“Smart hospitals are those that optimize, redesign or build new clinical processes, management systems and potentially even infrastructure enabled by underlying digitized networking of interconnected assets to provide a valuable service or insight, which was not possible or available earlier to achieve better patient care, experience and operational efficiency.”
–Frost & Sullivan, Future of Smart Hospitals
Recently, Frost & Sullivan published research demonstrating how digital transformation in hospitals will be increasingly mobile-first. Mobile technology exists at the intersection of physical and digital, moving through hospital corridors with patients, visitors, caregivers and medical devices. In such a highly fluid and ever-changing environment, mobility unleashes greater flexibility, productivity and efficiency.
How Hospitals Can Build a Smarter Mobile Strategy
Digital transformation is rarely achieved in a single step. Hospitals can start moving toward a mobile-first future by addressing achievable wins today while laying a solid foundation and single point of integration for future use cases.
From a technology point of view, hospitals need an adaptable mobile platform that can work with a variety of hardware partners and configurations—especially those of their existing wireless infrastructure. A location-enabled hardware infrastructure (be it Wi-Fi, physical or virtual Bluetooth beacons or even cutting-edge smart LED lighting) is the key to being able to create contextually relevant mobile experiences and effective workflow optimizations.
Learn more by watching our on-demand webinar: Mobile at the Intersection of Hardware and Software.
From a strategic perspective, a patient / visitor wayfinding app is the logical first use case for testing the power of location-enabled mobile engagement. Wayfinding issues are common to nearly all hospitals (who hasn’t been lost in a maze of corridors?), and a mobile app offers a relatively easy and ideal solution. As users begin interacting with the hospital’s mobile platform, they start to generate a wealth of contextual mobile data. This mobile data can be captured and analyzed to yield operational insights, such as where traffic patterns could be optimized and continuously improve the patient experience.
Expanding Use Cases and Value through the Mobile App Lifecycle
Moving through the mobile app lifecycle, we always come back to Phase 1: Strategy. The same mobile platform and location technologies that enable wayfinding can be leveraged for additional use cases. By building upon a scalable mobile platform, hospitals can start to expand mobile’s impact in multiple directions:
- Patient / visitor engagement: Appointment reminders, parking service integrations, concierge services such as nearby hotel/restaurant information, etc.
- Hospital process automation and workflow optimization: Express check-in, patient / physician dwell time reporting, automatic patient status updates, etc.
- Equipment, personnel and asset tracking: Real-time location systems (RTLS)
Selecting the next use case(s) to implement will depend on each hospital’s unique goals, infrastructure, budget and timeline. With each new use case, more valuable contextual data can be harnessed to keep improving patient engagement as well as hospital operations. In this way, the mobile app lifecycle is like a spiral—expanding outward in opportunities as well as value over time.
Tomorrow’s Smart Hospital Starts Now
Frost & Sullivan’s report found that by 2025, hospitals worldwide are poised to spend billions on remote patient monitoring, patient flow solutions and mobile asset tracking. A robust mobile solution like we’ve outlined above could help trim that expense through efficiencies of scale and strategic leverage of the mobile app lifecycle—but only if savvy hospital decision-makers get started soon.
For more information about how mobile act as the hub of digital transformation in healthcare, come see us at HIMSS 2018! We’ll be on-site in the Intelligent Health Pavilion at booth #11657 and I’ll be giving a presentation at the Leadership theatre diving into details about building a mobile strategy on 3/6 at 12PM.