What makes smart hospitals smart?
The answer is design.
There is a growing trend of web-based doctor-patient relationships in the emerging practice of digital healthcare. Designers now concentrate more time on designing for healthcare technology that ever before. Smart Hospital design now includes innovations like check-in kiosks, multi-purpose rooms and education spaces that integrate digital technology. Widely dispersed check-in kiosks allow patients to schedule appointments ahead of time and simply scan a print-out or screen on their phone to check in. It is just as easy as buying a ticket to a concert ahead of time and having it checked at the entrance.
An article in Healthcare Design Magazine examined How to Design a Smart Hospital. Be sure to read the entire article but here is their summary:
“To respond to a technologically driven environment of care and prepare for its evolution in the future, healthcare providers must consider bolstering the patient experience both inside their facilities and out through a keen focus on connectivity, communication, and access to information. Healthcare architects and designers have a unique opportunity to unite architecture and technology by creating dynamic and engaging settings that cater to the individualized needs of patients and identifying opportunities for staff and administrators that broaden treatment options as well as where that treatment is provided.”
Another requirement for smart hospital design is to integrate connectivity throughout the facility. It is especially crucial in waiting areas where patients and visitors require access to online data. Having charging outlets either in or near modular and bariatric seating is a must.
Hybrid exam/consultation rooms are replacing rigid exam and physician specified rooms. The furniture in this new type of space must be flexible and adaptable. Wall-mounted monitors can connect to portable devices to allow doctors and patients to have relevant digital medical records readily available for consultation.
Education and Consulting spaces
Education areas where patients learn how to use the devices and apps that monitor their healthcare are another growing trend. These spaces can also integrate telemedicine where patients can place video calls to a doctor who may not be in the hospital that day or consult a specialist in another location. Pediatric areas are ripe for the introduction of technology like media “walls” that can educate and entertain young patients.
These and other uses of technology that can develop rapidly present new challenges for designers and administration alike to deal with. Having flexible mindsets, approaches and healthcare furniture can help everyone meet them.