There is a digital revolution happening that’s transforming the way health care is delivered. It’s putting a measure of power and responsibility back into the hands of patients and making clinicians accessible in new ways.

This advancement is creating opportunities to relieve the cost burden associated with the implementation of new infrastructure within hospitals and other health care environments.

To help educate the health ecosystem on the adoption of new technologies, the Intelligent Health Association (IHA) and HealthAchieve deliver educational programs through the IHA’s award-winning Intelligent Health Pavilion™ where technologies are demonstrated in situ for hospital clinicians and executives.
Harry P. Pappas, a thought leader in this field and the Founder and CEO of the IHA, is very involved and closely monitoring these dramatic changes.

“Consumers are looking for new devices and apps for health and wellness,” says Pappas. “But the digital transformation is also taking place in hospitals, and in long-term care and assisted living facilities. In fact, the same kind of consumer technology that’s available to your teenage daughter is being adopted by hospitals and used to affect change that has a direct impact upon patients, their families, staff, and the bottom line.”

Access hospitals with your phone

According to Pappas, smartphones have technology built into them that’s being used by hospitals to do things that were previously either next to impossible, time consuming, or costly. For example, wayfinding apps enhance the patient and visitor experience by helping them navigate often confusing hospital layouts using a sort of indoor GPS that makes it easier to find everything from the pharmacy to a patient’s room or their doctor’s office. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags give hospitals an efficient way to track equipment. The tags, which are intelligent bar codes that can “talk” to a networked system, can be put on any piece of hospital equipment staff need to locate.

In fact, Pappas says that this technology can also be used to track and find staff — or even wandering dementia patients. A nurse need only use a smartphone and an app to find anything — or anyone — that has been tagged. The system simply relies on existing hospital WiFi, so no new infrastructure is needed.

Smartphone technology also has the ability to impact a patient’s recovery and the way health care is administered, according to Pappas. Doctors can be remotely notified about the status of a patient in hospital, and can send an encrypted, secure message to, for example, the hospital pharmacy to change the patient’s meds. These messages are visible and accountable, creating a chain of custody and a real-time record of events that protects the patient, physician, and health care facility.

Education is the next step

Apps and wearable fitness and health devices are already being used both in hospitals and in homes. While this technology can — and
does — help people live healthier and longer lives, Pappas has a caveat. “The key is education,” he asserts. Taking the time to properly educate physicians, facilities, and patients increases application adoption and expands the ability to provide a higher quality of care for patients.

At HealthAchieve we also believe that education is the key to safe and successful navigation through the ever-changing digital revolution. In fact, one of the reasons Pappas is such a strong supporter of HealthAchieve is because we are able to educate the health ecosystem and lead the digital health care charge one step at a time.