Transforming Healthcare with Technology
The healthcare industry has undergone significant transformations over the years, and technology has emerged as a pivotal force driving innovation and efficiency. Zebra's Global Healthcare Vision Study aimed to understand the role of technology in healthcare and how it addresses the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog explores the findings of the study, highlighting how integrated technology solutions are unburdening healthcare delivery and empowering hospitals to deliver exceptional patient care.
The Changing Landscape of Healthcare Technology
Traditional pen-and-paper methods are fast becoming obsolete, and hospitals are increasingly adopting sophisticated digital solutions to enhance patient care and streamline operations. The integration of technology has led to seamless communication, real-time data analysis, and optimised workflows. As healthcare facilities transition from outdated systems to state-of-the-art technologies, the impact on patient outcomes and overall hospital efficiency becomes evident.
Enabling Collaborative Workflows: From Silos to Unified Solutions
Historically, hospitals took a siloed approach to technology, focusing on individual tasks and workflows. However, this fragmented strategy often led to clunky processes and a tangled web of standalone systems, hindering the seamless delivery of patient care. In today's dynamic healthcare landscape, hospitals recognise the importance of embracing unified solutions that facilitate instant connections between colleagues, equipment, and critical information.
The study identified three technology-powered strategies that are leading the way:
Real-time Intelligence: This involves collecting and analysing information as close to real-time as possible to enhance patient care and improve outcomes. Real-time data on the status and location of assets, equipment, and supplies enable hospitals to reduce costs and save valuable time for their staff.
Intelligent Workflow Automation: Hospitals can leverage data and predictive analytics to assign the right tasks and equipment to the right personnel at the right time. This not only increases staff efficiency but also reduces unnecessary costs.
Healthcare-Optimised Mobility Solutions: With mobile devices such as handheld computers and tablets, healthcare professionals gain access to patient information, can update records, and communicate seamlessly at the point of care. This fosters collaboration, saves time, and enhances patient care quality.
Beyond the Bedside: Leveraging Locationing Technologies
The adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced technologies like radio frequency identification (RFID) and real-time location systems (RTLS) is gaining momentum in hospitals. These solutions offer crucial insights into the location and status of assets, people, and equipment, leading to smarter, in-the-moment decisions.
Intelligent workforce automation and AI are also transforming patient care with opportunities for remote consulting and diagnostics, which enhances outpatient experiences. By leveraging locationing technologies, hospitals achieve the visibility required to improve accountability, optimise patient throughput, and heighten asset visibility by converting data into actionable insights.
With the aid of technology, hospitals can identify, track, locate, and monitor the status of every patient, staff member, and asset. This level of data-driven precision enables hospitals to make informed decisions promptly, leading to enhanced patient care and operational efficiency.
Confronting Long-Standing Challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges to hospitals worldwide, exacerbating pre-existing issues and exposing the fragility of healthcare systems. While many challenges were not new, they quickly worsened as the pandemic stretched resources and underscored inadequacies. Hospitals faced the urgent need to optimise operational efficiencies, reduce clinician burnout, and improve the overall standard of care.
As hospitals turned to technology solutions to cope with the demands of the pandemic, they realised that technology not only helped them overcome immediate challenges but also prepared them for future uncertainties. The integration of technology played a crucial role in unburdening healthcare delivery and empowering hospitals to meet patient needs effectively.
The Power of Clinical Mobility
Clinical mobility, which entails the use of mobile devices by healthcare professionals at the point of care, is gaining traction. Purpose-built, hospital-owned devices are preferred over bring-your-own-device (BYOD) alternatives due to their durability, security, and disinfectant-ready features. These devices, equipped with GPS locationing, barcode scanning, and RFID readers, help streamline patient care, supply chain management, and emergency logistics.
Healthcare mobility manufacturers are integrating essential new capabilities into devices, such as GPS locationing, barcode scanning, and RFID readers, with the hospital experience in mind. Intuitive interfaces, durable design, and streamlined applications that include real-time intelligence and tracking solutions improve efficiency and help minimise burnout—a crucial priority for hospitals.
Enabling Better Patient Care with Real-Time Intelligence
Real-time intelligence plays a pivotal role in improving patient care and operational efficiency. Access to up-to-the-minute information about assets, equipment, and supplies reduces costs and saves valuable time for hospital staff. Locationing technologies like RFID tags and readers offer visibility to optimise patient throughput and improve staff operational efficiency.
With locationing technologies, hospitals can achieve the visibility required to improve accountability, optimise patient throughput, and heighten asset visibility by converting data into actionable insights. Using technology like RFID tags and readers, locationing solutions can identify, track, locate, and monitor the status of every patient, staff member, and asset. This level of data-driven precision enables hospitals to make informed decisions promptly, leading to enhanced patient care and operational efficiency.
Embracing Technology for Enhanced Patient Experience
As patients' expectations for increased visibility into their treatment plans and greater control over their care rise, hospitals recognise the significance of technology in improving patient experiences. Collaboration tools, healthcare applications, and predictive systems, driven by technology, are transforming patient care from reactive to predictive.
- Reactive - Operating with legacy systems and mobile devices
- Predictive - Assigning the right person/equipment to the right issue at the right time
With the advancement of technology, hospitals can offer more personalised care to patients, addressing their individual needs and preferences. From telehealth consultations to remote patient monitoring, technology enables better patient engagement and empowers patients to take an active role in managing their health.
From Reactive to Predictive: Aiding with Technology
Aided by technology solutions and increased connectivity, patient care is moving from manual and reactive processes to responsive and predictive systems. More predictive operations leverage visibility to assign the right tasks and equipment to the right person at the right time. This benefits staff by increasing efficiency while also avoiding misspent costs or time.
With the integration of predictive analytics and other real-time collaboration tools, hospitals can make proactive decisions that anticipate patients' needs and optimise resource allocation. Predictive models based on real-time data help healthcare professionals identify potential issues before they escalate, allowing for timely interventions and improved patient outcomes.
Transformational Tech Trends: The Next Five Years
The study identified several technology trends that are expected to shape the healthcare industry in the next five years:
- Telehealth: Expanding access to remote healthcare consultations, diagnosis, and treatment.
- Patient Health Tracking Devices: Enhancing patient engagement and data collection for personalised care.
- Real-Time Health Platforms: Providing up-to-date health information and insights to patients and healthcare providers.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): Revolutionising medical research, diagnostics, and treatment planning.
- Electronic Health Records (EHR): Enabling seamless access to patient health information across healthcare settings.
- Blockchain (Data Security and Accessibility): Strengthening data security and interoperability in healthcare systems.
- Cloud Computing: Facilitating data storage, processing, and collaboration in a scalable and cost-effective manner.
- Workforce Analytics: Optimising staff allocation and productivity through data-driven insights.
- Augmented Reality: Enhancing medical training, surgical procedures, and patient education.
- Computer Vision: Improving image analysis and diagnostics in medical imaging.
Streamlining Workflows Across Care Environments
Hospitals understand technology adoption increases efficiency and elevates patient care. And while many clinicians and decision-makers appreciate the transformative benefits technology provides, they also want a cohesive approach that eliminates information silos, enables smarter workflows, and enhances communications and collaboration.
By integrating technology into every aspect of hospital operations, from patient care to supply chain management, hospitals can streamline workflows, reduce errors, and optimise resource utilisation. This technology-driven approach empowers healthcare professionals to focus on what they do best: delivering exceptional patient care.
The Future of Healthcare Is Here
The Zebra's Global Healthcare Vision Study highlights the transformative role of technology in healthcare, empowering hospitals to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. As healthcare continues to evolve, embracing integrated technology solutions is critical in delivering exceptional patient care and driving operational efficiency. With a forward-thinking approach, hospitals can create a future where technology-driven innovation thrives, and patient outcomes improve significantly.
Zebra's Global Healthcare Vision Study has shed light on the profound impact of technology in the healthcare industry. Hospitals across the globe are embracing integrated solutions that foster collaborative workflows, leverage locationing technologies, and enable better patient care with real-time intelligence. By investing in clinical mobility and predictive systems, healthcare facilities are better prepared to face the challenges of the present and future.
The future of healthcare lies in the hands of technology-driven innovation and interconnected hospitals. By streamlining workflows and empowering healthcare professionals with powerful devices and applications, hospitals can deliver personalised, proactive, and patient-centric care. As technology continues to evolve, the possibilities for healthcare are boundless, and the vision of a smarter, more efficient healthcare ecosystem becomes a reality. By harnessing the full potential of technology, healthcare can achieve new heights in patient care, operational efficiency, and overall well-being.
Call our Sales Team on 03333 660 842 for a free consultation to answer any questions you may have about technology in healthcare. Our dedicated healthcare team will provide expert advice. Get in touch to find out more about the future of healthcare today!