Blockchain technology, wearable technology, precision medicine and virtual rehab used in orthopaedics will lead to the next generation of hospitals — smart hospitals. As these technologies continue to grow over the next five years, the healthcare IT solutions they’ll produce will undoubtedly provide better clinical and financial outcomes.
To stay ahead of the innovation curve, hospitals around the world are adopting their own healthcare IT solutions — with some already promoting them in the market. These solutions will not only benefit healthcare patients, but healthcare employees as well. Through technology, smart hospitals can also take a more patient-centric approach — making the overall patient experience more enjoyable.
So where are these smart hospitals, and what exactly are they doing?
HBI Solutions — Palo Alto, California
Eric Widen, co-founder and CEO of HBI Solutions, started his company by using data analysis to identify high-risk patients and enroll them in proactive care management programs. By taking in comprehensive datasets like EHR, claims, patient billings, and more, the precision health application assigns each patient a risk score showing the probability of a disease or life threatening event.
Widen believes that HBI Solutions will ultimately provide better patient outcomes while simultaneously lower healthcare costs because the process will automate how we identify high-risk patients. For years, this process lacked the right tools to predict health ailments — which lead to costly misdiagnosis and time spent treating the wrong illness.
HBI Solutions’ engine is also integratable with existing care management platforms, making it easier to learn for nurses and doctors.
Bravemind — University of Southern California
Effectively treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) still requires a major medical breakthrough — especially amongst military veterans, a group that experiences the highest rate of PTSD. Through virtual reality (VR) exposure technology called Bravemind, researchers at USC have been able to provide an alternative option to prescription medicine.
Exposure VR will recreate instances that may trigger PTSD, but will help researchers better understand how it affects patients. VR is immersive, interactive, and provides the user with a multisensory experience — generating richer data for future results.
The potential with VR therapy is great, but the only obstacle to advancing it is finding enough patients that are willing to relive traumatic experiences for research.
Forward Blockchain — Chicago, Illinois
Between 2015 and 2016, nearly 140 million patient records were compromised by data breaching. As the technology grows, so will ways in which cybercriminals can attack. This is why the implementation of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry is becoming more prevalent, as blockchain stores data on a decentralized ledger. With blockchain, data breaches will be much harder to execute with no central point of failure.
Forward Blockchain is not just seeking to secure medical data, but transform the way hospitals store all their data in a single database — which can be expensive and susceptible to hacks. Forward Blockchain will use smart contracts to allow patients to view a doctor’s current certification and licensing history, but will also allow government officials to approve these licenses faster than before.
Blockchain technology is the future of data storage because it will be both transparent and secure. One major obstacle, however, is storing HIPAA-sensitive data on the blockchain and assuring only those with proper clearance will have access to it.
NEOFECT — Yongin, South Korea
The wearable technology industry is seeing annual growth, and healthcare providers are finally catching on to its benefits. NEOFECT is a major provider of wearable technology, and with their latest product called the Rapael Smart Glove, it may completely change the way we treat patients with neurological and musculoskeletal injuries.
The glove acts as an exoskeleton and provides movement to damaged areas of a patient by connecting via Bluetooth. It will allow patients to strengthen these areas through exercise without having them exert much of their own energy — which could cause the patient pain and/or discomfort. The glove is even reimbursable through many health plans.
The future of smart hospitals
Experts agree that by 2023, smart hospitals will be a major player in the healthcare industry; and with time for technological advances, there’s only room to improve the products and services existing smart hospitals provide.
As more healthcare IT solutions emerge, patients will find themselves having more options to choose from at more affordable costs. Automating the healthcare industry will also help free up clinicians time to focus more on the patient.