Digital. Hospital. Sensational.

Several years ago in Toronto. I tested my nerves 342 meters above ground. Standing unplugged on the glass floor in the CN Tower.

October 18, 2015. 351 patients arrive before 6 a.m. from three old sites in Toronto at the new hospital at 1235 Wilson Ave. «The patients are so excited, they’ve been up since 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., washed, dressed, and ready to go» – Carol Hatcher, Finch site.

They enter the Humber River Hospital. The first fully digital hospital of North America (affiliated with the University of Toronto and Queen’s University). Construction commenced in 2011, investment approximately $1.8 billion.

(Pic: Plenary Group)

> 656 beds, expandable up to 722 beds
> 3’300 staff, approximately 700 physicians and 400 volunteers
> serving area more than 850,000 people in the northwest
> 1.7 million ft2 facility with a 14-storey tower
> 2’000 parking spaces
> green roof to decrease energy consumption

image-1  image
(Pics: touchpads at every bed – access to medical chart, adjust the room, temperate, and make phone calls, play video games, watch television / delivery robots in the hallway)

The digital footprint – advanced automated services, full-scale digital transformation
«The digital experience at Humber River Hospital in northwest Toronto begins the moment patients arrive. The sleek, square building feels like a small airport, with each registration area designated with a letter. Before arriving, patients look online to find out their check-in zone.» (Modern Healthcare April 2016)

CEO Dr. Rueben Devlin: «In the first six months, we’ve had no trouble attracting patients.» And about the low-tech improvements like the pullout couches – guests can stay overnight: «We want a patient experience, not a digital experience.»
> Strategic plan (PDF)
> We’re listening initiative

Remarkable: local insurers willing to pay for innovation.
Fact: beyond electronic health records or telemedicine to create a seamless, paperless connected experience.
Special: Canada’s first home nocturnal dialysis program.

the-box-picker-expand  image
(Pics: box picker in the pharmacy / automated kiosks for patients enter their information, to robotic arms that administer medication)
> Patients and staff wear real-time locating devices (family members can track loved ones)
> radiology department has three robots that can position the patient as appropriate during an X-ray procedure
> chemotherapy area, robots mixing drugs as prescribed by doctors and preparing it as appropriate, following dosage checks for each individual patient
> medicines packaged by the robots will have a barcode, which will be scanned and checked by hospitals staff prior to patient administration
> advanced information management technology
> hospital hallways and even elevators with automated robots carrying around medical supplies for the health care team
> automated guided vehicles deliver lunch trays – machines deliver the pneumatic tubes that carry blood samples from patient floors to the laboratory (robots deliver supplies like linens and food to patients’ beds)
> about 75% of back-of-the-hospital functions automated —such as pharmacy, laundry and food delivery
> + patient homes, like satellite care units where nurses can monitor people around the clock
> + connection to an interpreter usually in 30 secondes, the hospital speaks more than 175 languages, 24/7 available
> + different devices available like iPads or Braille talking telephones
> upcoming: virtual doctors like the Virtual Care Center (University of Southern California), technology similar to Siri on an iPhone – can recognize key parts of a question and provide information + can be personalized for individual patients

(Modern Healthcare, Tech Times October 2015)

I am totally smashed. And embarassed – as an insider of some Swiss hospital processes about digital transformation where politicians and experts still talking.
And I am convinced about the need for humanized automation in the healthcare and hospital world.

My actual project with Thomas Schulz (@thomaSchulz) of about bots and chat bots, automated communication, the first online/live-stream conference includes bots for healthcare too. Here as well – meaningful automation is needed in healthcare. To reduce costs is a necessary target – but as the Humber River Hospital says – the paperless seamless patient experience is key.

What a healthcare digital transformation done, Humber River Hospital. WOW. GASP. CONGRATS.

Maurice Codourey



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s