How healthcare providers are preparing for after COVID-19
Despite the coronavirus pandemic stretching the capabilities of healthcare providers globally, thought is already being given to what healthcare will look like after the current situation abates.
With many establishments caught short by shortages of equipment including ventilators and personal protective equipment, undoubtedly attention will fall on being better prepared for the next pandemic.
According to consulting firm McKinsey, practices and procedures are consequently being re-examined, with fundamental shifts likely. The firm identifies three key areas:
New paradigms for infrastructure, geographic distribution of providers, and care settings
Operational excellence, which will be critical in the next normal
Emergence of new growth opportunities and diversification
The first encompasses such activities as improving the flexibility of hospitals by constructing them to integrate infection controlling and intensive care systems. Also of importance is dedicated facilities for care of critical illnesses unrelated to the pandemic, such as cancer, which otherwise might be negatively affected by the focus on COVID-19, and a distancing of “ancillary” functions such as imaging and lab tests from the main hospital facility.. A ramping up of virtual care is also on the cards, meaning access to healthcare through digital or remote methods when possible, such as chatbots and contact with doctors via phones.
The second point, focusing on operational excellence, will be impacted by financial challenges related to the wider world’s economic recovery from the shock of COVID-19. Even when the virus is retreating, people are likely to remain concerned about the virus and avoid visiting healthcare facilities, even when such a visit might be necessary. Getting the supplies needed for healthcare workers will continue to be a challenge, as will hiring healthcare workers themselves.
Despite, or perhaps because of, its destructiveness, the virus does open doors to new areas such as telemedicine, remote screening and even new collaborations between private and public healthcare.
Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know
Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly?
Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution.
What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room.
The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place. A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff.
All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”
Why: Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.”
“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”
Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.