Hospitals and rehabilitation clinics are already at the forefront of process optimization when it comes to core processes such as patient service and the best possible medical care. But now a new type of patient has emerged. Suddenly, the consistent digitization of all stakeholder interests slips into focus. […]
Patients also want to use their usual digital services in hospitals. You expect stable WiFi for surfing, social media, and streaming services; also to keep yourself busy and keep in touch with family and friends. This means that the communication process begins with the mobile device that the patient brings or borrows – which in turn requires appropriate solutions in-house and a fast service process.
Another point on the seemingly endless list of requirements of the IT department-which anyway has to deal with much more basic technology topics in order to maintain the operation IT – wise: the networking of medical devices, the management of the house, the patient data and their billing, the documentation and last but not least the entire communication between people, machines and each other. On what technical basis should all this still be possible – on top of that affordable? Some executives in IT and administration may ask themselves that.
Due to a large number of interfaces and areas of application, process managers, therefore, face challenges that can hardly be overlooked and are not affordable without partners. The IT departments are already busy, experts are scarce. New tasks are constantly coming in from all corners, not least in terms of security and data protection. And everything – we are talking about critical infrastructure-must always be available at 200 to 300 percent. No wonder that many companies turn to us or our partners to handle their digitization projects for areas of application such as communication, alarm, or location.
Cloud as a miracle cure?
Let us take the central issue of alerting in the event of a so-called mass casualty attack (MANV). Not ISDN, mobile communications, Internet, but only a cloud telephony solution with almost unlimited call channels can ensure accessibility in a disaster-and this in both directions: emergency personnel must communicate with the hospital, and the clinic, in turn, can call all doctors and nurses immediately. The existence of secure cloud telephony solutions has made a quantum leap, indeed they are a real alternative in terms of organization and cost. Not only that you can drastically increase your capacities and performance in one fell swoop. Users are also flexible and can expand or reduce the scope as needed. And this without investments in-house.
Main objective: Improvement of processes
But the most important thing and this applies to all healthcare facilities, from acute care hospitals to retirement homes: When a cloud telephony solution and other tools are set up, it is not just a technical solution. Rather, this opportunity is used to significantly improve the processes in the facilities, and in most cases to completely renew them, thus optimizing the entire work structure. For modern IT service providers and system houses, this connection is self-evident.
Cloud telephony solutions as patient-oriented process optimization
Now, the hospital core processes are already experiencing high investments-further fueled by the Hospital Future Act – but these are meeting limited capacities at the service providers and the IT departments. On top of that, there is enormous financial and organizational pressure. It is therefore important to further reduce the length of stay in the hospital, to offer more treatments and to ensure that they are successful – and to make the stay more pleasant overall. The aim of our work as an ICT systems house with a focus on integrated cloud solutions is, therefore, to support and enhance the medical care process and healing, reduce infrastructure costs and optimize performance.
In most cases, digitization involves long projects – usually during ongoing operations. It is obvious that all this can be implemented better in the rather rarer new buildings than in the existing ones. With the latter, however, the important core competence of the smooth migration of IT systems should apply. In principle, the more independent and smaller houses with up to 200 beds are heavier than large or combined hospitals. But once again, the virtual telephone system from the cloud helps, in the nature of which it is that capacities are shared (cheaply). This makes solutions affordable for institutions in rural areas, for example. In this way, for example, you get a fully redundant telephone system for which there is hardly a comparable and affordable choice outside the cloud.
The core requirement is that all services within a hospital must be permanently available. Therefore, cloud services initially did not matter at all. This has changed fundamentally, especially since many functions now run exclusively on the basis of data networks anyway: from the telephone connection to the Internet connections. Hardly any house can finance this demand for availability from its own resources and fully provide, maintain and permanently update it with its own infrastructure. Too many interfaces and subsystems have to be taken into account. Service providers provide these concepts centrally. As ITC system integrators, they offer hospitals, geriatric care, and rehabilitation facilities solutions that combine the advantages of the “communication solution from the cloud” with the high demands on availability and security of communication and alerting employees – of course with multiple redundancies, including geo-redundancy of the data centers and multiple connections of the office connections. This – and the constant updating can not afford an in-house system.
* The author Stefan Patzelt is Head of Innovation / R & amp; D at OstertagDeTeWe.