Editor's Pick

Where Technology and Patient Care Intersect

Where do patient satisfaction, medical advancement, and innovation meet? The answer is here—right in this issue as we focus on the patient experience and consider how best to integrate technology into that experience, rather than allowing technology to define it. Think Google Glass for hospitals, and you’re ready to walk down the halls of what we have in store for you in this issue.

Hospitals are faced with a tremendous challenge: Striving to maintain high quality of care and reduce costs, all while competing in a rapidly changing environment. Ultimately, to effectively address the multiple imperatives of this challenge, hospitals must become more intelligent.

So, what defines an “intelligent hospital,” and what does that mean for a patient? My first interaction with the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion was through the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) in 2011. I wandered into what seemed like Star Trek meets medicine in the year 2050, and it was there that I first met Dr. Paul Frisch, the chief technology officer of the Intelligent Hospital and a contributing author to this issue of the magazine. At that moment, among visionary innovation, I realized that we could make patient-centered hospitals a reality now, not 40 years from now. So, when I was asked to be the guest editor for this issue of IEEE Pulse, my answer was, “Yes, yes, and yes.”

In preparation, we’ve met with a number of experts and asked them to tell us what an intelligent hospital is and what that means for you, your work, and your life. We’ll share this blueprint for the future from a variety of perspectives of clinicians, industry, academia, and entrepreneurs around the world.

You’ll hear answers to some of the most difficult questions: How do you create an intelligent hospital when there isn’t even access to clean water? How do you design a hospital to be both functionally advanced and affordable? Where can design innovation actually cut costs?

When speaking to the industry leaders interviewed for these articles, we always kept the most important thing at the forefront of our minds—the patient. I come from a long line of doctors, and my dad and stepdad have ingrained in me the knowledge that the patient is the customer, and he or she always comes first. So, as you read about mobile noninvasive monitoring systems, pieces of equipment that talk to each other, and cell phones that have the ability to detect a sore throat before a friend standing next to you does, remember that at the center of all this exciting technology is the patient’s needs, and that’s what makes this technology truly revolutionary. We will all be patients at one time, and so, from one patient to another, I hope these articles inspire you to help us create an intelligent patient-centered hospital that changes the way each of us views and experiences health care.

Dr. Rockefeller and Dr. Busby, I dedicate this issue of the best and brightest to you, my dads, who help everyone shine brighter.