The traditional hospital room, with its disparate technology and smudged whiteboards showing outdated information, is often inefficient for staff and frustrating for patients.

The smart hospital rooms of the future have technology fully integrated, automated and streamlined — enhancing clinical workflows and efficiency by ensuring all information is current, accurate and appropriate for each team member. Digital whiteboards, for example, update automatically with all relevant patient information. Patients can use mobile solutions to adjust their room’s lighting, temperature and ambient noise. This strategic design improves the hospital experience by treating people as engaged guests — not passive patients.

These smart hospital rooms are already becoming a reality: Many hospitals are integrating streamlined tools and technology into their patient room design. Here are five ways the smart hospital room enhances the patient and provider experience.

1. Provide current, correct information

The ubiquitous whiteboard is supposed to be updated every shift to include the names of the on-duty care team members, as well as the patient’s current health goals, dietary restrictions, medications and estimated date of discharge. But because they need to be updated manually, these boards are nearly always out-of-date, inaccurate or simply illegible.

A digital whiteboard like the Samsung Interactive Display updates automatically based on integrated data streams, including the patient’s electronic health record (EHR) and staff scheduling software.

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Real-time location services (RTLS) integrated with digital displays can automatically tell patients the name and role of the staff member who is entering their room. Patients and loved ones can feel more at ease knowing who’s who on their care team.

2. Prioritize patient safety

Integrated RTLS also ensures that the right information gets to the right care team member at the right time. Screens above the bed behind the patient can display critical patient information that’s immediately accessible to their care team. As soon as a team member enters the patient’s room, they can focus on providing quality care and spending focused time with the patient, rather than fumbling with logins and searching for health records. This automation can be done while protecting patient privacy and maintaining HIPAA compliance.

Smaller digital signage outside the door to each patient room can keep staff and visitors informed of the patient’s allergies, preferred language and any safety precautions required to enter the room. Having this key information at a glance helps reduce errors and improve patient outcomes.

3. Enable easy telehealth visits

Integrated cameras in the patient room support telehealth visits and remote patient monitoring (RPM). Clinicians and specialists can check in as needed without always needing to come to the patient’s room, and outside specialists can provide consults without traveling to the facility. When contagion is a concern, clinicians can conduct virtual visits to reserve limited personal protective equipment (PPE).

These tools also make it easy for patients to video call their family and friends, and access language translation services as needed. If a patient requires remote monitoring, virtual guardrails on beds can notify nurses if a patient is at risk of falling out of bed.

4. Engage and entertain for a better experience

By providing patients with bedside mobile tablets and web-enabled TVs, hospitals can help patients stay engaged and entertained during their stay. On top of providing a better patient experience, these distractions can actually help reduce pain and anxiety. Plus, when patients are occupied, they’re less likely to call the nurses station, which means less alarm fatigue for staff.

Meanwhile, the same mobile technology can be used by the care team to share scans such as X-rays, and to provide patient education.

5. Increase patient autonomy, decrease staff burden

In a smart patient room, patients can use automatic room controls to make requests without sending an alert to the nurses’ station. Instead of pressing the call button to ask for a blanket or a cup of ice chips, patients can use the tablet to request those services, which will likely be handled by a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or a volunteer, reducing nurses’ workload.

Patients can order meals directly from their bedside tablet, so they can eat on their own schedule. They can adjust the room’s temperature and lighting, control the window shades and even activate a white noise machine or relaxation audio to help them rest. With fewer non-medical tasks to attend to, the hospital staff is freed up to provide exceptional medical treatment to all their patients.

A better experience for all

In the hospital, smart room technology can improve the patient experience of care. It’s not just the right thing to do; it means higher HCAHPS scores and lower long-term costs for hospital operations. Likewise, reducing the staff burden boosts morale. And by empowering everyone to work at the top of their license, hospitals see improved efficiency and better patient outcomes.

Find out more about how hospital leaders can improve patient outcomes and facility resilience in this free guide. And discover the full lineup of Samsung’s healthcare TVs, manufactured with specific hospital TV features to improve the patient experience.

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Roxanna Guilford-Blake

Roxanna Guilford-Blake writes about health, healthcare and the business of healthcare. She began as a journalist, but for more than 25 years, she’s helped clients tell their stories and enlighten their audiences. She runs her own editorial business (Guilford-Blake Corp.) and previously served as director of strategic communications at a boutique healthcare communications firm. She’s especially interested in the intersection of digital tech and patient-centered care.

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