Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are complex, unpredictable environments. And managing such facilities can often be an intimidating task, with duties ranging from building upkeep and 24-hour energy monitoring to mission-critical patient needs.
Frequently, a key challenge remains: Facility management and clinical operations are traditionally handled separately, with different teams and systems, which can hold healthcare facilities back from being truly patient-centric.
To properly automate workflows and create hospital efficiencies that enable a better patient experience, it’s critical that healthcare organizations understand exactly how patients and clinical staff interact with their systems’ infrastructure.
Make Healthcare Facilities Smarter, Safer and More Efficient
Schneider Electric, an energy management and automation company, and ThoughtWire, a provider of digital twins for the built environment, have recently partnered to create smarter digital hospitals that make for a more seamless experience in healthcare environments.
“What we’re essentially doing is bringing those two services together — facility management and clinical operations — to understand how the building is working, to find when something might be an issue,” says Christopher Roberts, a solution architect for Schneider Electric.
The joint, end-to-end software solution, known as Digital Hospital, combines Internet of Things technology with Microsoft Azure cloud services to create a contextual data model of a hospital’s information and operational technology systems, IoT devices and sensors, and workflows.
In collecting and analyzing data from the entire hospital network, Digital Hospital effectively breaks down the information silos that exist across healthcare. The solution exemplifies how software tools can enable a greater understanding of usage and performance of the entire healthcare operation across the facility and among caregivers.
From the building management side, this type of software tool can monitor and control things such as lighting and heating in rooms, using artificial intelligence to turn systems down or off when they’re not in use. The automated process can increase sustainability for an organization and positively impact its carbon footprint.
On the clinical side, Dale Hall, executive vice president and co-founder of ThoughtWire, mentions that orchestrating data across clinical systems and IoT is useful in giving staff full visibility into patient needs and larger hospital workflows. Data delivery by dashboard provides clinicians with real-time, actionable information that empowers them to make better, data-driven care decisions.
In addition, clinical and administrative staff dashboards that display patients’ status can lead to improved patient flow and care experience.
“All staff assigned to that patient understand where the patient is and when they’re going to arrive,” says Hall. “So, you don’t have patients waiting in hallways and clinical staff not knowing where they are.”
“Patients just want to be informed,” adds Dan Nguyen, manager of healthcare solutions at ThoughtWire. “They’re used to waiting, but it’s waiting when they don’t know when their turn is coming up that irritates them. The platform makes a lot of that information transparent. Patients actually know what’s happening with them.”
Overall, solutions like Digital Hospital help promote more patient-centric healthcare though the smart use of technology, giving each involved party — patients included — enhanced visibility into the information they need, when they need it.