What is a Smart Hospital? Evolving Trends & Technology

June 13, 2023

Discover how today’s hospitals are transforming into patient-focused facilities of the future. 

The future of hospitals is patient-centric, data-driven, and most of all, smart. Smart hospitals will shape the next decade of healthcare, providing quality care amid staffing shortages and the emergence of new technologies. 

While the concept of a “smart hospital” has yet to be officially defined, Cox Prosight developed a framework and commissioned a study with hospital thought leaders to help determine what a smart hospital is. After reviewing research, trends, and survey results, Cox Prosight currently defines smart hospitals as the following:

A smart hospital leverages technology, digitization, and data to deliver superior outcomes, a differentiated patient and staff experience, and class-leading operational efficiency. 

So, what makes a hospital “smart”? A smart hospital should be assessed against the following key elements: 

  • Integrated - A smart hospital is increasingly a collection of core platforms that talk to each other in real-time. 
  • Data-driven - The facility heavily uses data analytics, involving an increasing number of data sources to support real-time decision-making.
  • Innovative - They are early adopters and test sites for innovations, such as computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI), and can easily scale these technologies to larger clinical teams.
  • Connected - The hospital has a reliable broadband network, wireless capabilities, and a foundation to connect systems, devices, and people. 
  • Automated - The hospital drives efficiency by automating manual processes, administrative tasks, and job workflows while reducing waste and errors.
  • Experience Centric - They optimize processes and services for the patient and their family.
  • Virtualized - Smart hospitals extend care delivery to the home through multi-channel virtual care models.
  • Safe & Secure - They provide physical security for patients, staff, and visitors, and digital security for patient data. 

Cox Prosight’s study respondents agreed that integrated, innovative, and data-driven are some of the most important characteristics of a smart hospital, while safety and security fell among the least important characteristics. 

The need for smart hospitals is growing as mega-trends influence the healthcare industry. From clinical staff shortages, which we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, to the rise of telehealth and virtual care, there are numerous social and technological factors impacting the future of care. 

key benefits of smart hospitals

The Key Benefits of a Smart Hospital

While today’s trends are pushing hospitals to embrace new technology, becoming smarter will be a critical strategy for hospitals to create workflow efficiencies and provide quality care amidst challenges. These are a few of the top expected benefits of smart hospitals: 

  • Easier care - Manual processes will be greatly reduced by automating tasks, so that staff can dedicate more time to delivering patient care. 
  • Greater patient satisfaction - Patient care and outcomes will be improved, reducing readmissions and improving health equity. In addition, hospitals will be able to provide better ambulatory experiences. 
  • Data automation - Hospitals will have access to real-time data, which can help develop predictive models. Patients can easily access their health data. 

These Technologies Are What Make a Smart Hospital “Smart”

Technology is at the forefront of smart hospital formation. But before hospitals can invest in advanced smart hospital technologies, such as AI and robotics, they must spend on operational technologies that integrate the entire hospital ecosystem, merging digital and physical assets under one framework. 

Here are some of the essential operational technologies to create a smart, connective hospital. 

Responsive Internet

High-speed internet, such as a 5G network, provides reliable connectivity to power a hospital’s digital infrastructure. From connected devices and wearables to accessible telehealth and patient portals, hospitals have an ever-growing demand on their networks. To keep up, especially as connected monitoring and tech-powered treatments evolve, smart hospitals will need large, fast wireless networks. 

Real-Time Location Services (RTLS) Tracking

RTLS tracking solutions enable numerous technological features, including asset tracking, wayfinding navigation, and environmental monitoring. These services are critical to enhancing patient and visitor experiences while improving staff safety and hospital ROI. 

  • Asset Tracking - Asset tracking allows staff to track and monitor medical equipment in real time. See the location, status, and utilization of each piece of equipment. Asset tracking saves staff time from searching for equipment while helping saving hospitals money from lost equipment.
  • Wayfinding Navigation - Wayfinding navigation technology helps patients and visitors navigate the hospital with a real-time, indoor GPS. Wayfinding tech can also allow users to leave a pin where they parked their car. 
  • Environmental Monitoring - Hospital environmental monitoring uses RTLS technology to automate temperature checks for sensitive items and spaces. This technology can also generate streamlined compliance reporting. 

These functions are all powered through an RTLS platform, such as Cox Prosight. RTLS technology helps hospitals modernize and streamline their operations. 

Digital Front Door Solutions

From finding and arranging care to checking into an appointment online, a hospital’s digital front door encompasses a patient’s entire virtual experience with a provider. A modern digital front door facilitates pre-visit engagement, engagement during a visit, and post-visit engagement with patients. Smart hospitals must have cutting-edge digital front door capabilities to provide personalized patient care. 

smart hospital implementation with cox prosight rtls

Partner with a Leader in Smart Hospital Implementation

Cox Prosight is transforming hospitals into smart facilities with our award-winning RTLS platform. Our IoT-enabled solution helps hospitals improve operational efficiency, staff safety, clinical workflows, and patient engagement. Unlike RTLS technology of the past, our RTLS platform is a top choice for smart hospitals because it is affordable, easy to implement and maintain, and helps generate a quicker ROI. 

Contact our team today to learn more about Cox Prosight and how our solution can transform your operation to thrive in the future healthcare landscape.

George Valentine
AVP & General Manager

George is an entrepreneurial executive and serial entrepreneur successful in launching, growing, and managing technology-based companies. George joined Cox Communication’s Innovation group in 2014 and is responsible for developing, incubating, and executing the company’s Connected Health strategy, including solution and partnership development, investments, acquisitions, and market trials. Prior to Cox, George founded two successful technology companies, performed a venture-backed company turnaround, and led large enterprise projects as a KPMG management consultant. George holds an MBA and B.S. in Finance from the University of South Carolina. George, his wife, and two children live in Atlanta, GA.