Hospitals are constantly facing pressure to improve the quality of care they provide to patients, and with this pressure comes an array of challenges: a lack of staff and medical resources, financial and budgetary issues, and low-risk patients receiving emergency care they don’t necessarily need – the list goes on and on.
While many look toward technology to alleviate some or all of these pain points, regulatory and legal set-backs and FDA clearance on new technology roll-outs are an uphill battle. Regardless of what it is, a new technology – and the problems it will ultimately solve – is rendered completely useless until it is able to be fully integrated into a hospital’s system, which can take months and even years. So how do we solve this major underlying issue?
That’s the question many technology companies are taking into consideration today as they actively work to solve the issue of rollout at inception in hospitals, and work to avoid vanity tech just for the sake of technology. For example, EIR Healthcare is bringing efficient industrial practices to the healthcare sector through modular technology and prefabricated construction. MedModular, EIR Healthcare’s flagship product is a “smart hospital room in a box,” which comes to a construction site 90% complete. The rooms are customizable and come equipped with a bed, sinks for doctors, a full bathroom, Alexa-enabled capabilities, large screens for both entertainment and medical information and more. MedModular rooms can be built into existing structures, or can be used to build an entirely new facility. Additionally, they can be used to create a temporary structure in the event of a natural disaster, for example.
Other companies are tackling another key issue: the need for technology that cares for patients even outside of a hospital environment. Often, hospitals see patients who can be treated in lower-cost, non-emergency settings, which otherwise puts an unnecessary load on the hospital and its staff, tying up rooms that could be used for patients who are most urgently in need of care. Companies like DispatchHealth are focused on the patient experience beyond the hospital or their provider’s office – they believe there are many patients who may be able to avoid a trip to the emergency room or be discharged from the hospital with lower readmittance rates, all by accessing advanced care services on demand and directly in the patient’s home.
So, what does the future of technology look like in hospitals? Regardless of how new or exciting the technology, a huge part of its future in healthcare is how quickly and seamlessly hospitals can adopt it into their systems. That being said, we’re predicting less advancements in terms of actual new technology and more in terms of new options for medical facilities and clinics, including more outpatient facilities and those targeted specifically toward women’s health, for example. We’ve seen more and more frequently that society is moving away from traditional hospital settings for patient care and toward specialized clinics and micro-hospitals.
We’re also predicting – and hoping for – more patient education in rural areas and those with typically lower incomes, especially ahead of emergent situations and diagnostic testing. Additionally, with technology expanding outside the hospital or doctor’s office, patients will increasingly have access to caregivers in the comfort of their own home, enabling them to be educated on practicing good health. Currently, the Trump administration is pushing for more transparency around pricing in hospitals, but in the context of escalating healthcare costs and shocking projections for the future, the potential for improved healthcare outcomes will also rely on patient education and self-management. Overall, we see no shortage of technology and advanced care models continuing to evolve and radically change the way that hospitals and providers deliver care to patients, for the better.