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Staying on top of the latest trends in the healthcare industry

By Fawn Staerkel / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
May 24, 2017

The healthcare industry is in a constant state of flux, with patient experience as one of many emerging drivers. Other drivers impacting the patient experience, and the industry as a whole, include smart technology, sustainability, safety, and comfort.

In the healthcare industry, a world where everything is smart, safe, comfortable and sustainable means that a building’s performance infrastructure enables patients to heal and clinicians to provide compassionate care. More specifically, for patients this might mean a building where patient room lighting and temperature automatically adjust to the patient’s condition and needs, promoting comfort and healing. In this same building, staff benefit from integrated systems that improve clinical staff efficiency and critical building systems that automatically produce the documentation required for compliance with regulations.

A smart healthcare facility enables the comfort, safety and convenience of patients and staff. For example, emerging systems connect online appointment scheduling with directions at a hospital campus. Facility staff automatically know when to clean and turn a patient room, as well as the best time to perform routine inspections and maintenance. In addition, a smart healthcare facility knows what spaces are occupied and can support energy efficiency by adjusting room conditions based on occupancy status.

Industry-leading life safety technologies, like addressable notification systems are lowering costs, reducing interruptions, and making joint commission compliance easier. Also, additional security-advancing technologies will make integrating hospital networks easier while providing more robust protection.

Although comfort is viewed as table stakes in the building industry, it is critical in healthcare. That’s because healthcare is predominantly concerned with patient care. Comfort is directly associated with the patient’s ability to get better. It also impacts infection control and the ability of clinicians to deliver care. If you follow healthcare news and trends, you know that the patient experience is priority one right now. It influences how healthcare institutions do long-term master planning. It influences how they manage construction projects and upgrade their infrastructure.

In addition to comfort and security, sustainability and “green” are evolving in healthcare to an even more enlightened perspective that the building itself should be designed to not only be energy efficient, but also impact the patient experience and the patient’s ability to heal. For example, proper lighting in the patient’s room stimulates endorphins, provides a more relaxed, comfortable experience and has a proven impact on infection control. With building-wide systems integration, leading companies are bringing disparate systems together so they communicate in a single, converged infrastructure.

Fawn Staerkel is the director for Healthcare in North America for Johnson Controls.

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