Capitalize on an evolution to Hospital 4.0

Capitalize on an evolution to Hospital 4.0 The next stage of technology evolution will take the healthcare industry much further into the digital era. Hospital 4.0 — a model driven by cloud computing — collects, analyzes and dispenses data from and to physicians, patients, nursing units, machines, devices and administrative systems. Becoming a Hospital 4.0 organization that transforms data into usable information and analytics is the natural answer to questions organizations are asking themselves, questions such as:

  • How can we improve patient care and outcomes?
  • How can we make operations more scalable?
  • How can we introduce software or infrastructure as a service?
  • How can we make care more accessible and mobile?

Your organization can explore the rewards and feasibility of Hospital 4.0 transformation through the cloud-enabled pillars of the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), big data and advanced analytics, 3D printing, and mixed reality and virtual simulation.

IoT Healthcare IoT is about leveraging the internet to make smart connections. Smart devices send and receive information to and from the hospital or other facility, and patients in their daily lives. Examples of these devices include contact lenses with sensors for diabetics to gauge glucose levels, and a smart pill to monitor adherence to a medication schedule.

Including wearables, there are over 500,000 different types of smart medical devices on the market today. An average of 10 to 15 devices are dedicated to each hospital bed, with the majority networked. The market for medical wearables continues to grow and is estimated to hit $12.1 billion in 2021.

AI Healthcare AI applications include robot-assisted surgeries, administrative workflow, virtual nursing, medication dosage error reductions and clinical trial participant identifier. The hope of AI is boosting the physician-patient relationship through operational and administrative efficacy, and improvement of efficiencies in disease diagnosis, management and treatment. An ultimate goal is the reduction of mortality rates.

Use case: A regional health system had grown by acquisition and was operating two EMR systems and other legacy systems. Leaders wanted to consolidate patient portals and allow patients to electronically schedule appointments and preregister.

An AI mobile and web app was developed. Transactions are interfaced, and data from EMRs is delivered to the CRM system so customer representatives have a holistic view for assisting patients.
The market for healthcare AI tools is expected to surpass $34 billion by 2025, driven by desire to automate tasks and provide deeper insights for physicians and the business office.

An important intention is to allow more time for interaction between medical professionals and patients. But to some, visions of healthcare’s digital future bring trepidation about less, not more, human interaction. There are also fears about eliminating the human touch and the intuition gained from personal presence, as well as loss of jobs.

These and other concerns — as organizations transform by adopting and upgrading technology — need to be discussed proactively and addressed in thoughtful change management.

Big data and advanced analytics The potential for greater data utilization and analysis are many — accessibility, evaluation, manipulation, querying and reporting. Benefits accrue throughout care delivery and, more recently, to core operational back-office solutions, e.g., financials, supply chain and human capital management. The challenge is in standardizing alignment in enterprise data management and governance.

To effectively use and analyze data, patient-centric and data-sharing standards must be ensured. There must be governance around interoperability and the exchange of information. Key questions need to be asked about data management with the organization:

  • Where is our data?
  • How often is it updated?
  • Is it being managed automatically?
  • Is master data leaving and integrating with other systems automatically?
  • What third parties are cataloged?

And importantly, answers to questions about consumer use of data must be answered:

  • How do patients get the data?
  • What data can they get on personal devices?
  • How is the interaction conveyed to the organization and/or third parties?

3D printing Three major areas comprise healthcare 3D printing — prosthetics, bioprinting and tissue engineering, and pharmacology. The printers are used to create a variety of medical devices, including those that match a patient’s unique anatomy, and medication molds. Current technology is producing life-changing results, and anticipated technology will expand the possibilities.

Customized prosthetics are created through a scan of a patient’s body. Bioprinting and tissue engineering leaped forward when, as reported in early 2019, Tel Aviv University researchers printed the world’s first 3D vascularized engineered heart using a patient’s own cells and biological material. Though not yet suited for use, it was the first successful engineering and printing of an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers. In pharmacology, medication molds can be so precisely printed that each pill contains the appropriate dosage.

5 pillars of Hospital 4.0 •  IoT
•  AI
•  Big data and advanced analytics
•  3D printing
•  Mixed reality and virtual simulation
Mixed reality and virtual simulation This technology is the merging of actual and virtual to produce new environments and visualizations, with physical and digital objects coexisting and interacting in real-time. The three-dimensional representation of bodies is becoming popular in surgery and for simulation training in medical education.

Mixed reality and virtual simulation also perform the valuable service of helping patients better understand different types of surgical procedures, and the way their medications work.

Interoperability A Hospital 4.0 organization needs to look at all of its technology as a totality and determine where further interoperability would be advantageous. This could mean an exploration of such ideas as collaborating with disparate entities like transportation companies, retail pharmacies to provide complete services and get new solutions to market, and disparate on-premise and other cloud solutions.

Interoperability requires appropriate infrastructure and enterprise platforms. Just as crucial, a successfully connected organization has in place expertise in management, integration, oversight and security of internal and third-party cloud operations — the right people on staff or as an external team to evaluate, challenge, integrate, train and oversee to ensure patient engagement and safety throughout Hospital 4.0.

For further details and guidance, register to replay the Hospital 4.0 webcast.


Bill SlamaBill Slama
Senior Manager, Digital Transformation and Management, Healthcare
T +1 312 602 8015