NHS Lanarkshire has revealed that University Hospital Monklands, currently located in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, will become Scotland’s first digital hospital.
The plans are part of the wider Monklands Replacement Project (MRP), which will see the hospital relocated to one of three potential new sites. According to NHS Lanarkshire, Monklands is “an ageing hospital and most of the mechanical and electrical infrastructure has exceeded its life expectancy”.
Working with such outdated equipment and infrastructure can have an impact on patient wellbeing, and also has significant financial implications. According to the Trust, a new technology-led hospital is key to delivering Monklands’ “new clinical model”.
Clinicians are “mobile and connected”
Monklands chief of nursing services Karen Goudie says the hospital will operate from a “command centre at the heart of the development”. This platform will provide staff with real-time information about patients’ conditions, notifying nurses and doctors to anyone deteriorating.
Similarly, the command centre will give up to date information on hospital capacity issues, which Goudie says will “maximise patient safety and patient flow”.
It is hoped that this information, as well as a redesigned hospital space that prioritises interconnected departments on the ground floor, will reduce Monklands reliance on inpatient beds.
And with the adoption of a digital approach, the hospital will also be less reliant on paper records. MRP redesign lead Donna McHenry, says this will allow clinicians to be “mobile and connected wherever they are onsite”.
“Effective patient journey”
The plans also include a number of patient-facing technologies. A video released by NHS Lanarkshire suggests a smartphone app will be launched in connection with the hospital, which will provide patients with appointment reminders, practitioner information and hospital news.
Once in the building, patients and visitors will also be able to access digital maps and personalised health test results, also through their smartphone.
“Technology will be used to allow patients to access care advice and navigate through the hospital,” says McHenry. The overall effect, she says is “an efficient and effective patient journey.”
So far, no design consultancies have been revealed as part of these digital projects. However, Glasgow-based urban design and architecture firm Keppie has been involved in the physical development so far. Keppie designed Monklands’ satellite radiotherapy treatment centre, the Lanarkshire Beatson, in 2015.
NHS digital uptake across the UK
The move towards digital is an ongoing project at NHS Trusts across the UK. Earlier this month, the government announced a £40 million investment to cut NHS staff login times, supposedly one of the workforce’s “main technology frustrations”.
And last year, the Design Council helped spearhead a scheme that brought digital NHS health checks to residents in the London Borough of Southwark.