Upgrade Healthcare Facility Operations with Technology

    Across the globe, healthcare facilities are aging rapidly.[1] According to the American Society for Health Care Engineering’s Hospital Construction Survey,[2] healthcare organizations are deferring maintenance on critical systems such as HVAC, boilers, chillers and other equipment. That’s concerning because if those systems were to malfunction, it could potentially disrupt patient care.

    This poses a critical question: How do you modernize healthcare facilities without disrupting patient care?

    The reality is that healthcare organizations can upgrade their facilities – and patient care – simply and cost effectively by harnessing the power of technology. For instance, improving ventilation and filtration systems can help safeguard equipment resilience, enhance indoor air quality and may help reduce hospital-acquired infections. Through the use of highly controlled air flow between rooms and other areas, hospitals can adjust air pressurization to help keep critical areas like operating rooms free from  contaminants. Small but meaningful improvements like these can help bolster well-being in healthcare facilities.

    Shifting the focus to better support patients

    There are many ways to incorporate building automation to improve the patient experience and allow staff to spend more time focusing on care. Comfort controls are one place to start. They enable patients to control the temperature of their room and adjust lighting and privacy curtains from their beds without having to call for assistance. These capabilities can be integrated into the bedside table or nurse station. Some systems let patients make adjustments via their personal mobile device or the hospital’s tablet infrastructure.

    Healthcare command centers have also emerged as an effective way to improve hospital operations and help enhance care delivery. By integrating disparate systems onto a unified platform with a single view, healthcare facilities can gain greater situational awareness and reduce the risk of business interruption.

    For instance, a state-of-the-art command center can integrate building management across key systems such as HVAC, lighting, fire and life safety, access control, video networks and real-time location platforms. A command center makes it possible to conduct remote monitoring of building performance and clinical equipment. It can also make use of predictive analytics to help teams manage and track equipment, synchronize care progression and optimize resources. Additionally, tools like Honeywell Forge Performance+ for Buildings | Predictive Maintenance[1] can identify faults in equipment before they occur and streamline problem solving, which ultimately can help enhance the level of care. Integrations with solutions like CenTrak Safety provides infant protection and can easily integrate with video systems to quickly pinpoint an issue on a map.

    In addition to a wide range of operational efficiencies, command centers provide a centralized hub from which to better manage patient throughput, enable staff to accelerate patient onboarding, optimize bed placement and simplify the acceptance of transfer patients. Using a command center to monitor your entire healthcare facility in real time can significantly help improve operational efficiency, which can have a positive ripple effect on patient experience, staff workload and even the bottom line.

    Fortifying security in healthcare facilities

    Safety and security are paramount in a healthcare environment. This includes the physical safety of staff and patients and cybersecurity for the information and operational technology environments. The numbers tell the story. Healthcare workers are five times more likely[1] to suffer workplace violence than other workers. Even more, the industry has ranked highest in data breach costs for 12 years in a row.[2]

    Here, too, technology can help. Safety and security technology can help improve situational awareness, mitigate risks and enable a faster response to situations, from day-to-day incidents to unexpected crises. For example, a customized approach to access control can allow healthcare facilities to make sure that only the right people open the right doors. Innovations in access control – from wireless solutions to biometric readers to mobile credentialing – offer healthcare facilities a variety of ways to upgrade access control systems. For instance, they can even enable a legacy reader for mobile credentials without the need to replace existing hardware.

    As healthcare facilities become more connected, it’s important to address the exposure to cybersecurity threats that connectivity brings. This begins with insight. If healthcare facilities don’t know where vulnerabilities are, they can’t effectively alleviate the risks. Importantly, the operational technology (OT) environment of a hospital needs to be protected with the same rigor as the IT systems. If an OT attack occurs, the impact can go beyond the loss of sensitive patient data to problems such as operating room system downtime. Healthcare facilities can meet their OT security needs with Honeywell’s cybersecurity solutions, which can uncover weaknesses in a facility’s OT environment by providing specific insights into system vulnerabilities and configuration issues, with the objective of improving overall resilience.


    Final takeaway

    With the right technology, it’s possible to retrofit, upgrade and modernize healthcare facilities while minimizing disruptions to patient care and staff workflows – which is key to maintaining a healthier environment while driving new operational efficiencies. 

    [1] FierceHealthcare, Rural hospitals are caught in an aging-infrastructure conundrum, January 12, 2024 [Accessed March 7, 2024]
    [2] American Society for Health Care Engineering, 2022 Hospital Construction Survey, March 31, 2022 [Accessed March 6, 2024]
    [3] Honeywell, Honeywell Forge Performance for Buildings | Predictive Maintenance [Accessed March 6, 2024]
    [4] FierceHealthcare, Rural hospitals are caught in an aging-infrastructure conundrum, January 12, 2024 [Accessed March 7, 2024]
    [5] American Society for Health Care Engineering, 2022 Hospital Construction Survey, March 31, 2022 [Accessed March 6, 2024]
    [6] American Hospital Association, Protecting the Health Care Workers Who Care for Us, February 2, 2024 [Accessed March 7, 2024]
    [7] IBM, Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, July 24, 2023 [Accessed March 6, 2024]
    [8] Honeywell, Honeywell Forge Performance⁺ for Buildings | Predictive Maintenance [Accessed March 6, 2024]
    [9] American Hospital Association, Protecting the Health Care Workers Who Care for Us, February 2, 2024 [Accessed March 7, 2024]
    [10] IBM, Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, July 24, 2023 [Accessed March 6, 2024]