People tend to have a love-hate relationship with hospitals. On one hand, hospitals are filled with doctors who save lives day in and day out, they make people feel better when they cannot do so themselves, and best of all, humanity’s best chance at a better tomorrow are born in them. Equally so, they’re scary buildings that contain rooms lined with fridges filled with blood packs, theaters where people in green cut other people open and handle their innards, and worst of all, people die in them.
Microsoft is aware of this, and especially how lonely and isolated hospitalized patients can get, so the software giant looked to make it better. At the Lille Regional Teaching University Hospital in France, Microsoft introduced their Internet of Things (IoT) strategy that will serve the over 87,000 patients, that the hospital takes care of every year, all while increasing staff efficiency too.
Powered by Microsoft technology, new bedside terminals securely hooked up to the hospitals backend servers provide doctors with at-a-glance critical patient information, making data entry easier and quickly accessible.
“The system vastly eases creating, sharing and accessing patient information. Instead of taking notes at the bedside and then manually transcribing them into the electronic medical record system, staff can now complete the work right at the bedside, reducing the potential for error” says Neil Jordan, Microsoft’s General Manager of Health, Worldwide Public Sector.
As for the patients, the system is designed for patient satisfaction and education. Doctors can use it to share images, test results, videos and more , while explaining conditions to patients that can enhance the doctor-patient relationship. The hospital has also gotten rid of its telephones and TV’s and replaced them with touchscreen terminals that allow patients to communicate with friends and family via email, and stay entertained with multiple media options. The interface is even adjustable based on patient age, capabilities and level of mobility.
“We were very interested in providing services that would keep patients in contact with their families or employers — something that a hospital doesn’t typically provide,” says Philippe Mayjonade, general coordinator of patient services at Lille.
On the more technical side of things, the system is provided by Care and Comfort (see video above), a French maker of multimedia bedside terminals that are powered by Microsoft Windows, and hosted on Microsoft-powered servers.
“We’re opening a new hospital in the fall, and we see no limits in terms of scalability with Care and Comfort terminals and Microsoft technology,” says Mayjonade
The next phase of the project is already being planned, where medical applications will be integrated, allowing doctors and nurses access using a single sign-in system. Barcode scanners will also be integrated into the system to easily scan labels for blood transfusions. Additionally, medical sensors can also be tied in to monitor and automatically record a patients vital signs. For patients, Skype will also be added to the bedside terminals that will allow patients face-to-face communication with their loved ones. The hospital of the future is here and it is a bit more friendly thanks to Microsoft.