BLUF

COVID-19 has caused a significant rethink about how health care and hospitals will work in the future.

Summary

COVID-19 pushed hospitals to the limit worldwide, which has caused a complete rethink about hospitals' future role. Instead of utilising continuous improvement principles, evidence-based hospital design is causing an entire paradigm shift. Many current hospitals aren't equipped to provide medical protection for staff from patients or protect patients from other patients. New hospitals like Xiaotangshan hospital in Beijing, (constructed in 10 days) are likely to be modular and adaptable. The hospital without walls refers to a digitally connected community with a hospital being a digital focus of that community and one that utilises: 
  • Shared electronic health records (EHRs)
  • Telehealth, including surveillance and early intervention. 
  • A focus on health, not just disease. 
EHRs, like all IT, is vulnerable to cyber-attack, but the benefits seem worth it. Patients seem to want more, not less digital healthcare. Hospitals could become specialist hubs with outpatient services being made available in the community. Temporary hospitals could be quickly built as part of a disaster prevention plan. Do you think Australians would embrace more digital health care?