Transforming healthcare for the future

Paul Watson

Paul Watson

Vice President, Healthcare & Life Sciences – Hitachi Digital Services

February 28, 2024

The LSBU Healthcare Hub: Tackling modern healthcare challenges and enhancing patient care through technology

The LSBU Healthcare Hub is a partnership between Hitachi Digital Services and the NHS, Verizon, Visionable, Siemens and London South Bank University (LSBU) that aims to revolutionize healthcare delivery. This innovative centre offers us a glimpse into a future in which healthcare pushes traditional boundaries, synthesizing innovative technologies with patient-centric care, and demonstrates how the public and private sectors can collaborate successfully.

At our core, we aspire to solve society’s challenges through innovation and this partnership represents just that: co-creating the future of healthcare using advanced technologies like IoT and AI-powered insights. We have already produced great outcomes for healthcare providers, patients and researchers, such as a significant reduction (over 15%) in the length of time patients stay in hospital; better capacity and resource management; and more efficient patient flow. Other challenging aspects of healthcare that we aim to solve are reducing costs, improving experiences for both patients and staff and maximizing outcomes while providing safe, high-quality care.

The Hub is the result of 10 years spent reimagining everything we know about medical care and healthcare services to transform critical processes across emergency departments, operations and acute services. By extending healthcare delivery beyond traditional settings, the Hub is helping to redefine the concept of a ‘hospital’: virtual care, remote monitoring and telehealth services are making healthcare more accessible, efficient and integrated, offering care and treatment closer to or even in one’s home.

A digitally enabled workforce for future-ready healthcare

LSBU trains a great many healthcare professionals – 30% of the nurses working in the London area receive their training there – which made it an obvious and ideal choice of partner. The ambition at the centre of the Hub is to build a digitally enabled workforce. The idea is not to replace medical professionals with technology but to augment their considerable expertise and free them from cumbersome, repetitive tasks so they can focus their attentions on what matters most: patient care. By integrating advanced digital tools and IoT technologies, we enable healthcare professionals to provide excellent care with greater efficiency and precision. This approach not only streamlines the patient journey – it also fosters a culture of continuous learning and innovation among healthcare workers.

Connected care through IoT, AI, robotics and wearable tech

The Hub’s use of IoT technologies is helping us to create a connected care ecosystem unencumbered by physical limitations. Interoperability ensures that different systems and applications are able to communicate, exchange data and use the information they share effectively and efficiently, facilitating seamless knowledge transfer and collaboration across the data chain. This interconnectedness lays the groundwork for a comprehensive, integrated care approach, coordinated through digital control centres for real-time health monitoring and response. It also can eliminate redundant tests and procedures, streamline administrative processes and help reduce healthcare costs.

The Hub integrates AI and robotics in diagnostics and patient care to enhance medical procedure accuracy and efficiency. Wearable technology – like fitness trackers and smart watches – in tandem with mobile health apps can monitor metrics like heart rate, sleep patterns and physical activity to empower patients who want to participate in their own care and transition to healthier lifestyles.

The partnership employs AI-powered insights to optimize patient outcomes through predictive analytics, enhance disease detection and streamline hospital operations. Both anecdotal and empirical evidence show that AI has a great deal to offer in complementing human expertise, particularly in decision support. In the healthcare sphere it can augment the work of professionals, enabling them to make the best use of their time and expertise to provide the best possible outcomes for patients and institutions alike. For example, AI modelling may use pattern recognition to cut through the noise and triage urgent cases, thereby fine-tuning and speeding up the processes by which doctors determine which patients receive which treatments and prioritize cases from most to least urgent.

This ‘intelligent layer’ enables personalized patient care plans, improves decision making processes and facilitates remote monitoring that can ensure timely interventions. AI can also automate routine tasks so that healthcare professionals can focus on complex care needs. This not only elevates patient experiences – it also heralds a future in which healthcare is more accessible, responsive and sustainable. The use of connected digital technology also provides the Hub with the opportunity to create new models of care, powered by connected data that provides both contextual and situational information.

Personalized treatment plans and transformative research

Connecting wearable smart devices to a clinical network enables healthcare practitioners and AI to monitor patients’ data and identify any deteriorations. The network provides self-service prompts to patients and, where necessary, alerts clinicians when intervention is needed. This approach, supported by patient-centred technologies like portals and wellness apps, signifies a shift towards genuinely individualized care.

Immersive technologies like AR and VR make the Hub a cutting-edge research and education facility for medical training and surgical planning. Students are able to ‘see’ and ‘perform’ procedures, learning by doing; while medical researchers have access to accelerated modelling and a foundation for innovation.

Smart infrastructure for sustainable healthcare

The Hub is committed to smart, sustainable hospital design. Our vision is of a healthcare system that is both technologically advanced and environmentally responsible; that minimizes energy consumption and reduces environmental impact.

As well as providing transformative healthcare solutions, this partnership demonstrates the potential of private-public collaborations in driving healthcare innovation forward. By creating an environment that fosters collaboration and learning, the Hub exemplifies how combined efforts can bring about significant advancements in healthcare delivery and patient care. By underpinning practical healthcare delivery with rigorous research, we ensure that new technologies and approaches are not only innovative but also grounded in evidence-based practices. This initiative establishes a safe and controlled setting for the testing and development of cutting-edge technologies, enabling healthcare professionals to refine operational and clinical routines. Through this collaborative and research-driven approach, the Hub showcases the immense potential of integrating new technologies into everyday practice to enhance operational efficiency and patient outcomes.

The LSBU Healthcare Hub epitomizes a future in which technology, sustainability and patient-centric approaches join forces to offer a healthcare system that is accessible, efficient and tailored to individual needs. It represents a new kind of ecosystem that fosters innovation, education and integrated care. This transformative approach not only addresses current healthcare challenges but also lays the foundation for a healthier, more connected future.