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From digital to cognitive hospital: How technology is capable of transforming health

Healthcare has undergone a radical metamorphosis in recent decades thanks to technological advances. From the digitization of medical records to the advent of cognitive systems, we have witnessed a transformation that completely redefines how medical care is provided and received. Precisely around these concepts and some others (‘smart hospital’, ‘Green hospital’,…); talks one of the scientific papers published by our colleague Jordi Rovira.

As well as being part of the MYSPHERA team, Jordi Rovira is a PhD student in digital medicine with several papers published by The Royal College of Physicians.

The paper ‘Introduction to the cognitive hospital’ is the first deepening in the concept of ‘Cognitive Hospital’. A concept that has evolved as key technological advances have been included.

Authors: Jordi Rovira-Simón, digital health medicine PhD student, A Marc Sales-i-Coll, PhD student and healthcare process transformation expert, B Patricia Pozo-Rosich, neurology specialist, C Darren Gates, paediatric intensivist and clinical innovation consultant, D Carol Patt, innovation consultant, E Iain Hennessey, director of innovation and paediatric surgeon, F Lisa Emery, chief information officer, G Juan Antonio Hueto-Madrid, chief of unit of oral and maxillofacial surgery and professor of surgery, H Marta Carbonell-Cobo, chief information officer, I Francesc Garcia-Cuyàs, deputy medical director, J Monica Moz, cardiac surgeon, K Zafar Chaudry, senior vice president and chief information officer, L and Genevieve Shaw, independent editor and copywriter M

As the scientific article states, in recent years we have seen the rise of the ‘smart hospital’, which uses sensors, data analysis, and artificial intelligence to improve efficiency and patient care. But it is not only this concept that has been developed but also others such as ‘liquid hospital’ or ‘green hospital’.

However, these concepts are only the beginning. The term that really encompasses the next generation of hospitals is the ‘cognitive hospital’. Cognitive hospitals will be able to learn and adapt to their environment, just like the human brain. They will be able to anticipate patients’ needs, identify potential problems, and intervene proactively.

In this blog post, we will discuss the concept of the cognitive hospital and explore some of the benefits it can offer. We will also look at some of the challenges that need to be overcome for the cognitive hospital to become a reality.

What is a cognitive hospital?

According to the authors of this paper, a cognitive hospital is a hospital that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to mimic the human brain. This means that the hospital will be able to learn and adapt to its environment, just as we do.

For example, a cognitive hospital will be able to:

  • Identify patients at risk of developing complications.
  • Anticipate patients’ needs and provide care before they even ask for it.
  • Make proactive interventions to prevent problems from occurring.
  • Personalise treatment plans for each individual patient.

Benefits of cognitive hospitals

There are many potential benefits of cognitive hospitals. These include:

🔹 Better patient care: Cognitive hospitals can provide better care for patients by identifying and addressing their needs early on. They can also customize treatment plans for each individual patient.

🔹 Increased efficiency: Cognitive hospitals can help improve efficiency by automating tasks and reducing human error.

🔹 Reduced costs: Cognitive hospitals can help reduce costs by streamlining operations and improving efficiency.

Challenges of cognitive hospitals

There are also some challenges that must be overcome for the cognitive hospital to become a reality. These include:

📍 Data collection and management: Cognitive hospitals will need a large amount of data to learn and adapt. This data will need to be collected and managed effectively.

📍 Privacy and security: Data collected by cognitive hospitals will be sensitive and must be protected from unauthorized access.

📍 Technical challenges: There are still technical challenges that must be overcome to create truly cognitive hospitals. These challenges include developing algorithms that can learn and adapt at scale, and ensuring that systems are reliable and secure.

The paper’s conclusion highlights the need to address emerging ethical challenges related to privacy and control in an increasingly cognitive hospital environment. It also raises philosophical questions about the autonomy of artificial intelligence and its impact on the medical profession.

Ultimately, it emphasizes the importance of initiating multidisciplinary discussions with clinicians, technology experts, philosophers, and political leaders to define standards and boundaries in the implementation of cognitive hospitals. This collective reflection is essential to maximize the benefits of this transformation, to ensure the quality of medical care, and to avoid future chaotic scenarios driven by individual interests. The text invites society to take this opportunity as a common challenge, rather than leaving the future of healthcare to be determined in a haphazard manner.

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