How smart buildings are changing the face of healthcare

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The analyst firm Market Research Future predicts that the global smart hospital market will grow to over $77 Billion by 2025. That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.5% over a 7-year period starting in 2018. Why is there such a high level of interest in smart hospitals and the smart buildings they occupy?

There are four reasons.

  1. Most healthcare executives want to establish differentiation and competitive advantage by offering a higher degree of services to occupants. Smart hospital buildings provide the infrastructure needed to develop the services that greatly enhance staff, patient, and visitor safety and comfort.
  2. Owners of smart hospitals also seek to optimize operational productivity. Smart hospitals capture a new level of process and operational data through advanced monitoring that enables medical experts, healthcare engineers, technicians, and facilities personnel to produce significant efficiency gains within their individual spheres of influence.
  3. Smart buildings also improve core infrastructure resilience, flexibility and scalability, which, in essence, helps to future-proof infrastructure technology investments.
  4. Smart infrastructure systems allow precise control of temperature, humidity, ventilation and lighting control which enables the hospital to better achieve its energy savings and sustainability targets.

The smart hospital building focuses on the patient journey

smart hospital buildings

We at Automatique & Industrie, a Schneider Electric Master-level EcoXpert partner with extensive experience in smart building management systems (BMS), heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), and supervision and regulation, are often asked by our healthcare clients how converting their hospital into a smart building can add value to their operations.

We explain that a smart building is above all a service platform that is designed, built, and operated to address current and future challenges using digital tools. Smart buildings add value to owners and occupants in the same way a smartphone adds value to the overall communications process of the owner. In the case of the smartphone, it can accommodate new applications and services and diversify beyond the core functionality of voice communications to include a camera and GPS, for example. It is also wide open to a development environment that devises new ways for addressing human communication needs and desires. A smart building is very much like a smartphone in that it embraces a similar philosophy of ongoing continuous improvement of apps and services only on a much larger scale.

In the case of the smart building, the building infrastructure is designed to accommodate new services such as augmented reality, predictive maintenance, and automated, high-efficiency room management, for example. In addition, because the smart building model is flexible and can more easily accommodate change, future services can be easily integrated.

When applied to a hospital or other healthcare institution, the smart building logic remains the same. However, the services are focused on providing better support to medical staff, patients and their accompanying loved ones, technical services people, hospital management, and regulators. Relevant subsystems that underpin the smart hospital concept include hospital technical information systems, electrical management systems, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC), and in-building transportation systems (like elevators).

Smart buildings: Predictive maintenance and remote monitoring drive higher service levels

There are several examples of how such service-enabling digital systems are being deployed across hospitals. Most focus on the task of gathering, centralizing, and analyzing operational data. One of these examples is the area of predictive maintenance. In this case, remote monitoring systems gather sensor data from power, cooling, and ventilation systems, across operating rooms, patient rooms, pharmacies, nursing stations, and other critical areas. That data is then forwarded to analysis systems that use AI algorithms to consolidate the data and identify trends. This allows for maintenance to be performed at convenient times and to apply fixes before failures result in unanticipated downtime.

This ability to monitor systems remotely for anomalies in behavior allows for quicker analysis of issues within core hospital systems. Hospital owners benefit from reduced systems downtime and a significant reduction in travel time for technicians who now can correct many of the issues remotely, no longer having to come on site for every issue that requires investigation. This represents a huge efficiency gain for hospitals and, In the long run, results in a better overall patient experience.

For more information

Automatique & Industrie supports healthcare establishments through the integration of smart building operation technologies (OT) systems (e.g., power, cooling, ventilation, building management systems) that allow for optimized facility operation and maintenance. As we address modern healthcare facility challenges, we incorporate advice on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, smart data architecture, and standardization.

Schneider Electric supports us in our efforts by supplying our clients with the healthcare IoT solutions needed to digitize and modernize their infrastructure operations. To learn more about how smart building systems can increase your healthcare facility’s performance, visit us at the Automatique & Industrie website or consult the Schneider Electric web pages.

Global100 Schneider Electric has been recognized as the world’s most sustainable corporation in 2021 by Corporate Knights Global 100 Index.

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