A look inside N. America's first 'fully digital' hospital
Published Wednesday, September 30, 2015 10:25AM EDT
A hospital that lets patients video chat with nurses and has supplies delivered by robots is preparing to open its doors in Toronto next month.
Located in the northwest end of the city, the Humber River Hospital will become North America's first "fully digital" medical centre.
The hospital's Chief Operating Officer Barb Collins told CTV's Canada Am that the digital vision aims to save staff time while allowing patients to feel more connected.
"I never could have dreamed of it 40 years ago when I got into nursing," Collins said.
The hospital will feature the most advanced digital healthcare technology, from a robotic radiology suite to automated delivery bots.
There are three robots in the radiology suite, which are able to move around the patient at all angles. In traditional scans, patients are forced to move around so the machines can capture all angles of the body, which is often painful to someone suffering an illness.
Some of the automated robots are programmed to pick up supplies, ride elevators and deliver them to specific rooms in the hospital.
The hospital also has a chemotherapy robot that receives orders for drugs that need to be mixed as doctors enter them into a computer system. It is then able to check the doses and patient names before mixing the drugs. It then checks the dose before inserting it into medical bag with a barcoded label.
Doctors and nurses check the barcode against the one on the patients' hospital bracelets, then administer the drugs to the patients.
The drugs are "quite toxic," Collins said, and the robotic system prevents spills that can shut down an entire ward at a time.
In addition to the robotic equipment, the hospital is using technology to improve the patient experience.
"We had the opportunity to create mostly single-patient rooms, which gives you an opportunity to redesign your care, draw in the family into the care, and resolve some of the issues that patients found frustrating," Collins said.
Each bed is equipped with a large tablet computer and keyboard, which lets patients access their health records from their own room. The computer lets patients video chat with family members, order meals and read e-books. It also gives patients access to radio stations, on-demand television and video games.
They can also use the touchscreen to page their nurse, or to video chat with them if they're carrying a handheld device.
The 30-acre facility located at Keele Street and Highway 401 will open its doors on Oct. 18.