Drug delivery, robots and digital hospitals – how they’re helping save patient lives

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. They develop connected technologies and solutions to manage energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable.

The Royal Adelaide Hospital is one of Australia’s largest and most technologically advanced healthcare facilities.

The $2.3 billion investment to create a digital hospital is already producing benefits in patient care. Everything is tailored to optimise the health and wellbeing of patients with several unique innovations streamlining the Hospital for everyone. It’s an interactive working environment that creates an ecosystem of technology and healthcare.

Autonomous vehicles (AGVs) whiz meals around the building, using sensors to help navigate elevators and avoid bumping into people. Nurses have special displays with actionable visual information and robotic medication dispensers that guarantee precise dosing and timing. The Automated Dispensing Cabinet limits access to prescribed medications through fingerprint ID, and password log-in creates a more secure environment for staff and patients.

The AGV Trolley is assigned ‘missions’ and makes a little beeping noise to let you know it’s there. Source:
RAH News

Visitors have access to wayfinding information, which in turn gives valuable time back to nursing staff. Patients can even use technology to control their room temperature and communicate with staff. All this extra time and reduced costs are being reinvested into patient wellbeing and sustainability initiatives.

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure™ Building IoT enablement platform for building management underpins the technology. Schneider Electric formed part of the SA Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework, Celsus (formerly SA Health Partnership) – the project consortium responsible for the design, finance, construction and facility management of the Royal Adelaide Hospital. This project has delivered a building that is more sustainable, driving the focus back to patient care.

Hospitals are one of the more complex and critical building systems Schneider Electric has worked with given its role in guaranteeing safety, security and consistent delivery of services for the doctors, nurses and staff managing people’s lives.

Patient care at the centre of the ecosystem

Digital hospitals are driving a refocus on quality patient care. In hospitals where there is little-to-no technology to assist staff with their daily routines, studies have shown delays in the provision of healthcare services. Robots are faster, more reliable and much cheaper to run. The reduced operational costs by leveraging the internet of things (IoT) mean money can be reinvested into staff.

While these endearing delivery robots are just the start, there is future potential growth in healthcare by working alongside IoT devices. One of the unique things design features Royal Adelaide Hospital can do is isolate itself into ‘island-mode’ should a crisis, natural disaster or infectious outbreak occur. The Building Management System (BMS) is designed to shut down access to external power and water and operate solely on its own supply for up to 48 hours – including some of the more sensitive operating rooms – so that all essential healthcare will continue uninterrupted.

How digital facilities management works

The rapid growth of IoT devices across all industries has seen demand for systems to manage the data these devices are producing. By 2020, it is estimated that there will be over 30 billion connected IoT devices. The Schneider Electric team created a unique ecosystem that allows digital devices to flourish alongside best practice healthcare.

Buildings are dynamic and interact with occupants and their needs in differing ways. This means that building systems are always changing, creating new opportunities for gradual wear and failure. Schneider Electric has identified five key domains in facilities management:

  • power management;
  • process automation;
  • building management;
  • IT management; and
  • security.

“Historically, facility managers have had to choose between competing priorities to balance budget with building performance. Aging infrastructure and a loss of expertise can complicate the maintenance, management and long-term planning of your building,” Jay Rocavert, Vice President, Buildings at Schneider Electric told Business Insider.

“Intelligent Building Management Systems are also enabling companies of all sizes to embrace sustainability, as the avalanche of technology constantly offers new ways to create greener buildings.”

For Royal Adelaide Hospital, environmental and financial sustainability was a major target for their new facility. They aimed to be one of Australia’s greenest hospitals and have now achieved a 4-Star Green Star Healthcare Design rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

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