BOE Hefei Digital Hospital is one of China’s first truly ‘smart’ hospitals. It has been developed by BOE, a leading Chinese LED screen manufacturer, partnered with American medical group, Dignity Health. They wanted to create a world-class hospital incorporating the latest digital technologies and services to deliver the highest quality medical care, patient safety, and user experience.
Bringing Global Expertise To A Local Project
The 193,000 m2, 1,000-bed hospital specialises in cardiovascular, orthopaedics, neurology, and oncology. We were appointed, alongside architects HKS Inc, to provide building services and smart technology systems consultancy. Our healthcare team in the USA and China developed a schematic design with four key goals: to ensure the highest level of productivity for the hospital; to improve efficiency across the board – from energy savings to operational management to patient care; to provide a safe and secure environment for patients; and to provide the best possible patient and user experience.
The smart system planned with the owners group and operators utilizes a converged network that acts as a central spine for all the building management system, the hospital’s operational procedures and all aspects of patient care via the Internet of Things (IoT). This schematic design allows for considerable operational efficiency to be generated. Previously, each service would have been managed independently, but now all data is consolidated into a single backbone with secure access. The hospital and patient ward buildings are fully equipped with WI-FI system equipment to allow the internet and WLAN communication within the hospital buildings. To compliment this the IT network installation also connects the medical services network, the office administration network and provides a network for the patient and their family.
Medical records, patient treatment regimes, medical equipment, gas systems, HVAC, lighting, staff management, voice communications systems, security, and financial services, are all planned for the converged network. This enables better collaboration, the creation of useful applications, and the network can be monitored by a single operations manager. Although the data is in one place, it is separated virtually to provide each team with access to its own system. Security is paramount and provided via a centralised firewall complemented by a strict internet access policy with internal gateways to limit access for patients and public users of the system.
Energy efficiency and cost savings are made possible because the converged network allows services to interact. Building services are linked to the check-in system, for example, so that heating, lighting and air conditioning in individual rooms can be automatically switched on when a patient arrives, and turned off when the room is unoccupied.
Applications are planned to improve patient and hospital user experience including a way-finding system to help navigate the large and complex hospital site, and a check-in procedure linked to the communications system so that staff can contact patients individually. These applications mean patients can move around the hospital while waiting for their appointments, then find their way to the correct treatment centre via an appropriate route, perhaps using elevators instead of stairs if they have difficulty walking, for example. Remote treatment options are also made possible because all data is contained in the Cloud, and communicated via the Internet.
As a truly smart hospital, the BOE Hefei Digital Hospital provides a level of connected healthcare that will allow for a model to use in other hospitals and networked together as a provider. By consolidating all functions into one centralised network, capital expenditure and operational costs are reduced, while security is increased. Our expert team also focused on resiliency planning creating a road map of how our client can enhance their resiliency efforts. We created a large thermal storage concept to enable 24 hour resiliency, confirming this hospital as a leader in future ready design.