Today's healthcare executives encounter new challenges to providing quality healthcare within their budgets. One reason is that the world's population is growing, and expected to double by 2050. This growing population is increasingly moving back into cities. And governments around the globe are mandating energy savings. This impacts healthcare facilities disproportionately because healthcare buildings use three to four times the energy of a typical building with the high consumption of clinical and business equipment running around the clock.
At the same time, the cost of care is rising, a result of advances in the tools, treatments, and techniques used to prevent and cure disease. And yet the financial resources available for health services are limited, even in the richest nations. Hospital administrators must therefore grapple with the need to maintain or increase care levels without increasing budgets. This requires new ways of working, using labor-saving technology and more efficient workflows, and better ways to get the most out of facilities investments.
The IP Network As The Building Information Utility
Network connectivity has traditionally been an afterthought in building construction, left to the healthcare organization that moves into the building. Every application and system is bought, installed, and managed separately. But today, growing numbers of builders and healthcare organizations see the IP network as an integral part of the building design.
Workplace Solutions: Integrating Space, Technology, And Services
Shortages of nurses and clinicians have increased the urgency of productivity improvements. Healthcare organizations need to provide their staff with the tools and technology to deliver service to more patients—without taking shortcuts that might compromise patient safety.
More Efficient Caregiver Processes And Workflow
The Health Care Interpreter Network (HCIN) of Northern California is a system of shared remote interpreter services operated by Northern California public hospitals. This integrated solution of voice, video, and data communication offers hospital staff instant access to trained interpreters. The network currently routes approximately 3500 videoconference and phone calls per month, with an average response time of 22 seconds.
Administrative Process Efficiencies
Using a converged network for all hospital functions can also create back-office process efficiencies. Employees can sign on and off their shifts by logging in to any Cisco Unified IP phone. Healthcare organizations save time by tracking assets with the wireless IP network instead of manually recording inventory. Networked administrative discharge systems help make better use of patient rooms and examination areas.
The convergence of IT networks and building systems allows healthcare providers to implement more sophisticated and comprehensive physical security through video surveillance, access control, and asset management.
Economy Of Scale Through A Remote Integrated Operations Center
Organizations can now can manage and monitor all the devices and applications over the Internet and IP network. With the ability to remotely access communication, security, and building automation in any building, multiple buildings can connect over the same framework for greater savings by centralizing the building management and operations of the entire healthcare system. Or use the same concept to outsource building management to a third party that specializes in hosted managed services.