Fifteen years of planning and millions of dollars later, Humber River Hospital in Toronto, Canada recently opened its doors as the first North American digital hospital, where robots are being used for a wide range of duties, and digital devices are facilitating communication between patients and healthcare professionals. The robots are automated to mix and administer chemotherapy drugs, and deliver meals and medical supplies to patients throughout the 1.8-million square feet of facility space, which includes calling an elevator and picking up and dropping off carts. Every room is equipped with an innovative bedside touchpad system that allows patients to access Skype, video-chat with healthcare professionals, read books, order meals, and obtain their electronic health records. The bedside telephone also operates as a barcode scanner, enabling quick and effective updates of digital patient records, as well as safe drug handling and administration. In keeping with the new patient-centered approach, most of the rooms are private and are equipped with convertible beds for family members.
Overall, this state-of-the-art technology improves efficiency and safety, and hospital employees verify prescriptions and maintain equipment. Surprisingly, the hospital’s increased dependence on robotic technology has not resulted in job losses. Rather, 700 additional employees have been hired to staff the hospital, given that the majority of rooms are now private and the human touch is still required to deliver effective and safe care. Given the innovative and ground-breaking nature of this new hospital, it may very well serve as a model for other facilities in the future.
Via: Toronto Star