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Technologies in Smart Hospitals: How They Are Changing the Game

Hospitals are starting to implement modern technologies to become smart hospitals. But what are these technologies, and what is their impact?

Modernization will always be a significant part of the healthcare industry. Every year, there are new technologies that can enhance operations and improve healthcare and medicine for individuals. Some hospitals have transitioned into being tech-enabled facilities, while others are starting to invest in modern technologies. This is where smart hospitals come in. But are smart hospitals worth it? What technologies do they use? And is the leveraging of these technologies crucial to the field?

What is a smart hospital?

A smart hospital is a hospital or medical facility that actively leverages advanced technologies, devices, and interconnected solutions to improve patient care and healthcare facilitation, digitize personnel management, streamline operations, track assets, and enhance overall efficiency.


A smart hospital differs from other hospitals because of its extensive use of advanced and smart technologies. From electronic health records to smart wearables and digital labels, smart hospitals employ a number of these technologies to vastly refine their operations and reduce errors or downtimes. These medical facilities rely on these digital tools to modernize and reshape their service and the effectiveness of their healthcare.


According to Mordor Intelligence, the smart hospital market size is estimated at USD 60.35 billion in 2024. It’s expected to grow to 148 billion by 2029. While some hospitals are still reluctant to adopt modern or smart technologies and practices due to the high investment, the impact of this kind of modernization is too significant to ignore.


Slowly but surely, hospitals are starting to embrace and leverage digital tools. The arrival of a global pandemic, as well as the increasing need for remote monitoring and healthcare, has also contributed to the emergence of smart hospitals. Now, hospitals are turning to these digital and smart technologies to empower their operations anew.

What technology is used in a smart hospital?

Modern hospitals or smart hospitals leverage a variety of technologies and solutions for their operations. This includes various aspects of the hospital, such as the actual patient care and services, personnel management, data collection, laboratory, and more. Here are some key features and technologies commonly found in a smart hospital:


Electronic Health Records (EHR)

Electronic health records, or EHR systems, digitize patient medical records. This makes them easily accessible to healthcare providers across different departments and even different locations. EHR systems in smart hospitals lead to improved accuracy, efficiency, and coordination of care. Various hospitals and healthcare providers will also have the ability to securely share patient information with ease.


Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

IoT (Internet of Things) devices are starting to impact various fields and industries, including IoT in healthcare and medicine. IoT devices such as smart hospital technology include sensors, smart beds, and connected medical devices that collect and transmit real-time data about patients' health status. Wearable technology is also included in this category. Examples include wearable fitness trackers and monitoring devices that track vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels.


Telemedicine and Remote Monitoring

Telemedicine platforms enable remote consultations between patients and healthcare providers via video conferencing or other communication tools. Remote monitoring systems, on the other hand, allow healthcare professionals to track patients' health status outside of traditional healthcare settings, such as in their homes.


According to a study mentioned in the National Institutes of Health, telemedicine transactions increased by 76% in the first three months of the pandemic. Now, telehealth is expected to stay and continue to increase. Technologies like telemedicine platforms and remote monitoring systems can improve access to care for patients. This is especially crucial for patients in remote or underserved areas, patients who have limited mobility, elderly patients, and more. They also enable early intervention and proactive management of chronic conditions among patients.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is also cementing itself in the field of healthcare. AI algorithms can analyze large volumes of healthcare data to identify patterns, trends, and insights that can inform clinical decision-making.


Machine learning models, on the other hand, can predict patient outcomes, identify at-risk populations, and personalize treatment plans based on individual patient characteristics.

AI-powered diagnostic tools can also assist healthcare providers in interpreting medical images, such as X-rays and MRIs, improving accuracy and efficiency. AI as a smart hospital technology can play a crucial role in the future for treatment recommendations, patient engagement, administrative activities, and more.


Robotics and Automation

Robotics can also be used in smart hospitals. For example, robotics-assisted surgery involves the use of robotic systems to assist surgeons in performing minimally invasive procedures with greater precision and control. There are already a number of medical robots currently being utilized when it comes to various healthcare treatments. This includes surgical robots and robotic surgery systems, disinfecting robots, therapeutic robots, autonomous mobile robots, and more.


Meanwhile, automated systems can streamline various hospital processes, such as medication dispensing, inventory management, and the sterilization of equipment. These technologies enhance patient safety, reduce surgical complications, and increase operational efficiency.


Healthcare Analytics and Business Intelligence

Healthcare analytics platforms provide insights into patient outcomes, resource utilization, and financial performance. This enables a smart hospital to optimize workflows and allocate resources effectively.


Business intelligence tools help hospital administrators make data-driven decisions related to staffing or personnel management, budgeting, and strategic planning.


Patient Engagement Solutions

Patient portals and mobile apps have also risen in recent years. These solutions allow patients to access their health records, schedule appointments, communicate with healthcare providers, and participate in their own care plans. According to research, 64% of physicians find digital technology, such as hospital apps, effective for medical treatment tracking. 


Some smart hospitals also offer interactive educational resources and remote monitoring tools to patients. These will help empower them to take an active role in managing their health and well-being.


Digital labels

Digital labels (also known as electronic shelf labels, or ESL) help transform hospital and healthcare environments as a whole. This is because the benefits of digital labels in the hospitality industry encompass various aspects. This includes patient room labeling and information, upscale room services, high-class dining experience, centralized laboratories and pharmacies, navigation, and more.


For example, Newton ESL, the digital label solution by SOLUM, can replace paper labels across an entire medical facility. SOLUM ESL is equipped with a 7-page capacity, breakneck update speed, a 7-color LED indicator, multifunctional and programmable buttons, full graphic e-ink display technology, freezer label option, 10-year battery life, IP67 protection rating, near-field communication (NFC) capabilities, and ESL management system. All of these features work together to centralize operations and automate tasks. In a smart hospital, these digital labels will not only improve operations but also create an innovative environment that is modernized and efficient.


Extended Reality Solutions (AR and VR)

AR and VR technologies offer immersive and interactive experiences that have various applications in healthcare. In smart hospitals, AR (augmented reality) can be used for surgical navigation. In 2020, a spine surgery was completed using an AR-mounted display. AR allows surgeons to overlay digital information onto the patient's body during procedures, enhancing precision and reducing the risk of errors.


VR, on the other hand, can be utilized for patient education, pain management, and therapy. For example, VR simulations can help patients understand their medical conditions, distract them during painful procedures, or provide therapeutic environments for rehabilitation.


These are just some examples of smart hospital technology being implemented nowadays. It may vary depending on the hospital and its needs, but the commitment to innovation and efficiency is ever-present.

What is the importance of new technology in hospitals?

New technologies are a gateway for modern healthcare facilities.They play a pivotal role in modernization and healthcare delivery, changing the game for all medical and healthcare professionals and patients alike.


Here are several reasons why the adoption of new technology in hospitals is important:


  1. Enhanced Patient Care - Advanced medical technologies enable more accurate diagnoses, personalized treatment plans, and better outcomes for patients. From robotic surgery to precision medicine and hospital or medical apps, these innovations empower healthcare providers to deliver higher-quality care and service that is tailored to individual patient needs.
  2. Improved Efficiency - Smart hospital technology, such as digital labels, robotics, and AI, can streamline administrative tasks, automate processes, and enhance workflow efficiency within hospitals. Electronic health records (EHRs), digital imaging systems, and automated medication dispensing systems, on the other hand, reduce paperwork, minimize errors, and optimize resource utilization. With these solutions, healthcare professionals can focus more time and attention on patient care.
  3. Better Communication and Collaboration - Digital communication platforms, telemedicine solutions, and collaborative tools facilitate seamless communication and information sharing among healthcare providers, regardless of their physical location. This enhances care coordination and enables interdisciplinary teamwork. It also helps ensure that all members of the care team or a department are well-informed and aligned on patient treatment plans.
  4. Data-Driven Decision-Making - Healthcare analytics tools harness the power of big data to derive insights. These insights can be used to inform clinical decision-making, resource allocation, and strategic planning of a smart hospital. By analyzing patient outcomes, population health trends, and operational performance metrics, hospitals can identify areas for improvement, optimize processes, and deliver more cost-effective care.
  5. Enhanced Patient Experience - Technology plays a crucial role in enhancing the patient experience. They help provide greater convenience, accessibility, and engagement. Patient portals, mobile apps, and telemedicine platforms empower patients to take an active role in managing their health. They can also access care more easily and communicate with their healthcare providers more effectively. This can lead to higher levels of satisfaction and improved health outcomes.
  6. Promotion of Research and Innovation - New technologies drive innovation in healthcare. This is because they enable researchers to collect, analyze, and share data more efficiently. From genomics to biomedical engineering, these innovations fuel medical research, accelerate the development of new treatments and therapies, and contribute to advancements in medical science that will benefit patients around the world.
  7. Cost Savings and Sustainability - While some hospitals may find the initial investment in new technology to be significant, it often leads to long-term cost savings. New technologies can help save expenses in the long run as they improve efficiency, reduce medical errors, and minimize the need for unnecessary procedures or hospitalizations. Additionally, technologies that promote sustainability, such as energy-efficient systems, digital labels, and digital documentation, help hospitals reduce their environmental footprint and operating costs over time.


At the end of the day, adopting new technologies and transitioning to a smart hospital offer numerous benefits to everyone involved. From the patients to the medical personnel to the administrative staff to the executives and even the maintenance and custodian staff, digital tools and solutions can lead to better outcomes and efficiency.

How will digital transformation affect healthcare?

Digital transformation like these advanced technologies is poised to revolutionize the healthcare industry in several ways. After all, in some cases, their significance can already be felt and seen. So how will these affect the industry as a whole?


Here are a few ways new technologies can be expected to affect healthcare:


  1. Enhanced Patient Care and Outcomes: Digital transformation enables the adoption of advanced technologies, which in turn leads to more personalized and efficient care delivery. Patients can access healthcare services more conveniently, receive timely interventions, and benefit from more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans. This ultimately results in improved health outcomes.
  2. Improved Access to Healthcare: Telemedicine and mobile health applications break down geographical barriers for a lot of patients. This allows patients to consult with healthcare providers remotely, no matter their location. This is particularly beneficial for individuals in rural or underserved areas who may have limited access to healthcare facilities. Digital health platforms also enable patients to access medical information, schedule appointments, and refill prescriptions conveniently from their smartphones or computers.
  3. Empowerment of Patients: Digital technologies give more power to patients, allowing them to have a more active role in managing their health or treatment. Certain technologies enable individuals to monitor their health metrics, track progress towards wellness goals, and communicate with healthcare providers more effectively. This fosters greater engagement and accountability in healthcare decision-making. It also builds a better relationship between patients and medical professionals or caregivers.
  4. Streamlined Operations and Workflow Efficiency: Digital transformation optimizes administrative processes, streamlines workflows, and reduces manual tasks within healthcare organizations. Electronic health records (EHRs), digital label solutions, and automated scheduling systems are crucial. They improve data accuracy, enhance communication among healthcare teams, and minimize administrative burdens. This allows healthcare providers to focus more time and attention on patient care.
  5. Advancements in Medical Research and Innovation: Digital technologies facilitate collaboration, data sharing, and knowledge exchange among researchers, clinicians, and big healthcare organizations. This accelerates the pace of medical research, fosters innovation, and drives the development of new treatments, drugs, and medical devices. From genomics to precision medicine, digital transformation fuels advancements that revolutionize healthcare delivery around the world.
  6. Challenges and Considerations: While digital transformation offers numerous benefits, it also presents unique challenges related to data privacy, security, interoperability, and digital literacy. Healthcare organizations must prioritize cybersecurity measures now more than ever. They need to ensure compliance with regulations such as HIPAA, and invest in training programs to educate staff and patients on using digital health technologies safely and effectively.


From simple technology such as digital labels to advanced solutions like robotics and extended reality, smart hospitals are surely reshaping the industry. Embracing and leveraging digital technologies enables healthcare organizations to adapt to evolving patient needs, regulatory requirements, and industry trends.


Talk to SOLUM experts today to find out how digital labels and more can help modernize your healthcare or medical facility! 

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