What is a Smart Hospital and how to build your own solution?

Archer Blog - What is a Smart Hospital and how to build your own solution?
The Smart Hospital concept is aimed at creating a single IT environment composed of automated «bricks» of specialized and auxiliary processes through cloud computing services, machine learning methods, and artificial intelligence. Let's review the key points about eHealth solutions development.

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The automation of the healthcare sphere is one of the most urgent and, perhaps, the most difficult tasks in the world. A huge amount of money is spent every year to solve it, but many problems and questions remain.

The main issue is a proper interaction between various systems, especially the exchange of data at the municipal, regional, and federal levels. Most countries develop their own concepts when it comes to the question «what is a smart hospital»: they adopt normative legal acts, introduce standards, and implement targeted programs.

What is e-Health?

The coalescence of medical equipment into the network has already changed the methods of work in the healthcare industry. By 2020, the widespread introduction of high-tech methods in medicine will lead to the implementation of the smart hospital project.

It is estimated that by 2024 the smart hospital market will be worth $63 billion. This concept is based on the optimization and automation of processes in the information-communication and technological environment of interrelated objects. The purpose of this environment is to improve existing procedures for the provision of advanced means of medical care and to open up new opportunities for medicine.

The «fourth industrial revolution» is also of fundamental importance. It consists of combining network devices with cloud computing methods and analyzing large data and artificial intelligence, which makes it possible to call such an infrastructure «smart».

Thinking of the smart hospital definition, we can say that it is a relatively new direction at the intersection of medicine, information, health, and business, which is related to the usage of information technology support for healthcare.

10 key principles of e-Health

  1. Efficiency.
  2. Quality improvement.
  3. Attention to personal data.
  4. Expansion of the patient’s capabilities.
  5. Improving the relationship between the patient and the medical organization.
  6. Continuing education and professional development through information technology.
  7. Realization of safe data exchange.
  8. Expansion of the healthcare framework.
  9. Ethical standards.
  10. Accessibility for everyone.

What are the e-Health benefits?

Why do we say a smart hospital management system will soon be a new must in healthcare? The world is going digital and so does the patient experience — patients and hospitals use more and more high-tech devices both in hospital rooms and on an outpatient basis.

Patients use wearables, remote monitoring devices, and smartphones to monitor their vitals and medication; hospitals use smart TVs and tablets to educate staff and patients; electronic health records (EHRs) are to aggregate all patient information and provide healthcare professionals with all data necessary to provide quality care.

Smart hospital software offers the following benefits to healthcare facilities:

  • Patient engagement

Using smart hospital room features (for example, via touch-screen monitors or tablets) patients and their families can enhance their experience and improve patient-doctor relationships. They can be involved in the care process and know more about treatment progress and health condition. While staying in the hospital room they can view their health records and test results, get to know daily treatment schedules. The smart hospital also provides opportunities for disease management education.

  • Streamlining communication

Patients are often dissatisfied with the doctor-patient communication as in some cases doctors are more focused on a computer screen than on talking to the patient and monitoring his or her emotions and body language, which often give additional information about the patient’s condition. And patient satisfaction is an important index in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, the scores of which directly affect reimbursement. Leveraging mobile and IoT technologies allows effective and timely patients communication with care providers thus enhancing their satisfaction.

  • Workflow optimization

IoT and mobile technology can also give healthcare organizations effective tools to improve performance while tracking and identifying bottlenecks and service slowdowns. Hospital navigation for patients and staff. Smart hospital applications can help patients and visiting or temporary physicians and staff to find a way in the hospital. Messaging and routing features can provide turn-by-turn directions and arrival time instructions to make navigation in large hospitals simpler and less stressful for visitors.

  • Patient notification

This smart hospital software feature can significantly reduce the no-show rates, which cost the US healthcare system $150b each year. Push notifications generated by such software can be sent to patients, in their preferred language, informing them about the time of their appointment and the exact office number. Such smart hospital systems can also push updates telling the patients if the appointment location or time has changed.

  • Hospital assets tracking

IoT is extensively used in many other industries for effective inventory tracking. Hospitals and care centers can use IoT healthcare applications to find out which items need to be reordered and where the assets are located.

  • Leveraging data analytics

Smart devices like wearables and smartphones track huge volumes of biometric data. This data can be used by caregivers to find out more about both individual patients and populations. Insights from the data can improve the quality of patient care and accelerate lifesaving research.

Sounds good enough to make your own smart hospital management software, doesn’t it?

Challenges in building and integrating a smart hospital system

The major challenges for hospitals on their path to becoming smart are:

  • The conflict of priorities

Healthcare organizations have to deliver high-quality care, maintain patient safety (including the safety of patient data), prevent infections, ensure financial productivity, comply with regulatory standards, and keep patients satisfied. All these challenges usually have to be addressed with limited resources.

  • Becoming «smart» takes several steps

Smart solutions can be implemented one by one, not in a single step. At that newer solutions must be integrated with the ones implemented earlier. Interoperability and cybersecurity are a must as hospital devices, systems and networks must talk to each other in such a way that allows analysis of the data and that data must be secure and unreachable for hackers.

  • Unstructured data integration

Unstructured data and legacy systems have to be integrated to ensure holistic analysis and provide access to all collected medical data.

  • Staff onboarding and training

All medical personnel has to be trained to use smart systems and devices effectively to support their workflow and ensure semi-automated managing of data flow.

Smart hospitals in the world

It is important to note that e-Health has not yet been fully implemented in every country of the world. In order to find out more, let’s analyze the experience of other countries in the sphere of e-Health.

For example, Estonia is the first country in the world that decided to centralize the creation of the register of medical data and electronic medical systems, according to Electronic Health Records (EHR). The state that ordered the development of this system requires 100% of all medical institutions in the country to use it. Thus, in Estonia, there is a single system that keeps patient data, medical history.

The other example is Latvia. Since the time of the Soviet Union, there have been about 350 reporting forms. The Latvians have simplified the system and reduced the workflow to 35 forms. A single centralized system that operates throughout Latvia has been built.

In Denmark and Norway, all hospitals should be connected to a nationwide EHR and send all data to the state register.

In the US, there is not a central nationwide register of medical data, though they have used e-Health for a long time. Americans are guided by the principle of "Meaningful Use". This means that each medical institution decides independently which component of e-Health needs to be implemented.

For example, Baptist Memorial Health Care focused on using new technology to provide patients with the information to make them feel comfortable during their stay and to manage their conditions when they get home. In 2015 this healthcare facility launched the MyChart Bedside pilot program, which provides patients and families access to Baptist OneCare, the EHR platform used by this facility.

The smart rooms of the hospitals allow patients to view patient vitals and medical team information via touch-screen monitors and tablets. The University Hospital of the University of Missouri Health Care network features the most up-to-date cancer center with innovative time-saving smart rooms that automatically record and wirelessly convey patients’ vitals and additional information to the system’s electronic medical databanks.

The Houston Methodist Hospital is more focused on the most advanced robotic-assisted surgery. The website of the hospital states its "surgeons perform hundreds of robotic procedures each year, using robotic technology to treat heart disease, prostate cancer, uterine tumors, uterine fibroids, and other conditions". The hospital uses sophisticated da Vinci Surgical Systems and the most advanced robotic operating rooms to provide patients with the least invasive, safest surgical treatment for complex conditions.

It should be mentioned that it is in the USA where the e-Health projects and technologies are developed most often. A large number of startups and centers in the e-Health area are emerging and developing in the US. Indeed, Europe is developing more slowly in this aspect, but a centralized approach to the introduction of IIAs and electronic medical registers has an important advantage — the ability to interact.

Smart hospital features

In addition to industry-specific business processes, each medical institution conducts administrative, financial, and economic activities, the effective management of which also requires the introduction of automated information systems. These systems can be conditionally divided into office and financial types.

Classification of medical IT solutions

Managing workflows and patient data
  1. Medical information systems automate the processes underlying the medical services — from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation.
  2. Radiological information systems, designed to support and manage work processes in the departments of radiation diagnostics and nuclear medicine, unite the workplaces of physicians in one or several radiological diagnostic specialties.
  3. The laboratory information system is aimed at increasing the efficiency and quality of the clinical diagnostic laboratory as part of outpatient treatment and prophylactic institution, a hospital, or an independent clinical and diagnostic center.
Collection, storage, and transmission of clinical data
  1. The system for the collection, archiving, storage, and transfer of medical data is designed to automate the operation of diagnostic rooms and offices that work with medical images.
Viewing and processing diagnostic data
  1. Multifunctional workstations with clinical applications are designed for expert diagnosis of oncology, cardiology, neurological, vascular, dental, and other pathologies.
  2. The system provides the maximum possible number of visualization tools:
  • multiplanar reconstruction, including oblique and curved;
  • 3D reconstruction with the construction of projections of different intensity;
  • measurement of distances, angles, tissue density, organ size, and neoplasm;
  • adding and saving labels;
  • algorithms for layer-by-layer removal of tissues;
  • reproduction of film series; connection of several screens of different sizes and permissions;
  • and, synchronized comparison of studies.
Telemedicine services
  1. Telemedicine is a complex combination of technical facilities for conducting remote consultations and examinations of patients.

Components of a Smart Hospital Management System

Smart hospital software development implies the use of smart technology systems, smart mobility systems, and smart systems for patients, staff, and equipment. Those systems provide smart functionality to everyday objects such as tablets and smartphones and medical devices. The most common smart technologies used in smart hospital software are WiFi, active RFID, sensors, integration platforms, mobile apps, wearables, and various dashboards. And of course, smart hospital software often leverages the power of big data and cloud technologies.

Archer's experience in e-Health development

We have a great deal of experience in this area, as the Archer team created various platforms and applications in order to make both doctor and patient lives easier and safer.

  • Shift life-wheel family of applications is a group of applications that allows access to some basic information about the state of health for each family member. The apps can be really useful in the process of creating a smart hospital. Using the extension, a doctor may get such patient data as the stability of sleep, energy, health, mood, movement, and more.
  • HIPAA-Compliant Online Communications Platform is a unique resource for those who work in healthcare. Apart from the fact that it contains numerous databases with useful information, it also allows doctors to communicate with each other and exchange experiences. In an attempt to design a smart hospital tool, our team paid attention to such points as HIPAA and MDChat. The app will let the professionals in the healthcare area stay in touch with each other, making it easier to consult on difficult cases, get new information, exchange knowledge, and so on.
  • Another project our team is working on is Chronic Wellness Tracker. As we started our work on this application, we were asked to create a tool that would be a helper for people with chronic diseases. The application monitors a person’s state and provides information about any changes in it. With the extension, people can get a timely warning about the worsening state of their health, and visit a doctor in a timely manner. The tool will save the medical workers’ time, as well. Beyond the Hospital allows users to monitor their health at all times and inform a doctor if necessary.
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Building a smart solution for vets

Archer Software’s portfolio includes smart software for veterinary clinics/hospitals. The key options of this EMR and Practice Management suite are similar to any other e-health system solution. The solution provides managing complete and up-to-date medical records of the patients, appointments, inventory records, invoicing, and transactions.

All-in-one medical office management application features

  • Dashboard allows controlling the whole clinic practice. The solution user-friendly interface allows the effective managing of client and patient data. The dashboard provides access to all areas of account, such as Clients & Patients, Scheduling, Inventory & Procedures, Transactions, Reports, & Settings, and allows viewing current appointments, inventory, and open invoices, searching in the database, creating new EMRs, and running reminder reports.
  • Client and patient profiles contain information about clients and patients (e.g., home address, billing address, e-mail address, and phone numbers, etc.) and complete Electronic Medical Records (EMR) of the patients.
  • Scheduling (appointment management) allows appointing meetings and tracking appointments for today, this week, or this month. This feature allows selecting the date, time, and doctor, and any important notes you may need to document. Before saving the appointment, you can add procedures that will instantly create an invoice you can customize during the patient’s visit.
  • Reminders allow keeping existing clients coming back for annual exams, vaccinations, or other procedures thanks to an efficient reminder system, which sends reminders via the US postal system, e-mail, or SMS. This feature also allows creating custom reports for a future check-up, surgery follow-ups, or vaccinations.
  • Inventory and Procedures give the doctors access to their storage balance and let them manage the medication inventory. Integration with the special printer allows printing the labels for prescribed medications.
  • Lab tests tracking allows us to track the lab tests performed by Antech laboratories using the APIs provided by Antech.
  • Preset document forms allow easy procedure documentation and medicine prescription. Documents & images pre-populated folders are set up in separate categories, such as Lab Results, X-Rays, Ultrasounds, Clinical Images, Previous Medical Records, E-Mail Correspondence, Referral Reports, Invoices.
  • Transactions help the doctors gain control over overpayments, billing and invoicing given all procedures provided to the client. Payment options include cash, credit card, bank cheque. This option also allows viewing of client statistics. Any transaction deletion must be verified, so the data cannot be lost.
  • Data import/export allows add new data and provide the client with his EMR zip file if he leaves the clinic. This option is performed by admins only, so unauthorized access is impossible.
  • Reports allow analyzing the clinic and patient information on a daily basis, such as financial reports, reminders, or low inventory. All reports are downloaded to Excel files and can be easily integrated with other types of software. Using the reporting options you can view the information on deleted transactions, income analysis, inventory/service, invoices, referral sources, reminders, taxes.
  • Database storage on a cloud-based server requires nothing to upload and no start-up or training fees. Your information is safe as the database copy is created every 24 hours and the database dump is done every 60 days.

To integrate this solution into practice a clinic is given a free trial (up to 500 clients). Our experience has proven that smart solutions can be integrated within a reasonable period of time. These solutions allow integration of patient data accumulated by a clinic thus providing more effective data use and analysis.

Why is it important to create an e-Health system?

In the modern world, with the extremely fast tempo of life, e-Health systems and smart hospital projects have become an absolutely necessary and essential issue. The concept will let people save time and take better care of them. Moreover, it will help doctors organize their schedules more effectively, making it possible to avoid long queues in hospitals while medical staff can manage their time easily.

One more significant advantage is that the e-Health system allows both patients and doctors to get all the necessary information about an individual’s health state any time they need to. By integrating with a hospital’s existing technologies and designing new smart hospital software we help caregivers focus more on delivering care and spend less time the things that can be automated and performed by smart systems.

Well-thought-out and implemented smart hospital design gives us these incredible possibilities and helps us to avoid worrying about cumbersome paperwork.

 

Contact our team at info@archer-soft.com for more information.

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