What comes into mind when you think of a hospital? Squeaky white buildings with rows and rows of windows, hallways and nurses’ stations with patient files, computers, and stacked with medicines and other medical equipment. You think of the healthcare workers, be it doctors or nurses, therapists or counselors, everyone has a schedule which keeps the hospital awake, 24 hours of the day, every day of the year. A lot of happiness and sadness, laughter and tears echo along the walls – it’s abuzz with activity. A sanctum if you can call it that. Can you imagine how hospitals would look like in the future?
Hospitals are now the focus of attention and depict the strength of the healthcare system of a country. Well-designed and managed hospitals are the need of the hour since they cater to the health of the local population. A lot can be done to maintain the uninterrupted functioning of a hospital. A few things that could be kept in mind are adequate staffing patterns, appropriate medical equipment, and upgrading the infrastructure with changing demands.
With the advent of corona, a few lessons can be deduced. A hospital has to be equipped with tools to tackle a pandemic. Many healthcare facilities learned it in a difficult way and were quite overwhelmed with the unexpected arrival of the pandemic.
Hospital administration and management are now becoming more vigilant and devising plans to face challenges, so you can expect a few changes to hospitals in the coming years.
A few advances that can be expected
- Involvement of Artificial Intelligence – recent years have witnessed a boom in technology. A few bright minds have anchored the potential of technology in healthcare systems. You can expect an increasing dependence on Artificial Intelligence by hospitals. A few examples are using it as investigative methods that will help in accurate and early diagnosis, in high precision surgeries, and also incorporation into gadgets and applications that can be easily accessed by people.
- A stronger alliance between heath and wellness of employees of a company and hospitals – several companies have already given more importance to the health of their employees. Many health and wellness programs, tailored to the person’s needs and demands can be designed and used. Companies may arrange for regular checkups at local hospitals to keep their employees’ health in check. This encourages the employees to have control over their health as well and reduces any fears of visiting hospitals for checkups.
- A shift towards electronic records – storing data of patients is an important part of hospital administration. The traditional way of writing down everything is time-consuming as well as having higher chances of getting misplaced. Many hospitals have slowly started switching over to electronic health records which are easier to manage and will have the entire health history in a place without taking up storage space. It’s also easier for patients because they don’t have to remember to carry around bulky health files. Future hospitals would be considerably dependent on electronic records. A safe and secure system needs to be in place so that there’s no breach of patient information and confidentiality is maintained.
- Better designs and infrastructure – a uniform, practical design for all centers of healthcare can help to establish their identity. A formal yet sophisticated infrastructure may be adopted to ease the fear of visiting hospitals. Emphasis could be made to educate healthcare workers to be at the top of current health advances and be updated with the latest management protocols.
What can help to achieve these changes?
- Involving people from the community while designing hospitals – the best way to improve a hospital’s infrastructure is to take opinions from people who are going to use it. It could be well-lit rooms, private areas for relatives, or simply soft-painted walls. Taking these subtle suggestions into consideration can help to make smooth transitions. It would be beneficial to also have a technical person involved in hospital decision-making to cover all the technical aspects, especially those involving Artificial Intelligence.
- Educating people about vital aspects of a disease or condition – medical jargon is very difficult to understand, so efforts should be made to translate conditions into common language for better awareness. Sessions or seminars can be arranged by a special department to take care of conveying information.
Hospitals form an important part of the community. It’s changing every day with vital inputs and promises a different experience for the community.