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The Hospital of the Future and How Data, Digital and AI Merge to Make Care Better

By Pierantonio Russo, MD, FCPP, FAAP, STS, Chief Medical Officer, EVERSANA 

In the fast-paced realm of healthcare, innovation stands as the cornerstone of progress. Recently, I had the privilege to attend Frontier’s Health , a leading gathering of some of the best minds in the world to discuss how to shape the future of health care. I was honored to take center stage and share some insights on what the health care delivery system and what the ‘Hospital of the Future’ might look like.   

There are seismic shifts occurring in the healthcare landscape today. Currently, the convergence of cutting-edge technologies, availability of large amount of data from multiple sources, increasing computer power and advanced mathematical algorithms allows us to use machine learning (ML), a form of artificial intelligence (AI), to make predictions about clinical events and to support personalized medicine by matching the right patient with the right treatment and the right physician who respect individual preferences. At the same time, large language models (LLM) feed advanced digital tools through generative AI, making care delivery more precise and efficient.  

For several years, the Institute of Medicine has been encouraging the implementation of care pathways that align with the Quadruple Aim: optimal clinical outcomes, improve patients and physicians’ experiences, and lower cost. So far, the pursuit of the Quadruple Aim through traditional care delivery systems have been elusive, but there is increasing evidence that AI and digital medicine are now facilitating the implementation of care pathways that will get us where we want to go: personalized, efficient, lower cost health care.  

At Frontier’s Health, I pointed out that we already see trends that allow us to predict the evolution of health systems into “intelligent health service organizations”.  I expressed the view, based on my own experiences and those of health care futurists, that AI and digital medicine will transform hospitals and health organizations into a network of physical and virtual care delivery systems connected by a single digital platform. Care will be delivered in communities, at home or in facilities, and the location of service will be suggested by ML driven algorithms that will identify the optimal location of service and the right clinical providers for the right patient at the right time. Data from digital front doors and remote patients monitoring will connect with the single digital platform, that will also ingest medical cost and utilization data.   

The hospital of the future will leverage ML to predict and escalate care needs and enable decision support tools within EMRS to optimize diagnostic and treatment decisions. More advanced ML techniques, like neuronetworks, will make surgeries, interventional procedures, and diagnostic imaging more precise. Generative AI will allow the use of synthetic patients’ “twins” for medical education and to simulate response to treatment. Administrative tasks, patient flow and building management will benefit from the use of predictive analytics, generative AI and automation.  

It’s clear, the Hospital of the Future is already underway. Here are a few modern examples already in place in selected health systems in the U.S. and around the world. 

  • AI Powered Clinical Command Centers: Most hospitals today still utilize standard nursing stations to deliver and coordinate care. However, selected hospital systems have already introduced a NASA type of “Command Center.” Imagine a room of clinicians and other project manager types who have a full view of vital signs for patients in an entire wing of a hospital, and also of the patients flowing through the hospital from the emergency room admission through discharge. The command center can also send robots to deliver food, supply, medications and even support environmental services with pick up and trash disposal. Prediction of patients transfers, care progression, discharge and much more is all supported by ML algorithms. The Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) in the United Kingdom, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland and Humber River Hospital in Toronto, Canada, all already have programs in place, and are demonstrating results. Since implementing the command centers, Johns Hopkins reports patients from other hospitals are transferred 60% faster, Emergency Room (A&E) wait times have been cut by 25%, and time spent waiting in the operating theatre for a post-surgical bed decreased by 70%.  
  • Everything About Patients, At One Click: There are so many systems that clinicians and staff must monitor and connect when caring for patients. What if the future brought a single system, where everything you need to know to care for a patient is on a single dashboard? We can and are there in many ways today, but this technology will bring teams together to be more efficient and more effective, improving care. 
  • Digital Admission and Discharge: It’s surprising how archaic many facilities are today, and the amount of paper and resources needed to admit and send a patient home. Tomorrow’s hospital will be digital, no paper forms to fill. Patients will be discharged and sent instructions to their own digital apps or maybe to a virtual assistant. The opportunities are endless. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is one facility leveraging the power of digital. The team, along with researchers from MIT, have implemented a prediction-informed dashboard to support admission and transfer decisions by displaying each ward’s current numbers alongside a predicted number of patient discharges.  
  • Hospital without Walls: This last example of the future of care is already in play too, where patients receive both acute and chronic care at home. These programs rely on Telemedicine, Remote Patient Monitoring, lab tests and imaging studies performed in the home and in- home nursing care. Digital Tablets facilitate continuous patients’ engagement with their caregivers and education and self-care. The COVID-19 pandemic surged the necessity of these programs for patients to be seen in untraditional locations or outside the hospital setting. CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) has seen these technological and communication advancements, and the gap in healthcare inequities for those homebound, in rural areas, or otherwise without access to a traditional hospital environment has decreased. These flexibilities not only remove barriers to access healthcare but ensures patients receive more personalized and efficient care.  

Finally, to prepare for “care anywhere” supported by a single digital platform, hospital administrators should consider building a strong data infrastructure, embrace digital medicine, introduce AI assisted hospital operations and processes, AI assisted care tools, ML driven-decision support modeling and invest in cybersecurity infrastructures.  

Digital transformations and the Hospital of the Future is now. As an industry we must embrace it and invest into what it will take to bring these innovations to life faster. In the end, it will benefit us all – clinicians, communities, and most importantly, patients.   

Author Team

EVERSANA employs a team of over 6000 professionals across 20+ locations around the world. From industry-leading patient service and adherence support to global pricing and revenue management, our team informs the strategies that matter…