Scotland’s ‘first digital hospital’ will boast realtime operational command centre

Scotland’s ‘first digital hospital’ will feature an operational command centre to help clinicians understand in realtime when patients are deteriorating.

The state-of the-art University Hospital Monklands will be furnished with sophisticated touchscreens to help patients navigate their way through the site and clinicians will be able to continuously monitor online feedback from patients’ families to improve care.

NHS Lanarkshire has approved a business case for the new hospital, which will occupy a site of 40 acres at the minimum and will replace the existing Monklands Hospital in Airdrie that was built in the 1970s and has been deemed ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

The new development, which is at the very earliest of design stages, is expected to be built within the next seven years from an as yet undisclosed capital budget and has been conceptualised based on consultations with local people in the area; the estimated cost will be released during the site selection process. Inspiration for the digital hospital approach has been found within advanced hospital projects in the US and Canada; Humber River Hospital, Toronto, and Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, are two examples the Monklands Replacement Project team have discussed as ‘exemplar hospitals’ in exploring the opportunities of digital technology.

The hospital will be delivered according to a new clinical model which requires particular departments and services to be located close together. The proposed layout will see the departments interconnected on a ground floor level, allowing for ease of communication between relevant specialisms.

There is an ambition within the local health board’s strategy to shift care away from inpatient treatment to day case, day treatment, outpatient and community care, to develop ‘pan-Lanarkshire hospital centres of excellence’ and support the healthcare needs of the wider West of Scotland. NHS Lanarkshire is developing a digital strategy will see the implementation of a range of digital technology to support patients and staff from the acute hospital to care in the home. The new University Hospital Monklands will be at the forefront of this move to revolutionise the way healthcare is delivered.

Video and still images show the exciting design concept for how the hospital could look when it is relocated to a new site that will offer the opportunity to deliver the most modern healthcare, designed to ensure that the huge advances in digital technology are central to an improved experience for patients and help staff carry out their work.

Monklands Replacement Project (MRP) clinical lead Dr Jim Ruddy said: “Relocating to a spacious new site gives us the opportunity to create a hospital that can deliver our ‘clinical model’ – the blueprint for providing future healthcare that has been developed by our clinicians and other colleagues.

“With NHS Lanarkshire’s patients becoming older and increasingly suffering from a number of complex conditions, the use of digital technology is key to this clinical model. A hospital built with digital technology at its core will free up clinicians’ time, allowing even more time to be spent looking after patients.”

University Hospital Monklands chief of nursing services Karen Goudie added: “Our ambition for the new Monklands to be Scotland’s first digital hospital will greatly benefit patients, visitors and staff. 

“There will also be an operational command centre at the heart of the development, providing the most modern of healthcare with real-time information to make staff instantly aware of patients whose condition is deteriorating, helping to maximise patient safety and patient flow, and to address any capacity issues in the safest way possible. The centre will even monitor online feedback from patients’ families to help improve care.”

MRP director Graeme Reid said: “We’re delighted to share this inspirational vision for Scotland’s first digital hospital, a world-class hospital for the communities of Lanarkshire who will be served by it in years to come.

“The design was created with the valued input of patient and public representatives and staff, who provided feedback at a series of workshops last year. 

“It illustrates the exciting future for patients and staff of the proposed hospital, with further feedback being sought from the public during the planning process once a site is confirmed. 

“A location for the new hospital will be confirmed this spring from the three shortlisted potential sites – Gartcosh, Glenmavis and Wester Moffat – following a public engagement process and a site scoring exercise.”

The new site will occupy land at either Gartosh, Glenmavis or Wester Moffat

Neena Mahal, chair of NHS Lanarkshire, said: “The NHS Board’s approval follows the recommendations of the Monklands Replacement Oversight Board, a governance committee of the NHS Board, which includes public representatives and independent members as well as non-executive directors of the NHS Board.

“NHS Lanarkshire will undertake further public engagement on these potential alternative sites for the hospital as we address the urgent need to provide a new University Hospital Monklands for the communities of Lanarkshire.”