Hospital of the future: Smart and connected

Daniel Faurlin
March 28, 2019

Digital transformation is changing the hospital experience. A fully connected hospital network provides a means to link patients, health professionals and machines, improving workflows and optimizing the care pathway.

The hospital of tomorrow is already starting a "connected" revolution. In this model, the hospital acts as a smart hub.

Hospital of the future Smart and Connected for blog body

The intelligent administration of the hospital

Connected hospitals pool and share their network resources and data. This connected trend is expanding to include medical offices, nursing homes, health professionals, and more.

Administrators are primarily concerned with network security, network performance and network maintenance, as well as the ability to connect Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices and the availability of innovative apps. Patients and visitors can benefit from in-door Location-Based Services (LBS) that provide wayfinding, geo-referencing, geolocation, and behavior analytics.

The patient room of the future

Modern, friendly and ultra-connected, patient rooms contribute to the autonomy of the care staff, while facilitating the services they provide.

For simple services, the patient no longer needs to have the care staff help them. Through an application on a tablet or smartphone, they can control their bed position, change the temperature of their room, close the curtains, order meals and more. Their touch screen controls all comfort-related applications and provides hotel-type services, while the smart healthcare network ensures that all services are delivered and secured from medical applications, such as Electronic Health Records (EHR) while sharing the same network infrastructure.

Applications already exist to automate admissions and discharge from a hospital. Now those capabilities and services are also accessible through smartphones and tablet applications. This is supported by a network infrastructure that is always available, offering reliable and effective solutions for real-time connectivity for patients, care givers and other relevant parties. This intelligent connectivity becomes the indispensable and a common link in your organization.

By qualifying the patient calls to the healthcare team, caregivers can prioritize their interventions such as a call for a glass of water, call for assistance for pain, dizziness, or distress.
This will transform the way in which patients interact with staff:

• Real-time feedback of information

• Doctors can remotely monitor patients

• Increase the frequency of information exchanges between patients and the healthcare team

• Better resource and staff management with the right resources available when and where needed and required

Location-Based Services (LBS)

A relatively new capability is Location-Based Services, using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. A LBS infrastructure is designed to provide wayfinding (indoor turn-by-turn navigation), geolocation (where am I, where is my destination) and geonotification (push messaging e.g. hand hygiene for entry/exit), as well as asset tracking, for locating people and assets:

• Simplifies the patient’s journey with self-guided navigation tools and interactive kiosks that when located in the outpatient or waiting room section, promotes dissemination of information and patient self-registration to reduce or eliminate wait times.

• Secures people and property with an intelligent alarm processing solution, able to connect events generated by an individual. A person, a sensor or connected object that staff, with the appropriate skills and nearest to the alarm, can respond.

• Enables nurses to spend more time with patients since they can reduce the amount of time looking for doctors or medical equipment

• Improves maintenance services by monitoring the medical and non-medical resources to better organize them:

• Reduce downtime of facilities or critical equipment

• Synchronize patient treatment schedules

• Improve inventory management

Innovation: People and resources in the right place at the right time

Hospitals are now setting up new Location-Based Services and solutions for people and assets. A badge provided to staff and patients helps locate them or prevents them from entering protected areas or getting lost.

A tag installed on equipment can be traced, generating a notification to the geolocation service if the equipment goes past a pre-defined zone where the equipment should not be moved to.

Crisis communication

In emergency scenarios, such as “plan blanc” *, where real-time communication and collaboration is key, the hospital will be able to synchronize all elements of its organization to provide an optimal response with:

• Mobilization of teams

• Internal and external communications

• Management of beds and rooms

• Internal patient transportation

• Location of medical equipment

• Setup of impromptu/temporary triage areas (indoor or outdoor)

A complete network connected throughout your region

Innovative, integrated hotel-type services from application partners facilitate admissions and discharges from hospitals. This provides access to hotel-like guest services such as VOD through a smartphone / tablet application.

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) supports a single network infrastructure, secured by unified user/device policy management, with IoMT identification, onboarding, enablement and containment, all supported by a single network management system (on premise or in the cloud), that provides full configuration, management and control of a hospital network, complete with network and application analytics to fine-tune network performance. ALE is also working on an IoT Gateway that standardizes interfaces for the many protocols used by different subsystems such as home automation, IoT SigFox or LoRa, MQTT, and facilitating their integration through Alcatel-Lucent Rainbow™.

ALE provides a unique solution with OmniAccess Stellar Location-Based Services (LBS) for wayfinding, geolocation and geonotification and is working on a BLE based asset tracking solution for people and assets with open APIs for application development.

A badge provided to staff as well as patients can be used to locate them and prevent them from entering protected areas or getting lost. A tag is installed on the equipment to be traced, such that when it passes near a receiver, its position is updated on a floorplan map by the asset tracking service.

ALE telephones also integrate Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) function to enrich the “mesh” and improve the geolocation accuracy.

Hospitals supported by technological innovations are future focused and place high importance on the well-being of both users and healthcare professionals. Tomorrow's progressive hospital is being built today.

Connectivity is spearheading this transition, moving from concept to realization and generalization.

ALE continues to focus on patient and caregiver services and support provided by a unique infrastructure for geolocation. This effective equipment and people monitoring contributes to safety while improving the flow of patients and visitors.

Read the other “Hospital of the Future” blogs:

• The future patient experience

• Technology for health professionals

Download the white paper to discover ALE’s complete vision of the Hospital of the Future.

 * French plan blanc: The French white plan (plan blanc) is the emergency plan for facing a sudden increase in hospital activity, such as a massive number of casualties to treat due to an accident, disaster, epidemic or a lasting climatic event that becomes deadly for fragile people such as a heatwave.

Daniel Faurlin

Daniel Faurlin

Director, Product & Solution Marketing and Head of Network Solutions for Healthcare - ‎Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

Daniel is responsible for developing, positioning, communicating and educating internal and external clients, on the value proposition of ALE solutions in the Transportation and Healthcare verticals. He has worked in start-ups, small-to-large enterprise businesses, in a variety of executive leadership roles. Daniel is an Electrical Engineering graduate from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.

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