“CIOs expect that 37% of enterprise revenue will come from digital business by 2020 — more than double that of 2015 (16%)… While healthcare projections might be less, the trajectory is clear; CIOs will need to help their organizations change the basis of competition, create new markets and cross industry boundaries by creating an industry vision for digital business. 1”
In the Texas Medical Center, it is fairly common to walk into a hospital and find a coffee shop, or two, or three even… A food court is generally flooded with patrons. Not all of them are well enough to stand in long lines waiting to order, then pay for their food – let’s be honest. Using the quote above as kind of a “guiding principle” for not just CIO’s, but technology leaders in general to follow, this scenario perhaps provides an opportunity for IT divisions to contribute to the hospital’s bottom line as well as the patient experience.
I love this term [RTHS] because it encompasses expertise and things that IT service departments can do to make significant contributions to healthcare operations.
You may be aware of the term “Internet of Things” or IoT for short. There are several versions contributing to the definition of the Internet of things, but this one from techtarget.com is probably my favorite, “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”
Over the coming weeks, we’re going to dive into a concept that is quickly gaining momentum in the healthcare industry, and that is “Real-Time Health [or Healthcare] Systems”, or RTHS. I love this term because it encompasses expertise and things that IT service departments can do to make significant contributions to healthcare operations. RTHS is Internet of things, real-time location services, location and condition-sensing technologies, electronic health records, retail systems, supply-chain, and real-time monitoring of it all rolled into one concept. Next week, we’ll cover RTHS and its definition in more detail.
So how can we apply the Internet of things concept to dining services and thus provide ways for our colleagues there to improve their business? Thanks for asking…
Some of you may have already experienced the IoT technology and not even known about it. For those in the Houston area, have you been to Baybrook Mall in the Clear Lake/NASA Space Center area lately? If you’ve walked past the Starbucks across from JC Penny’s and down from the Apple Store while on your phone browsing or texting someone, then you may have noticed an advertisement from them offering a way to order to your coffee and skip the line. This is very convenient and “high tech.”
This also represents an opportunity in healthcare. If anyone needs convenient in-and-out services, it is patients and their families while visiting the hospital – especially when their length of stay (LoS) includes several outpatient appointments, or perhaps an overnight stay. Being able to order and pay for coffee or a bagel from the nearest coffee shop close by can save the patient time and energy, and may also generate new business for the coffee shop that would not have been there before. We all know that good advertising works. And when folks are alerted with convenient and appetizing options, its kind of hard to resist sometimes!
For technology leaders, the path forward is pretty clear. It starts with getting involved with customers and understanding their businesses.
From this idea, there are others that can come to light. Online food orders from the café for patients and employees. I’ve seen businesses offer innovative ways to order food through kiosks, for example, away from the “pickup” area. After the customer orders their food and when it is ready, their order number is called and the customer just walks up, grabs their order, and then they pays on their way out. We could bring that kind of convenience to healthcare dining areas, which I believe would enhance the patient’s and family member’s dining experience and their overall satisfaction with their visit to the hospital – leaving them with a “good taste in their mouth”, haha… Yeah, sorry about that… Couldn’t resist.
The only thing I would improve in this scenario is I would offer a way to pay for the food at the time of order placement. This way, when the food is ready, the customer just picks it up and walks away…
For technology leaders, the path forward is pretty clear. It starts with getting involved with customers and understanding their businesses. IT divisions will be essential in developing strategies for new ways of doing business, and offering innovative ideas for new revenue streams in healthcare and for helping hospital operations teams take advantage of the growing revenue-generating opportunities that the Internet of Things concept will provide in years to come.
I’d love to hear more ideas from you on how to apply the IoT concept in healthcare. Please share!