Hospital of the future: this is what we can expect
The pandemic has fueled innovation and change in the medical industry — like no other phenomenon we’ve witnessed before. From one day to the next, hospitals and clinics were forced to battle a virus, avoid unnecessary hospital stays and implement safety measures such as remote monitoring of patients. What was once seen as impossible suddenly became the new normal. So, where do we go from here? Here’s our take on what we can expect from the hospital of the future.
What changes has the Covid-19 pandemic brought to hospital operations, and what could stick?
These are the most prominent and innovative changes we’ve seen happen around the world since the pandemic hit. And here’s why the hospital of the future is bound to keep them in place:
Remote patient monitoring (RPM)
Many hospitals have shifted their model to offer remote monitoring of patients also. Instead of physically entering the hospital, you can now talk to your doctor, nurse or surgeon, etc., from the comfort of your own home via video chat. While these professionals can remotely monitor vitals and, if need be, adjust the dosage, etc.
Some prime examples of remote patient monitoring equipment are diabetes or blood pressure devices, where patients can automatically send their data to their physician using the device. In addition, some leading hospital programmes have been launched: Mount Sinai at Home in New York, John Hopkins Hospital at Home in Baltimore, Mercy Virtual Care centre in Chesterfield.
RPM is honestly a winner on all fronts because:
- The patient’s risk of infection is minimized.
- Patients can recover from the comfort of their own homes; there have even been reports of lower cases of mortality.
- Hospital cost is significantly minimized as the patient no longer needs a bed or as much staff face-time; studies report a 60% cost reduction.
Less surgical interference
Another shift we have witnessed is that many surgeries have been canceled or postponed in hospitals due to the pandemic. Hospitals want to keep their intensive care beds free and avoid further infections and spread of the Covid-19 virus while ensuring that staff capacity is prepared for the next wave of pandemic patients.
This has been a double-edged sword, as patients wait for life-altering surgeries like hip and joint replacements for quite some time. On the other hand, we haven’t been as quick to operate on what might otherwise be considered a healthy body. Instead of jumping to surgery right away, orthopedic therapy is seen as a viable option to eliminate pain simply because the capacity is not there.
We believe that this will open both patients and medical staff eyes to the fact that surgery is not the only option in specific scenarios. Alternatively, more holistic approaches might just get everyone the results they were looking for.
While we’re only scratching the surface, here’s what we can expect the future of hospitals to hold
The changes we’ve seen have been quick, radical and have genuinely accelerated the vision that we at XUND and many other health tech innovators have been gearing towards in the past years. A world where we can use AI, technology and digital medical devices to revolutionize the medical world — this is how we think the hospital of the future will look like in 2030 and onwards.
Digital hospital & patient records
Although some patient records are already being kept on digital files, we’re still far away from patients and medical staff having access to one unified platform, where physical folders or X-rays no longer need to be handed over.
Digitizing medical records will help make keeping track of records more efficient, collaborations between different departments and medical institutions will be smoother. In addition, you as the patient can hand over your entire medical history to your doctor of trust more quickly. This will lead to a lot more informed decision-making, taking your whole medical history into account, not just a snapshot of your symptoms.
Informed patients & self-diagnosis
How many times have you Googled your symptoms before heading to a doctor? Unfortunately, it’s what every patient does, and the new digital world is already giving them access to medical information, resulting in sloppy self-diagnoses. Our mission with XUND is to make symptom checking data-driven, accurate and empowering for patients and professionals. It’s a certified medical device that is intuitive and leverages the knowledge of millions of medical professionals by utilizing cutting-edge AI technology to provide trustworthy and reliable treatment options.
Although modern technology is not likely to replace a doctor’s diagnosis anytime soon, patient-facing medical devices like XUND and wearables to track digital biomarkers can not only make diagnoses more accurate but more efficient and easy to monitor. We can conclude from this that these medical technologies will support doctors and patients more and more in the coming years.
Hospital visits that start in the living room
As we already mentioned above, remotely monitoring patients has become a reality. Still, we will probably see this trend take on a whole new level of meaning — moving even more patients to their homes, increasing infrastructure for staff to remotely take care of patients and no longer relying on the hospital to be the central hub.
AI & data-driven real-time decision-making
Right now, XUND is based on thousands of scientific study-backed data points to determine a diagnosis. Going forward, we’d like to move towards a real-time data-driven approach, taking actual data into account to include what’s happening on hospital floors or at-home hospitals, what’s working and what’s not. Also, to gain insights, accelerate medical study publications and decision-making in the field — a health data revolution that will change the medical industry forever.
Hospital traffic control centers
The pandemic has shown us, like no other event, just how important it is to monitor how many people are in a building, whether there is a risk of infection, or how much capacity the hospital has when it comes to intensive care units — the list goes on. So a future where we don’t have to check these things manually is bound to be standard very soon.
Automated medical supply management
Medical supply stock is vital to keep the hospital running efficiently and effectively, which is why running it in an automated way — just makes sense. Sensors and computer programs will monitor on time before the hospital runs out of something, automatically order more, and staff no longer need to worry about it.
The digital hospital of the future: it might already be here
No doubt, we still have quite a way to go; new hospitals are already being built with a digital-first approach to improve both patient and staff experience. Projects like the University Hospital Essen, Germany, are leading the way by gearing towards becoming a ‘smart hospital.’ As a result, we’re bound to see many hospitals undergo digital transformations and embrace technology to empower patients and practitioners — while building hospitals that can be run more efficiently, effectively and serve society better than ever before.
Want to find out more about how the healthcare industry can leverage AI? Check out our article on Symptom checkers: how they can help us deal with the pandemic.