The hospital of the future will be “a bunch of people sitting in a room full of screens and phones,” according to Toby Cosgrove, who heads the Cleveland Clinic.
The hospital group is already experimenting with such a vision. One of its units hosts a bunker full of screens and phones that monitors 150 intensive-care unit patients in hospital beds at other facilities. Doctors, nurses, and technicians track patients’ status and progress and alert the on-site nurses when a patient needs attention.
Hospitals will function like air-traffic control towers, where everything but the most serious medical cases are monitored and even treated remotely. Even, eventually, invasive treatments like dialysis. With telemedicine, artificial intelligence, and wearable health devices, healthcare already is heading in that direction (see, “Future of Medicine: Healthcare in Your Hand”). Many people will receive most of the care they need without leaving home or setting foot inside one of today’s brick-and-mortar hospitals.
“We have reached the peak of bringing patients to the healing centres,” says Samuel Smits of Gupta Strategists, a health care strategy firm in the Netherlands. “We are on the brink of bringing the healing to patients.”