A number of factors have been contributing to a rapid change in care delivery models world-wide. Increasing cost of care, need to improve access to care, inherent complexity in treatment options and increasing involvement of patients in the care delivery cycles - all of these factors have fostered an environment where hospitals or other care delivery institutions have started shifting focus from treating episodes to managing overall health of patients, while focusing on overall value of care rather than efficiency.
In this context more and more hospitals have invested heavily in ICT capabilities in different areas of management and operations. This burgeoning deployment of ICT capabilities in hospitals has evolved into the concept of Smart Hospitals with the objective of achieving better clinical outcomes, efficiency in supply chain and enhancement of the patient experience.
Discussions with several healthcare executives yield a common question - how can a care delivery institution build its own vision of a Smart Hospital? What does it encompass and how can it be used to fundamentally redefine the way the hospital operates? Is there a commonly understood and universally accepted blueprint of a Smart Hospital?
Based on its work with several leading healthcare institutions across the globe, Arthur D. Little has developed a framework that can be used by hospitals in developing and explaining their vision of a Smart Hospital. The framework details out four key areas of focus within the hospitals management and operations that should be considered by all hospitals when developing their own Smart Hospital Agenda:
- Patient Services and Interfaces
- Care processes and orchestration
- Logistics and Support Services
- Organization and Capability Design
In developing their vision of a Smart Hospital across these four domains, hospitals need to identify the impact on their Med Tech Infrastructure, Facility Design, IT Infrastructure & Operations and the overall Information Management approach. Only when a hospital focuses on all of these domains, can it truly identify and detail a vision that will allow it to become smart.
Implementing this Smart Hospital vision will also require hospitals to fundamentally rethink several key capabilities internally. First would be the concept of how it defines its enterprise architecture approach, which allows it to think through the clinical and non-clinical operations concurrently with the technology capabilities. Second, it needs to build capabilities for partnering with service and technology providers instead of simply procuring ICT capabilities. Thirdly, it has to adopt the fundamentals of a learning organization allowing it to adapt and enhance its own capabilities continuously.