THE DIGITALIZED HOSPITAL OF THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

04 March 2020

The rapidly developing technology that enables the digitalization of business processes offers great opportunities for the healthcare sector. Let us accompany Elisabeth Brönnimann, a now sprightly 80-year-old, for a while on her patient path in a not too distant future.

One morning in 2030, Elisabeth Brönnimann enters the supra-regional Operation Centre Seeland, which was created in response to the continuing cost pressure. As a diabetic, her natural vision is impaired as a result of the disease. Therefore, intelligent data glasses with retina projection and augmented reality capabilities help her. Because of increasing pain in her knee, she has decided to use one of the new biomechanical prostheses. Her medical digital assistant MEDA supported her decision. MEDA evaluates sensor data regarding movement, heart rate, body temperature, etc. and is connected to the Swiss Virtual Medical Network Cloud. This enables MEDA to use artificial intelligence to incorporate pseudonymized data of other participants and thus their experiences. In addition, Mrs. Brönnimann has released her Electronic Patient Record (EPD) for analysis by MEDA.

Entry to the supra-regional operation center

Upon entry, Ms. Brönnimann is identified by the camera and greeted in a friendly manner through data glasses. For visitors without a digital affinity, there is a reception with an avatar, which gives people friendly advice on their concerns. Mrs. Brönnimann's pulse is then measured from the slightly changing color of her face by means of image processing and, in parallel, the cost credit is triggered for the administration. Then Mrs. Brönnimann follows a virtual tracer with the help of her data glasses, which leads her to the hospital room. The modular standard room has already been configured for her and is ready for use after a hygiene robot has done its job.

Mrs. Brönnimann carried out the necessary preliminary examinations before the procedure with her family doctor Dr. Wenger in Biel. He communicates the results to the EPD. In the operating center, the orthopedic surgeon who has access to the EPD plans the operation on the basis of the computer tomography performed there. He is supported by the intelligent hospital system, which suggests the optimal knee prosthesis. This means that all the data is ready to control the logistics so efficiently that no unnecessary material from the sterile store is packed. The prosthesis is manufactured "just in time" in 3D printing at the Seeland operating center.

In the hospital room

Arriving in her hospital room, Mrs. Brönnimann is greeted by a large screen, informed about the planned stay and asked about her food preferences. Since she has given the go-ahead, the system can include her diagnoses. Now she welcomes the responsible nurse personally and informs her about the procedure. Personal contact is important and at the same time, it is ensured that Ms. Brönnimann gets along with the digital assistants. It is important to the hospital group that even customers with little affinity for the digital world feel comfortable. For such patients, there is the screen on the one hand and classical leaflets on the other. Anyone who likes can use virtual reality glasses from the hospital to give informed consent for the operation and the general consultant for medical research, while playfully informing themselves in virtual space about the upcoming operation. This is the big hit with many customers in 2030.

Operation on the day of admission

Mrs. Brönnimann's operation will take place on the day of admission. The required own blood has already been collected in the operation center. After a problem-free computer-assisted intervention and a short, complication-free stay in the intensive care unit, she already feels well. Her vital parameters are within the expected range.

Aftercare in the "Hospital@home"

Mrs. Brönnimann can now transfer to the "Hospital@home". This concept has been successfully used by the Seeland Hospital Group for several years with regard to costs and quality. As hospitals are still struggling with multi-resistant germs, follow-up care at home is safer if the care is appropriate. The hospital group provides the necessary infrastructure and specialist staff within the framework of the extended flat rate per case. The hospital system with artificial intelligence selects the qualified outpatient nurse and sends him or her the autonomously driving bus equipped for aftercare to the front door. The system also organizes physiotherapy. The intelligence of the system lies in the fact that it evaluates data from similar patients and recognizes which measures were most successful. This enables individualized care based on empirical data. Personal medical visits also take place in the "Hospital@home", where the doctor is usually present as an avatar. Thanks to the individualized care in her own four walls, Ms. Brönnimann is back on her feet in much less time than was the case ten years ago. After a final visit with the main participants, the case is closed and her family doctor takes over the care of Mrs. Brönnimann again.

The future has already begun

Health care is changing not because of new technologies, but because actors recognize their benefits in order to become more successful. Looking into the future may seem utopian, but the necessary technologies are already being used for research projects and as prototypes at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH):

  • As a mobile patient navigator, PFAD-App helps the user to move about on their patient path in an appropriate way. It provides appointment information and offers relevant information for the phase in which users are currently on their path. If users have released this with "Informed Consent", service providers can view the current status of the patient pathway.
  • Emma is an electronic medication assistant, a chatbot, which reminds users to take their medication, informs them about interactions and explains why taking the medication is important. Emma thus increases therapy compliance and promotes patient safety.
  • As an app for patient education, CLAIRE integrates virtual reality (VR) technology and a chatbot. With the aid of 3D VR glasses, users enter a virtual world where they can interact with objects, receive information and document consent. The chatbot represents the "brain" of the app. It conveys knowledge on the topic of education. Communication takes place via voice input and output.
  • DATA is a secure data platform for health data. The independent platform manages the data like a bank manages money. If the users give their consent, the service providers or researchers may work with it. Thus, users can decide for themselves to whom they make their data available. The medical informatics department of the BFH has implemented various apps that store data on MIDATA.

 

This article is published on netzwoche.ch

 

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