Ard Schalkwijk, Europe Sales Manager iHealthcare, Advantech Europe
Healthcare budgets are constantly shrinking, and a shortage of personnel due to an ageing population and workforce has meant that hospitals are suffering, particularly in high-risk areas such as accident and emergency and intensive care. As a leading player in the global healthcare market, Advantech believes that technology can drive efficiency significantly, but this requires a transition of methods and skillsets, meaning all key stakeholders need to be on board. So what would this transition look like?
Advantech is currently using technology to not only improve the speed and efficiency of medical processes, but also to eliminate human error and provide a better standard of care. One of the ways we are looking to innovate is by implementing self-service vital-sign measurement kiosks in out-patient departments. A nurse will usually take three to five minutes taking a patient’s vitals, and with hundreds of patients passing through each day, automating this process will save a significant amount of time for medical staff.
Real-time location services will also be implemented in the future to locate mobile medical equipment, as well as track the patient journey between departments within the hospital by using tags and uploading the data via Bluetooth. Another solution is video-over-IP transportation, whereby 4K video can be transferred without compression to other operating rooms and surgeries. This way, medical staff around the world can guide other professionals, even in the most remote locations, through processes that they may not have the knowledge or expertise for in-house. Medication dispensing carts are also in development, allowing nurses to access specific medication bins when a patient’s wristband is scanned, minimising human error and increasing efficiency.
In the future, hospitals will move towards being entirely digitised, from being a treatment centre to more of a communication centre. We may even see hospitals that are completely patient-less. To fully embrace these advancements, hospitals will also need to make changes, namely to their electronic health record systems. These records are extremely siloed and only accessible by hospital staff, and they need to be able to open up and connect with this new technology if the health sector wishes to push forward.
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