Imagine the hospital of the future
The achievements of the healthcare industry in the past 18 months have been impressive. The operational, spatial, technological, and relationship adjustments in response to the surge in care services and the need for infection control have exposed the resilience of our healthcare leaders and providers. With this in mind, I can’t help thinking: “If all these changes can happen within one and a half years, what will healthcare look like in 20 years?”
In the face of extraordinary destruction, the pandemic has brought about change, but let us imagine that we can use this courage to transcend the pandemic to make changes and realize future possibilities faster. I am not a futurist; however, I am a “imaginer”, so let us “pretend” the future hospital, because it may come faster than we thought.
Before the advent of modern medicine, people made pilgrimages to “healing temples” or what we now call “hospitals” for health. In this two-part blog post, I will use various examples to imagine what the hospital will look like in the future.
Virtual Reality: Imagine there is no more TV in the ward-because why is there a TV? On the contrary, the room itself is a completely immersive environment, supported by a virtual wall, connecting patients with distant family members or experts in other regions for communication. The walls also provide entertainment options and active distractions, such as virtual landscapes or art museums. Imagine that patients can visit the Grand Canyon in Arizona or the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Even if you are in the hospital, it will feel almost real and provide a feeling of being in other places. In addition, patients who were previously unable to get out of bed can now use immersive multi-sensory virtual experiences in the room environment, or at least virtual reality (VR) headsets, which are as commonplace in hospital rooms as TVs in the past. This is a paradigm shift in experience satisfaction, sense of control, and promotion of social support-each of which has been proven to improve results and reduce stay time.
Augmented Reality: Imagine that hospitals no longer have physical signs, but instead provide communication through augmented reality (AR) through phone screens, AR glasses, and even AR contact lenses or other implantable nanotechnology. The technology improves access, wayfinding, and patient safety by identifying patients on entry and arrival and supplementing their devices with improved whereabouts information. The patient registrar is no longer needed, only the greeter is needed to improve consumer satisfaction through instant personal attention. Wristbands will not exist, and digital interface devices will be restricted because clinicians can supplement glasses (ie, Google Glass) or similar devices with their information to identify and record patients and data. AR will also improve procedural treatment by informing clinicians of the data so that they can keep their visual focus on the procedure instead of assisting the data on the screen.
Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine: Imagine that the emergency department provides “emergency bioremediation care” for future implantable devices or bio-integrated devices in nanomedicine technology, such as skin implantation sensing devices or smart tattoos, which can be used as internal heart monitors or nerve monitoring . There will be body care as we know it today, and there will also be biotechnological care—not as priority as body care. Nevertheless, we will still rely on these bio-integrated devices (like our smart phones today). Without them, our ability to operate in a high-performance manner will be weakened. Fixing the problem will be an urgent care problem that needs to be solved, and the boundaries between physiology and technology will become increasingly blurred.
The advancement and integration of nanotechnology and personalized medicine also requires other support departments that we have not seen before in hospitals. For example, the facility needs to plan a hybrid space that combines the functions of a pharmacy, clinical laboratory, and biomedical maker space, that is, “nanoscience”.
The hospital of the future is likely to be a paradox. It will have fewer but more concentrated beds with high acuity because low-acuity care will be transferred to less intense places/spaces, such as outpatient surgery centers, observation rooms/centers and beds at home; it will be highly technical And procedurally focus on providing only on-site high-sensitivity care; and, hope that it will also become a community asset, still encourage patients to make pilgrimages, but also provide spiritual improvement and socialized health centers as well as gardens, restaurants, education, entertainment, and spa Center and other assets. This future version will become a true high-tech, high-health community center.
In my next blog post, I will discuss the needs of artificial intelligence and high-performance computing; drones and robotics related to logistics; and the relationship between hospitals and home care and communities. stay tuned.