4 areas to deploy digital tech in hospitals

Digital transformation can be used to boost staff efficiency and well-being, creating a ripple effect to better patient outcomes, Hummy Song, PhD, a professor at the Philadelphia-based Wharton School, wrote in an article for the institution published Feb. 1.

There is a tendency to look at how artificial intelligence and digital tools can augment clinical outcomes instead of focusing on where it can increase efficiency and employee experience, argued Dr. Song, a professor of operations, information and decisions. She highlighted four areas where digital technology in hospitals could be implemented to aid healthcare professionals: 

1. Patient flow

Predictive tools that can leverage data to estimate wait times, discharges and number of admissions can help physicians make difficult decisions quickly and accurately.

2. Workforce

Using a system that can integrate absentee rates with patient flow can help hospitals grasp a clear understanding of how many staff members they may need on a given day. 

3. Scheduling 

Allowing an algorithm to factor in surgical team availability, room availability, length of surgery and other moving parts can optimize procedure scheduling. 

4. Supply chain

Automating and centralizing information on stock supplies and inventory is "low-hanging fruit" for boosting efficiency and freeing up staff time and resources, according to Dr. Song.

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