Packed file rolls, which are pushed with squeaky wheels over the hospital corridors, overflowing document shelves and with neat handwriting documented care procedures – a rare picture in today’s clinics. Digital technology has found its way into many areas of our clinics and care facilities and is playing an increasingly important role in day-to-day clinical work. Due to the constant change, the question arises how the digital hospital of the future might look like.
Status Quo – Care with the help of computers
Modern healthcare facilities are constantly evolving from the classic “pen-and-paper workflows” to digital, automated processes. Patients are registered in the system via health insurance chip cards, doctors create digital diagnoses and various data are recorded by nursing staff via computer, in order to be further processed in the hospital information system, HIS for short. These processes form the basis for digital communication through the connection of disparate systems, allowing automated data management and processing. However, this is not a principle in today’s clinics, but rather limited to individual areas. A coexistence of traditional documentation on paper and computer-aided data processing is currently widespread.
Nevertheless, the computer is indispensable in the dayly work of hospital staff. A study by Hans Böckler Foundation confirms that more than 70% of the employees of a clinic regularly use digital technology in the areas of communication, logistics, management, patient care, information and qualification. Among other things, this means that carers, doctors and administrative staff need greater technical know-how and, above all, time in order to cope with the increasing bureaucratization in nursing. The aim of a digital hospital of the future is therefore to implement more effective workflows and automated processes through the use of flexible IT architecture. Thus, the bureaucracy would be reduced and more time will be generated for patient care. But how could this project be realized in the future?
The future of patient care
Digital patient data will make it increasingly easy to create disease images using automated data analysis. These analysis allow a faster and more targeted diagnosis and thus a more effective and timely patient care. However, this requires a comprehensive networking of the involved systems and the integration of various departments and external bodies, such as specialists, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. The classic, hand-delivered medical reports by the patient themselves, which today often form the basis of communication between doctors, will be replaced by an “all-round networking” of participating systems so information can be reliably provided everywhere and pre-analyzed. The odyssey that patients nowadays often have to take to find a specialist may be a thing of the past.
Networking would also allow data collected in the past to be compared and provide a warning function for increased levels or symptoms. Frequently elevated blood values can thus be the basis for the diagnosis of a metabolic problem. Also conceivable would be the direct networking of external rescue services or medical first aiders. By automatically transferring data to the hospital system, it is possible to make important preparations and decisions for the best possible patient care even before they arrive at the clinic. Various further scenarios would be conceivable in the digital hospital of the future, but first the foundations for the digital transformation have to be set. For this, the focus should be on both the technical and organizational implementation.
The patient in the focus of hospital IT
Administration and nursing processes such as patient registration, work plans or treatment documentation will in future be coupled with the help of a flexible network of different systems. In addition, medical data should be available promptly wherever it is needed. A dynamic communication platform in the form of middleware, which enables secure data transfer and checks authorizations, forms the basis of such a dynamic exchange of information. This ensures that the patient is again the focus of hralthcare and reduces the time required for lengthy documentation and information exchange. The digital platform Orchestra realizes this step with the Healthcare Edition and thus considerably expands the architecture of the existing clinic IT towards the digital hospital.