The digital hospital is no longer just a concept: hospitals are gradually coming into the digital era and setting standards for the future.
State-of-the-art hospitals on two continents: Humber River and St Stephen’s
Two pioneering hospitals – one in Canada, the other in Australia – have been under construction since 2011, with public and private funding, and are due to open in 2015. The Humber River Hospital near Toronto will be North Americas’ very first completely digital hospital, whilst St Stephen’s in Queensland has similar ambitions: to be a centre of technological excellence devoted to high-quality, efficient care. It will be the first of its kind in Australia.
State-of-the-art digital technologies and energy efficiency
These hospitals of the future have been designed with a strong focus on new technologies and interoperability between the respective IT systems. Humber River have taken out a 15-year managed service contract for all the hospital’s IT hardware and services, with last-generation technologies dedicated to the healthcare sector:
- Digital screens for patient orientation
- Automatically controlled carts which will handle 75% of equipment and food deliveries.
- A voice recognition system whereby staff can record patient data from any device, as well as dispatch requests for prescriptions and tests. This information is then recorded in real time on the relevant department’s PC or mobile device.
- Shared electronic health records, including X-ray results, to enable follow-up treatment from different departments. This essential feature was also chosen by St Stephen’s.
Bedside terminals, giving patients access to digital services (entertainment, VoIP phone, remote-controlled lighting, etc.). The terminals will also be used by hospital staff to access patient records. In Australia, the designers of St Stephen’s have implemented wireless bedside multi-device access, from a smartphone, tablet or PCs on a mobile medical cart.
The high-tech Canadian hospital (which is being promoted as “lean, green and digital”), was also designed with ergonomics and environmental concerns in mind: computer simulation was used in order to optimise space and thus reduce staff movements by 18%. In terms of its carbon footprint, the hospital should consume 40% less energy and 35% less water than traditional healthcare establishments.
A new connected hospital due to open in France
Whilst initiatives to modernise existing healthcare establishments are more gradual and thus less spectacular, the building of a brand-new digital hospital is always a major event: in France, the country’s biggest hospital is currently being built in Orléans. The hospital, which has already opened some departments, should be fully operational by 2015. It covers 200,000 m² and has a patient capacity of 1,500 and a team of around 4,800 staff. It will group together under one roof a number of existing departments which are currently located at different sites. Around €6 million worth of investment in digital technologies includes:
- Shared digital patient records
- Digital dictation and voice recognition
- All rooms are equipped with bedside multimedia terminals for both patients and medical staff.