What is a Digital Hospital?
For decades, the basic technologies found in hospitals such as medical technologies, building management, communications and ITC have been converging towards digitalization and basic interoperability, forming the basis of a digital hospital. The digital hospital is not a technological panacea, but rather a vision of how an advanced health care organization can take advantage of digitalization and technological interoperability to achieve organizational objectives, based on technolgy Imatis can deliver today.
The digital hospital idea is based on creating synergies from technological convergence, creating a system of pervasive bi-directional integrations, coupled with wireless technologies, for easy access to vital technology for mobile staff.
The digital hospital has a common technology foundation where all systems may be brought together, supporting interoperability on a large scale. Additionally, wireless access is the norm, with mobile devices now exceeding the capabilities of yesterday's supercomputers, at a mere fraction of the costs. The “Internet of Things” has brought a new wave of affordable and connected devices, including sensory devices that can monitor a wide range of signals and transmit them in real time.
Technological interoperability, wireless access and a myriad of available devices open up a new world of possibilities to orchestrate patient care. New, more efficient and automated workflows bring possibilities for new service models, for example within the post-discharge care of patients with chronic conditions. Digital care allows the patient a greater degree of freedom, for example staying in their own homes whilst still receiving excellent follow-up care, engaging the patient in their own health care.
These developments have opened a new frontier of opportunities for the health care industry to make care delivery more affordable, safer and more efficient.
Why a Digital Hospital?
Many studies have shown that caregivers spend a lot of time on activities that are of marginal benefit to the patient. In reality, considerable time is wasted on non-productive activities. Some of these tasks involve documentation, information search, tracking resources, equipment and supplies. Hospital digitalization coupled with lean management methods can increase the amount of time spent on work that directly benefits the patient and reduce the amount of time spent wastefully due to inadequate routines. When implementing Imatis' solutions for digital hospitals, we have seen a marked increase in direct patient care. Customers have documented increases in the time nurses spent on direct patient care by 11%. We also have documentation on a 7% reduction of the length of stay for Hospital after implementation of Imatis technology from Region Zealand in Denmark.
Modern medicine relies on teamwork to deliver care around the clock, making communications a vital component in any hospital operation. The number of caregivers involved in treating a single patient stay can be daunting. Keeping everyone up to date and coordinate activities is a significant task, and miscommunications can have severe consequences. Clear, concise and instant communications are essential. The digital hospital approach means weaving communications into the IT fabric, with wireless handheld devices for pervasive information access. Imatis' approach to digitalization of hospitals brings communications and information technology together seamlessly, and as a consequence, our customers report a significant reduction in the use of traditional telephone systems. 'The phones have gone quiet', was stated by users in one of our recent implementations.
How to build a Digital Hospital?
There are many ways to approach the creation of a digital hospital. The first step is to craft a vision of the digital hospital, charting a road map of the different steps necessary to achieve digitalization. Building a digital hospital is a phased journey that, due to the nature and dynamics of modern day medicine and the constant evolution of technology, is without end. The road map will change with time, but starting the journey is essential in order to realize the potential benefits. It is important to remember that the journey to a digital hospital is not a purely technological undertaking, but rather organizational development.
The Imatis approach to digital hospitals
Imatis has worked with a number of hospitals to realize the vision of a digital hospital. These projects have often been associated with new hospital builds, but digitalization is increasingly undertaken in existing hospitals.
Our approach to hospital digitalization includes a comprehensive portfolio of products and intellectual capital for technological convergence through integration and portal presentation. The foundation of the digital hospital is laid with the IMATIS Fundamentum platform, which connects disparate technologies including; communications, logistics, medical devices, administrative systems and building management systems with standard interfaces and adapters. Non-standard interfaces can be developed with an adapter development toolkit. Imatis possesses comprehensive know-how in hospital technology integration, which has been a key ingredient in our continual product development.
Imatis realized early on that providing IT support to mobile staff is crucial in order to make IT more useful in hospitals. IMATIS Mobilix was developed as a mobile platform to address hospital mobility needs more than 10 years ago, pioneering the development of hospital mobility solutions. The implementation of the first generation Mobilix solution at St. Olav's Hospital came a long time before the proliferation of smartphones and other handheld computing devices.
10 years later, IMATIS Mobilix provides caregivers with stable, "device-agnostic" and secure access to clinical data. The mobile platform features secure role-based messaging and supports synchronous communications, where the message receiver acknowledges message reception.
Our approach to digital hospitals is based on the concept of lightweight IT, where modern information technologies enhance the value of the existing IT investments, whilst adding new ways of using existing primary systems, for extra value. Lightweight IT opens new dimensions for mobility and hospital digitalization, including secure and innovative cloud solutions. Our solutions provide information access to any device at any time, anywhere, creating a comprehensive single view of crucial information from multiple data sources. New workflows can be designed using the built-in workflow designer, without specialist assistance, taking into account information from non-traditional data sources such as sensors, communication systems, nurse call, logistics and traditional heavyweight systems. The ability to automate responses to events, alerts, dispatch service requests, and to monitor and track progress brings a new dimension of technology support to the caregiver.
Imatis has in addtion to several brownfield project been involved in some of the most modern greenfield hospital worldwide project since 2003. This includes the new Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia, Colchester in Canada, St. Olavs University Hospital in Trondheim and new Østfold Hospital Kalnes in Norway and others. Below are some examples of projects where Imatis has played a significant part in the delivery of the contract.
New Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia
Opening in 2017, the new Royal Adelaide Hospital will provide world class health care and facilities for South Australians. With a 900 bed capacity, the hospital has an advanced technological environment, with ICT solutions allowing healthcare personnel to view patient records in the patient's room with easier consultation with fellow clinicians. It will also allow for more secure patient recordkeeping and improved telehealth services to share information with regional areas as well as integrated hospital with mobility and self-service options for patients. Imatis has a significant role in the software installed in the new Hospital.
New Østfold Hospital Kalnes - Norway
Recently opened in Novemeber 2015, the new Østfold Kalnes Hospital provides world class health care and facilities for South East Norway. It is a 650+ bed hospital with an integrated and advanced ICT environment, based on the lightweight ITC platform from Imatis.