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room of the future

Jennifer Hankenson, MD, a physiatrist and assistant professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation at Yale School of Medicine, uses a monitor in an exam room at the Orthopedic Center in North Haven to show a patient their X-ray. The monitors are one component of YNHHS’ Room of the Future project.

At YNHHS, the “Room of the Future” is already here

Over the years, equipment in patient rooms has evolved to include everything from advanced monitoring technology to infusion pumps integrated with the electronic medical record to beds that can help prevent pressure injuries.

The rooms themselves, however, haven’t changed much. Inside most are white boards and markers where care team members write their names and other information for patients. Outside are traditional room number placards, along with laminated signs for fall risk and other precautions.

YNHHS’ Information Technology Services is working with clinicians and staff in various departments to change that. A “Room of the Future” project under way in inpatient and outpatient locations features technology built into physical spaces.  

“Our aim is to leverage technology to support enhanced communication and high-quality care, providing an exceptional experience for our patients, physicians and care teams,” said Lisa Stump, YNHHS’ chief information and digital transformation officer.

Some of that technology was unveiled in January, at the new Digestive Health, Neurology and Orthopedics centers on the North Haven medical campus. Exam rooms feature large monitors that can display patients’ imaging test results and other information. Clinicians are using the monitors to help explain and illustrate conditions and procedures.

“The room technology is fantastic. I typically use the big screen in the room to show and review discharge instructions with patients,” said Avlin Imaeda, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine (digestive diseases), Yale School of Medicine. “It is great when you need to show patients imaging studies. I also like that I can do telehealth right in the room.”

The North Haven facilities are working prototypes that set the stage for future room design. These monitors will be installed at some other ambulatory and inpatient locations throughout the health system, such as the Bridgeport Hospital Milford Campus Orthopedic Unit, and the future Neurosciences Center and Bed Towers at Yale New Haven Hospital. Plans are also under way to incorporate Room of the Future technology into a room at the Yale Center for Medical Simulation.

In addition to in-room monitors, YNHHS will soon implement digital signs outside some inpatient and exam rooms in YNHHS facilities. These will allow clinicians to securely access each patient’s status, care team information, fall risk and other alerts. The signs update automatically in real time as a patient’s status is documented in Epic.

“In this era of rapid technological innovation and adoption, digital capability is quickly translating into healthcare capability. As patients increasingly access on-demand and personalized experiences for consumer services, they have come to expect the same in health care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, YNHHS’ chief digital health officer and associate dean of Digital Strategy and Transformation at Yale School of Medicine. “To remain a world-class health system, we must engage with this new digital delivery model to evolve our approach to caring for patients from one of separate transactions to more of a continuous embrace. Infusing technology thoughtfully into our ambulatory and inpatient spaces is one of many steps we are taking in this new direction.”

Representatives from ITS and other departments are discussing other Room of the Future projects for inpatient areas, such as in-room telehealth stations, digital white boards and ambient voice technology that would allow clinicians to interact with a patient’s electronic medical record using voice commands.