ConnectedCare: hospital roadmap to becoming a Smart Hospital
ConnectedCare: hospital roadmap to becoming a Smart Hospital
Interview with Philipp Schmelter, CEO, BEWATEC Kommunikationstechnik GmbH
Scheduling, bed management, and menu ordering – today’s hospitals take advantage of a variety of digital services. In the worst-case scenario, each service requires a different interface to the central information system, marking a major barrier that holds back digitization. With ConnectedCare, BEWATEC shows there is a better way.
In this MEDICA-tradefair.com interview, Philipp Schmelter talks about what makes the ConnectedCare platform so unique, explains how it helps hospitals to achieve more autonomy, and describes his understanding of the Smart Hospital concept.
Mr. Schmelter, what is BEWATEC.ConnectedCare?
Philipp Schmelter: BEWATEC.ConnectedCare is an open patient-centered platform we created to offer patients a way to digitally connect with the healthcare provider – the hospital or physician – throughout the entire patient journey. Our goal is to facilitate the digital information exchange between care providers, health insurance companies, and patients before, during and after the hospital stay. Besides better information, the patient also receives more care guidance and greater comfort throughout the entire process - from digital admission to discharge management. For hospitals, the active involvement of patients corresponds to simplified, more efficient processes and a better use of resources - a win-win situation for all parties. It also enables easy integration of existing systems and hospital information and the flexibility to add third-party applications and services. Our interface technology makes it possible to customize functionalities and the look of the platform to meet the needs of the hospital. This can be created differently in the backend based on each hospital or predefined patient profiles. The openness of the system and simultaneous system and device independence makes BEWATEC.ConnectedCare so unique. This facilitates the integration of the hospital information system (HIS) and other digital applications such as check-in, video consultation, the menu ordering system, authorization forms, scheduling, and a great deal more.
How does the platform help optimize hospital processes and workflows?
Schmelter: As always, timely and effective communication and the exchange of relevant data is the key to success. When patients are actively involved in the care process right from the start, they can efficiently prepare for their hospital stay from the comfort of their own home. The hospital is subsequently able to effectively coordinate and focus on internal work processes because patient information has been provided ahead of time. Here is an example of this: A patient is scheduled to have a hip replacement and receives a digital invitation or a letter with a QR code. If the patient scans the code, he/she is immediately linked to the hospital app. The patient now has access to all pertinent details including the time he/she is expected to arrive at the hospital on the day of surgery, the destination, required documents, and any additional information. The patient can enter his/her data in the app and fill out the authorization forms online. The patient also has access to videos on how to prepare for the surgery and facilitate a fast recovery after surgery. The “better in - better out” principle also applies in this case. The hospital now knows that the patient is well prepared and doesn’t lack any relevant documents – for example, a medication chart because the patient suffers from high blood pressure. This means the processes pertaining to patient admission, his/her exam, surgery, or inpatient stay are organized in a more efficient and timelier manner. BEWATEC.ConnectedCare is also an excellent tool to streamline various everyday hospital processes and save resources. Menu ordering is a perfect example in this case since the electronic entry of patient food orders eliminates or significantly reduces the number of staff needed to order meals.
Platforms such as BEWATEC.ConnectedCare help to provide quick, easy, and accurate information to patients and their family members.
The platform hinges on the exchange of sensitive health information between the hospital and the patient. How does this work in terms of data privacy?
Schmelter: BEWATEC.ConnectedCare is a data flow model. We don’t save data and only create a data transfer between the patient's end device, the hospital, third-party applications, and the hospital’s central information systems (HIS, RIS, PACS, etc.) if needed and desired by the hospitals. Patient data is only stored in the HIS in compliance with the GDPR. We developed a highly secure, high performance platform based on the latest industry standards. It features end-to-end encryption and token-based authentication. This means users must obtain a token to be granted network entry – this applies to both the patient and the hospital. A gatekeeper function also ensures that not all services have access to all data.
The public has embraced digital services amid the coronavirus pandemic. What role do platforms like yours play in this setting?
Schmelter: Platforms such as BEWATEC.ConnectedCare help hospitals to provide quick, easy, and accurate information to patients and their family members. At the outbreak of the pandemic, we made this service available at no cost to those hospitals where we had already introduced our platform. We received very affirmative, positive feedback as a result. That’s why we are proud to say that between April and September, German hospitals with over 60,000 beds chose to use BEWATEC.ConnectedCare.
Products and Exhibitors related to eHealth
How can technology improve patient care? You can find exhibitors and products related to this topic in the catalogue of MEDICA 2019:
Schmelter: The Smart Hospital is a hospital that has successfully digitized its procedures and processes to put the focus back on the human being. It is a place that no longer centers on paperwork and bureaucracy since the information is already available. Instead, it’s a place that allows people to get healthy again – guided by the motto: wait less, know more.
A Smart Hospital digitizes and establishes administrative and repetitive processes and workflows, especially in light of nurse and physician shortages. Individual departments can use different applications and services to best support everyday medical tasks. One key prerequisite for this is to use open systems that support standard interfaces and give hospitals the chance to manage their own development. Proprietary systems like today's HIS solutions are simply inconceivable in a Smart Hospital environment.
To achieve sustainable success in this setting, industry and hospitals must closely collaborate. The industry must minimize or eliminate the technology risk for hospitals when they implement new solutions. Meanwhile, hospitals must have the courage to make their own systems accessible via standardized interfaces to help combine structured data for AI. Hospitals should take advantage of the Hospital Future Act (“Krankenhauszukunftsgesetz”) and its many opportunities to refer their future partners to these aspects and ensure consistent enforcement.
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