On Oct 18 of 2015, the first all digital hospital in North America opens in Toronto. The new facility is at the center of a 30 acre expanse, that now combines three separate medical facilities, and according to president and CEO, Dr Reuben Devlin, it employs some of the latest cutting edge technology for more effective treatments.
The Humber River Regional Hospital has a long and storied history in health care, with several milestones of which the community can be proud. It is not always easy to have some technological advancements applied in the field of health care, simply because there are so many regulatory and legal issues that are applied, since human life is involved. Hopefully ,the opening of the new Humber River Regional, will introduce a new paradigm, with technological applications that introduce more efficiency into the health care field.
The new facility has been described green, lean and all digital. The Green is derived from the building’s efficient design, which is intended to be 40% more efficient than standard guidelines as set by the Model National Energy Code for Buildings. One of the goals is achieving the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)® Silver rating with an approximate saving of at least one dollar for every square foot. The opacity of the windows can be adjusted by the patients or in a dynamic self-adjusted system that is tied to the building automation system for energy conservation.
The hospital is affiliated with both the University of Toronto and Queens has been a pioneer in the field of health care, having been the first in the province to establish a center for laparoscopic bariatric surgery, to establish home nocturnal dialysis program, major cancer treatment programs, and it was the first in Canada to install the daVinci robot for less invasive surgical procedures.
The new building was designed for compliance by renowned design firm HOK, which really is acronym for the co-founders George Hellmuth, Gyo Obata and George Kassabaum. The firm has completed design compliance of iconic and functional offices around the globe, such as the world headquarters of Barclay’s Bank in London, and the expansion of Microsoft campus in Redmond Washington, Google’s office in Toronto, and the new headquarters of the BBC in London.
Construction of the building that occupies almost 2 million square feet, and houses 650 beds, began in late 2011, with financing being derived from both private and public sources. The corporation behind the development is classified as a hybrid public-private organization, and celebrities including Natalie Cole and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons helped the hospital to raise funds.
The lean comes from the operation, which for many parts of the process, is now automated. Hospital visits are normally not an experienced that can be appreciated, but according to Dr, Devlin, the aim is to make patients feel more comfortable during their stays, which may often be stressful.
The digitization begins on entry to the hospital, where information is entered on automated kiosks that are connected to the rest of the facilities network. Each bed is integrated with a swivel-enabled terminal with touch sensitivity, where patients can view schedules and appointments, access medical records and information, and even access the internet, video chat, or watch movies. It will also allow control of the room’s temperature and lighting. Machines are programmed to prepare, store and manage medications, which can eliminate the potential for human error. It will not be uncommon to see robots on some floor of the facility, where they are programmed to follow specific paths for the delivery of linen, meds, food and other supplies. The operation is tightly interconnected as all staff and physicians carry tablets and or PDAs for immediate access to needed information.
With the integration of digital processing ,and the application of technology in construction and design, the bar in health care has been raised, and following the opening of the Humber River hospital on October 18, more advancements in the health care field can be expected.