Contact Us

How New Technology Will Change Patient Care

A new way of looking at patient care and new technology will change the future look of hospitals and other medical buildings.

UCSF is standardizing operations and applying lean principles, so it was important to design the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay in a way that helped providers be more efficient, said Kim Scurr, who's in charge of operations planning for the UCSF Mission Bay campus. (She's also executive director of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco.)

Kim was one of our panelists at Bisnow's San Francisco Healthcare event last week. That's her speaking with another panelist, Jack Poindexter, project executive with DPR Construction.

When building the Mission Bay campus, UCSF wanted it to be patient-centered, Kim said. With the only helipad in San Francisco, patients often come from hours away, so it was important to create a healing environment where there was room for family to visit within the patient room (shown below), she said.

There's also a 60-inch monitor patients can use to order meals, access medical information or Skype, since it's important to keep people connected to their community, she said. (They can also use it to watch TV or play music.)

Kim said the adopting of healthcare technology is a slow process. "We just started bar code scanning medicine a few years ago," she says. "You've been scanning your groceries since the beginning of time."

Jack's wife is a dermatologist and spends about 20% of her week on telemedicine, he said. With technology driving so much change it's becoming key to make buildings "future-proof," Jack said.

Medical office buildings have less regulatory pressure than acute care hospitals, which means they can be built with more flexibility in mind, he said. Providing future flexibility creates a lower life-cycle cost, he said. Building in flexibility also is crucial when building new hospitals, which can take eight to 10 years to finish.

Kaiser Permanente VP Hollis Harris (right with Carla Collins Mixon of Signet Testing Labs) said technology helps to keep people healthy while creating flexibility and supporting more members.

She expects the inpatient hospital of the future will look very different, with the number of ICU beds growing to about half, because so many other services now handled within hospitals will move to outside facilities.