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From improved patient-staff ratios and adjustment of shift lengths to enhanced communication initiatives and medical checklists, health experts across the U.S. have offered many solutions to help combat medical errors in hospital settings. While these solutions certainly seem viable and have enjoyed varying levels of success, they have yet to drastically reduce the occurrence of hospital negligence.

Interestingly, the nonprofit group NXT Health along with Clemson University’s Healthcare and Architecture Graduate Program have created something that they believe could significantly reduce everything from medication errors and patient falls to hospital-acquired infections and other forms of avoidable patient harm.

The creation in question is actually a prototype of the hospital room of the future called Patient Room 2020. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, the room has a multitude of features designed to not only improve patient care, but also make it safer.

How exactly is this accomplished?

“Patient Room 2020 is the unifying element that brings together architecture, technology, care processes and human factors into a holistic, systematic solution for the inpatient care experience,” reads a statement from NXT. “The project conceptualizes what could be possible in the next 10 years by harnessing developing technologies that are on the horizon and integrating them with the surrounding architectural environment.”

Some of the more fascinating features of Patient Room 2020 include the following:

  • A digital interface installed on the footwall of the hospital bed that can be controlled by the patient via a tablet computer, and which enables the patient to interact with physicians and nurses via video.
  • A caregiver workstation incorporating a hand-washing station, radio frequency identification technology for tracking medical instruments, embedded computers to follow the patient’s progress/monitor the patient’s history and simulated UV light sanitization.
  • A hospital bed equipped with a patient lift and floors lined with rubberized material to cushion patient falls.
  • A series of illuminated handrails to help patients travel to and from the bathroom by night and which run from the hospital bed all the way to the bathroom.

While this highly advanced hospital room might not be the norm in just seven years, it does present some very intriguing ideas that would help make hospitals safer for all parties — something that is of the utmost importance given that the demand for health care services is projected to increase by as much as 25 percent over the next decade.

Please visit our website if you or a family member has been victimized by what you believe to be hospital negligence. Together, we can discuss your rights, your options and your ability to seek justice.

 

Source: Health Tech Zone, “Patient Room 2020 shows off innovative hospital room of the future,” Ed Silverstein, August 1, 2013

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