All over the world, healthcare organizations have been put under unprecedented strain dealing with the effects of the COVID-19. But while the threat of the virus will eventually recede, the challenges facing these organizations in the longer term will remain.
Growing populations, ageing populations and evolving healthcare needs all mean that the expected scope of care is becoming broader all the time. And despite this, financial pressures mean that the funding to help deliver these additional functions isn’t always available, putting pressure on organizations to do more with less, in order to maintain positive outcomes for all.
It’s become increasingly clear in recent years that technology shows the way forward in finding these critical efficiencies – and tech that supports flexible workplaces and working models is no exception. Here we explore the three areas healthcare bodies can benefit from workspace technology:
1. Get more from people
Employees who work in healthcare are passionate about the work that they do, and are highly motivated to deliver the best performance they possibly can. However, they’re still human beings who are easily held back by the extra burden of inefficiency, and in any case, there are only so many hours in a day that an employee at work.
At the same time, the ways and places in which many healthcare professionals can conduct their day-to-day duties is increasing all the time. Embracing these new models is vital for organizations to support employees in working at maximum productivity and efficiency.
Technology can support this when systems are inter-connected and brought together for seamless operations. This can include employee and workspace scheduling, which allows each employee to move from office work, to home work, to remote work on the front line of care without any disruption or inconvenience.
2. Get more from assets
Care settings like hospitals have to provide a vast array of services for a large number of people. But, while demand can be predicted to a certain extent, they have to be prepared to accommodate as many patients as possible, at any given time. Anything organizations can do to plan ahead with confidence is therefore extremely valuable in maximizing the efficiency of facilities and resources, and better handling periods of difficulty.
The key to making this work is the integration of every treatment room consulting room, patient bed and operating theatre into a workspace booking system. At any time, every employee can get a clear view of where there is availability and the current occupancy rates of wards or waiting rooms, so that clinicians can respond accordingly and connect the right patients to the right environments for their care.
3. Get more from technology
The real power to transform healthcare in the months and years ahead lies in data, and many healthcare bodies have already recognized this. Between 2018 and 2023, Medgadget expects the global market for healthcare big data to grow by 476%.
Workspace planning is an area with rich potential for exploiting big data…
… after all, every appointment, patient, treatment and outcome is a touchpoint of data that can be explored and compared.
A good workspace booking solution will encompass analytics tools that can uncover important insights around how individual spaces and wider areas are used. This can include overall occupancy rates, peaks and troughs in demand at different times, and which employees use which types of space more. These insights can then be used to make informed decision on reshaping environments to better suit care needs and goals, which in turn delivers far greater value for money compared to simply building extra capacity.
Whatever the future holds for healthcare, governments and patients alike will still expect high standards of care and low waiting times delivered to tight budgets. Technology that enhances the flexibility and agility of workspaces, and those of healthcare bodies, can play a major part for organizations in successfully striking that balance.