Thoughts Over the Wire

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Dan's Dose of the Day - Putting the ‘Real’ in Real-Time Health Systems

Know The Now 

The emergence of the real-time health system (RTHS) has made it possible to synchronize hospital operations and uncover insights that allow them to truly stand above the rest. For example, the optimization of bed flow and management has certainly received the limelight as of late. The current COVID pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on our communities, our public health systems and our hospitals. It is fair to say that no one could have predicted the pressure that the disease would have on hospital intensive care unit bed capacity. So why do we still use historical data for bed planning and resource allocation? It is delays and limitations like these that compounds the burden hospitals feel not only on a day by day basis, but especially during critical time periods like a global pandemic.

Know Your Users - Keep Them Safe   

Non-linear workflows in hospitals add a layer of complexity to ensuring data is received in real-time, but the importance is not just about sending the data. Being delivered to the ‘right’ appropriate users means that the RTHS recognizes the availability of a user to respond; sending a notification to a nurse who has their hands full means they cannot respond immediately or in ‘real-time’. An RTHS can also accommodate the importance of coordinating response efforts between multiple teams such as security and clinical staff.

When considering the holistic approach to these complex non-linear workflows, a platform that supports an RTHS must support the integration and interoperability of various building systems, clinical information systems, and IoT devices and sensors. Workflows that focus on patient and staff safety such as nurse calls, code events, and wandering patients can be further augmented with synchronization and coordinated responses.

Another use case might involve patients coming into hospitals through the emergency department (ER), specifically in the case of COVID. Having real-time information allows ER  nurses to know current bed availability in the in-patient units patients may be admitted to. The interoperability offered by the RTHS makes this knowledge available through dashboards and applications. This functionality offers the opportunity to make decisions more accurately and efficiently. It allows a level of transparency in the daily movement of the hospital to ensure the safety and priority care of patients. By understanding a user’s workflow, it becomes clear how one action or inaction can lead to efficiency or delays in the daily activities performed within a hospital.  

smart hospital brochure

Using Real-time Data For Real-life Problems 

The real-time health system (RTHS) necessitates the integration of several seemingly disparate systems and intelligent use of the data they produce. Hospital command centers are based around a similar concept to that of air traffic control, and have shown to be able to increase bed capacity without increasing physical bed counts. The optimization of end-to-end patient flow throughout hospitals, from admission, through to surgery and treatment, and finally to discharge, is made possible with insights derived from ADT systems, portering and housekeeping systems and closed-loop communication between hospital staff. 

The temporal aspects of real-time alerts and notifications are not sufficient to bring the RTHS to life. Digital Twin technologies add the additional layers of orchestration, reasoning and contextualization that truly allow hospitals to unlock operational value. It is a holistic vision of the health system that will be central to the judicious use of public resources while also delivering the level of care that patients deserve. The RTHS should be on every hospital’s horizon in order to be prepared for the everyday and the unpredictable. 

As an organization that serves many industries such as healthcare, commercial real estate, and corporate real estate organizations, we empathize deeply with what our customers are going through at this moment. We’re a technology organization, but for us people have always come first. If you need advice on where to start or how you can make the changes your organization needs to be prepared for the future, get in touch. Community is important now more than ever.

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