutta said, adding that as the healthcare ecosystem is ever-evolving, there is an earnest need of a novel connected health model like the one followed by Avisa.
When asked as to what exactly goes behind the transformation of hospitals into smart ones, Dr Dutta pointed that the quest for smart hospitals is not merely restricted to the integration of a few tech-based tools, rather it is about maximizing the overall hospital efficiency in all respects. “To turn this idea into reality, we at Avisa have developed an Operate & Manage Model wherein we along with complete operation and management of a hospital, also deploy required manpower and resources from ground level staffs to experienced professionals, medical equipments with latest technologies, well-maintained supply chain and marketing tools etc to ensure that the performance is maximized in all aspects. We have already converted five hospitals into smart hospitals and have targeted to transform at least 20 more by the end of this year. We usher the transformation through a combination of tools and services such as AVISA Smart HealthApp, Smart Pharmacy and Smart Labs & Diagnostics. Moreover, it has opened up a new vista in healthcare by digitally connecting clinicians to clinicians, patients to clinicians and patients to other patients,” said Dr Dutta.
Echoing the sentiments is Nishant Gupta, the founder of Gurugram-based Medharbour Hospital, who feels that the transformation from hospital to smart hospital is quite revolutionary in more ways than one. According to Gupta, who happens to have more than a decade worth experience in hospital management, said, “Transforming a hospital into a smart hospital is effectively revolutionary at multiple levels, including financial, operational as well as human. With digitization as the key, smart hospitals resultantly ensure enhanced patient experience, lower infection risks, improving satisfaction levels and optimizing energy and staff. The operational efficiency of a hospital can be ascertained by its bed turnaround rate, and it gets significantly improved with adoption of smart solutions. From diagnoses, clinical assessments, tests, admission to discharge and post-admission consultations, everything is more systematic, streamlined and indeed better in a smart hospital.”
Amit Kumar Gandhi, the founder of NovelVox, which has been providing omni-channel communication and contact center solutions to the healthcare sector, opines that “a hospital would not be smart in the true sense of the term unless its frontline communication is bolstered with the help of the right forms and subsets of technology”.
He adds, “For example, a hospital needs unified agent desktops for its contact center agents to be integrated to EMR, EHR, other key applications and databases, offering a single view for all data and services. There are various things that healthcare agents need to manage like appointment management, viewing patient information, outpatient details, surgery schedule etc. To manage all these things, agents have to toggle between multiple screens but Unified Agent Desktop connects all the disparate data sources and makes it easier for the agent to navigate in a single ‘pane’ with all the integrated information.”
To sum it up, a smart hospital must handle three areas – operations, clinical tasks, and patient centricity. Building automation technologies, smart asset maintenance and management solutions, improved internal logistics of mobile assets, pharmaceutical, medical device, supplies and consumables inventory, and control over personnel flow can all help improve operational efficiency. Also, When patient flow bottlenecks are resolved, efficiency improves, allowing more patients to be ‘processed’ through the system, resulting in more revenue prospects at lower costs.