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Hospital rooms in the city

Anyone who’s ever been admitted into a hospital room in Nairobi may harbour some misgivings. Even the most exclusive of rooms tend to be old fashioned and boring, with standard fittings and displays that hardly enhance care delivery. But all this is bound to change with demands to integrate modern technology into our sick beds. In 2050 and beyond, hospital rooms will be unrecognisable as we know them today. They will be the nicest ever, but hopefully most of us will never need to visit them.

Current concepts are integrating the best of technology into hospital architecture. The 21st century prototype patient room has functionality and usability built into the walls, furniture, beds and even the bathroom. Integrated wall sensors continuously monitor vital signs, while sensors overhanging the bed can detect mood and mental state, automatically adjusting lighting to suit circumstances. No need for nurses and doctors to carry around case notes, laptops, or even stethoscopes. Worktops jut out from the walls at the touch of a button, displaying all the patients’ records in real time. Monitoring is uninterrupted, with automated interpretation and algorithms to alert nurses as soon as any parameter deviates from normal.

The patient’s dinner table is not just an ordinary wheelable trolley. After the meal is done, it flips over to reveal an interactive portal. Patients can review their own records and progress, remotely interact with their doctors, and even track their hospital bill. And they can also entertain themselves with games, videos or music. Or even choose to record their entire hospital stay, tracking admission to eventual discharge!

The bathroom is a contraption of technology as well. Who said monitoring has to stop when a patient closes the bathroom door behind them? The toilet seat has sensors to maintain continuous monitoring during those private moments. Some instabilities can be triggered by too much straining, and the nurses need to know pronto! Anything that drops into the basin is immediately analysed and the results routed directly to the doctors before all the stuff hurtles down into the sewage line.

The days of ferrying around body waste in small containers to the lab for analysis will be confined to anecdotes.As you walk into the shower, sensors will detect the level of surface bacteria on your skin and mix up the water and cleansing solutions into the right proportions, all in attempts to limit hospital infections. And the automated process will turn off the water once you are done, and immediately air-dry your entire body as you step out.

Too much fuss on health technology? The answer is no. Hospital tech rooms are projected to raise care standards by maximising integration of space with medical technology. Errors will be minimised, and the ambience will improve patient experience. Nairobi hotels be wary, your patrons may seek a hospital room instead!

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Anyone who’s ever been admitted into a hospital room in Nairobi may harbour some misgivings. Even the most exclusive of rooms tend to be old fashioned and boring, with standard fittings and displays that hardly enhance care delivery. But all this is bound to change with demands to integrate modern technology into our sick beds.

In 2050 and beyond, hospital rooms will be unrecognisable as we know them today. They will be the nicest ever, but hopefully most of us will never need to visit them.

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