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December 12, 2022

Smart Hospitals: The Future of Healthcare?

What will hospitals be like in 10 years’ time and in 20 years’ time? It is a great unknown that worries the sector but is already taking shape as medical centers seek new ways to improve their productivity, reduce costs and provide the best care to patients. Innovative solutions are being developed that integrate process automation, data analysis, mixed reality care, and artificial intelligence services to make these hospitals of the future a reality.

Intelligent hospital solutions are being redefined, and these are the main highlights.

What is a Smart Hospital?

A smart hospital is a medical center that optimizes, redesigns or builds new clinical processes, management systems, and infrastructure enabled by a digitized network.

These smart hospitals maximize productivity, provide greater patient satisfaction, offer more flexibility and reduce ever-increasing costs.

Some of the key characteristics of a smart hospital are:

  • Hyperconnected
  • Anthropocentric
  • High reliability
  • Interoperability
  • Participatory
  • Agile
  • Quality by design

Benefits of Smart Hospitals

Smart hospitals provide their patients with connected care that seeks to provide the best medical care thanks to technology. Some of its main benefits are:

  • Real-time access to data: large volumes of data can be converted into useful information to accelerate decision-making, provide more personalized care, and reduce costs.
  • Data security: protecting this data is critical, so a smart approach to security ensures patient privacy and enables hospitals to comply with standards.
  • Connected care: smart hospitals can integrate with specialized clinics or other medical professionals so that patients receive the proper care when and where they need it. This is reflected in an improved experience, automated workflows, and connectivity between devices, systems, and people.
  • Sustainability: buildings, platforms, and equipment are designed to be sustainable, scalable, and flexible, minimizing maintenance costs and extending their useful life.

Smart Hospital Technology

By 2030 there are expected to be more than 8.5 billion people worldwide, so healthcare systems will need to adapt and improve to cope with this growing demand and meet increasingly demanding patient expectations.

Smart hospitals are taking a holistic approach to modernizing their infrastructure, where they are integrating digital and physical assets into a unified framework.

Artificial Intelligence and Smart Hospitals

The healthcare industry has been an early adopter of Artificial Intelligence solutions to improve its processes. There are already many centers that use AI to optimize the efficiency of internal processes, and the increase in investments and technology capabilities is boosting its implementation.

One example is the “Smart Hospital White Paper,” a commitment to artificial intelligence and IoT presented by the Official College of Industrial Engineers of Madrid and the Association of Industrial Engineers of Madrid, which could transform the hospitals of the future.

The pandemic has accelerated this transformation process, and we are now seeing a major transformation across the entire healthcare value chain. This improves the health and well-being of patients while achieving better results in terms of organizational efficiency and cost reduction:

  • AI-enabled digital operations facilitate fast, frictionless decision-making.
  • Personalized services are provided to patients that aid omnichannel engagement for every need.
  • A system is created that focuses on prevention, monitoring, and care delivery.
  • Autonomous monitoring aids in the detection of anomalies and trends in real-time.
  • Workforce resource and talent allocations are optimized.

We find AI solutions and cognitive services for advanced search of regulations. We have designed a project for AENOR based on developing a virtual assistant responsible for helping employees resolve any doubts that users may have without having to leave their production environment. In addition, users can also use the bot to easily locate the information they need.

AI can also be used in hospitals to diagnose diseases. We have collaborated with Foundation29 to create Dx29, a purpose-built platform to facilitate the analysis and diagnosis of rare diseases. It processes medical reports to extract symptoms and code them. It then launches a machine learning algorithm that classifies the thousands of patient mutations according to their relationship with phenotypes.

Digital Devices and the Hospitals of the Future

It is important for medical centers to ensure that they have network connectivity and bandwidth where it is needed. New portable devices or wearables are being deployed that help organizations refine the patient experience from anywhere.

These tools accelerate the healthcare shift, and patients can now be monitored more efficiently without the need for travel.

Medical tools such as Upmédica enable hospital transformation and improve the doctor-patient and doctor-physician relationship. With this platform, we have managed to ensure that medical care does not stop no matter what the circumstances, in addition to facilitating video consultations, appointment scheduling, access to prescriptions, or monitoring by wearables.

However, with the increased number of connected devices, it is also very important to invest in tools and security experts. Having a solid and robust cybersecurity strategy is essential to protect patient data and the center itself.

Extended Reality and Medical Care

Extended reality and digital twin solutions can provide highly beneficial solutions for medical staff and patients. In real-time, they allow reporting and analysis of workplace efficiency, asset utilization, patient statistics, training resources, etc.

But they are also very useful in operations, where you can graphically visualize a patient’s scan and decide on which point to make the incision. An example is this Augmented Reality guided biopsy tool, which allows working on the real image; the physician can decide which area to take the sample from or evaluate and set the appropriate trajectory to perform the biopsy.

biopsia guiada hololens

Future of Smart Hospitals

Billions of dollars are already being invested in cloud technology, digital infrastructure, hardware, or software platforms that will completely transform healthcare. Smart hospitals of the future can leverage technology to transform care, patient experience, staff management, operations, or facility infrastructure design.

However, there are tools and technologies that have not yet been designed or need customization and refinement. Therefore, a lot of work needs to be done to overcome the challenges in the industry to manage costs efficiently, provide a better patient experience and help disease research.

These new ways of understanding healthcare provide the opportunity for visionary and innovative companies to take on the role of facilitators in integrating these technologies to improve the sector. At Plain Concepts, we are developing and researching new solutions to make tomorrow’s smart hospitals a reality. Shall we help you to achieve it?


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Elena Canorea
Elena Canorea
Communications Lead