Inside the hospital of the future: Connecting Care with a Purpose
Estimated reading time: 2-4 minutes
Singapore – The COVID-19 pandemic saw hospitals globally scramble to set up more beds, source for ventilators, and ensure that they could be monitored by frontline staff. Several countries in the APAC region introduced guidelines for connected health services to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. For example, in Singapore, at-home recovery has been instituted as the default care management protocol for fully vaccinated individuals who are infected, so as not to overwhelm healthcare facilities. This strategy, which currently applies for up to 40 percent of cases every day, leverages telemedicine services and gives us a glimpse of the potential of future care delivery beyond traditional hospital settings.
Dr Peter Ziese, MD, PhD, Head of Medical Strategy and Innovation, Philips, together with Dr Quek Sin LatChief Executive Officer, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, and Dr Ronnie Ptasznik, Program Director, Monash Health Imaging, Monash Health, expanded on this further at a recent keynote session ‘Inside the hospital of the future’ at HIMSS21 APAC Conference & Exhibition (HIMSS21 APAC), which was moderated by Ivy Lai, Country Manager, Philips Singapore.
The HIMSS APAC annual conference brings together healthcare leaders, healthcare solution providers, and thought leaders in Asia and around the world. This year’s theme, ‘Future-Proof Healthcare: The Emergence of Asia Pacific’, explored future-proof capabilities to help organizations enhance quality of care and reduce costs by focusing on consumers, harnessing the power of technology, and bringing together solutions to be developed and implemented for a sustainable and resilient health ecosystem.
Dr Peter, Dr Quek, and Dr Ronnie discussed the concept of a networked healthcare system where care is delivered at various settings based on severity: ICUs, health hubs in the community, and remote monitoring at home, further exploring impact of hospitals on the healthcare system and what it means for the future of patient care.
Virtual care and the role of hospitals in the future
COVID-19 has accelerated healthcare providers’ need to change digital healthcare delivery. Dr Peter shared that digital transformation towards a networked healthcare system can alleviate challenges shared by Philips’ customers. This includes the provision of healthcare anywhere to support patients at home, data enablement to unlock data siloes, and automation and remote support to lessen the burden of staff shortages.
Dr Quek shared that future-proof hospitals should recognize that healthcare delivery will not be centered within hospitals, but in the community. Hospitals will be but one of many nodes of care in the community, and therefore needs to have technological infrastructure to share information within the ecosystem for meaningful patient care.
Digital health training and adoption
The panelists discussed their different perspectives of digital skills training for clinicians. Dr Quek shared that hospitals need to invest in technologically savvy talent that can grow the hospital’s digital capabilities. It is hopeful to see the open mindedness that the younger generation have towards embracing technology. When it does not come naturally, we have to look at creating opportunities that nurture and develop digital capabilities. Therefore, the process of incubating and growing talent is a deliberate process that creates the required knowledge and experience for an ecosystem that is amenable for clinicians, healthcare providers, and patients.
Dr Ronnie acknowledged that while there is an emphasis on doctors having digital skills, technology such as Electronic Medical Records should be designed simple and manageable enough for most clinicians in public service. Rather than focusing on equipping medical staff with advanced computer or IT skills, we should consider the design and usability of integrated digital systems, including the ease for data entry and provide guidance on structured data for interoperable analysis.
In agreement, Dr Peter added that the expectation for clinicians to be data experts would take their time away from patients. Rather, partnerships with data experts could enhance and complement clinical decisions, while at the same time allowing for clinicians to focus on patient interactions. Healthcare leaders should be encouraged to reexamine the current processes and expectations to implement safe and effective digital health transformation.
Connected Care is uniquely positioned to seamlessly connect patients and caregivers across care settings, delivering clinical, operational and therapeutic solutions that improve health outcomes, patient and staff experience and lower costs rise to these challenges,” “Across the health continuum, from hospital to home, Philips is partnering with healthcare providers to innovate and transform the way care is delivered.”
Dr Peter Ziese, MD, PhD
Head of Medical Strategy and Innovation, Philips
Technology now exists to be able to link the various silos of data and deliver them to the clinician in an appropriate and sensible manner. Management of knowledge is a challenge that we face, but we at the verge of having that technology available to us in the hospital in the future.”
Dr Ronnie Ptasznik
Program Director, Monash Health Imaging, Monash Health
Healthcare delivery in the future will not be centered within hospitals, but in the community. Hospitals will be but one of many nodes of care in the community, and therefore need to have the technological infrastructure to share information within the ecosystem for meaningful patient care.”
Dr Quek Sin Lat
Chief Executive Officer, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Enhancing data integration and management
The speakers also agreed that data integration is essential for effective virtual care delivery outside the hospital. To do so, Dr Ronnie highlighted the importance of data standardization and sensible data aggregation to allow clinicians to access patient data in a timely manner. Dr Peter also mentioned combining AI technology and eICU to provide more predictive and effective care, and better patient outcomes.
“Particularly as we find ourselves living through a global pandemic, we’ve realized that a networked healthcare system, supporting health hubs in the community and patients at home, is needed now more than ever. The networked hospital will support care that is more personal, more accessible, and more dynamic to address the health needs that have evolved rapidly with the spread of COVID,” said Ivy, to conclude the session. She added, “As hospitals accelerate their transformation towards the future, AI and other digital health innovations will be crucial in enabling more personal, more accessible, and more dynamic patient care.”
At Philips, we know that we cannot bring this vision to life on our own. It is vital that we co-create with you, patients, clinicians and stakeholders and apply design and platform thinking to patient pathways, flow and clinical settings.
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