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Smart hospitals: Transformational medicine for the knowledge age Part 2

Throw in barcode and/or RFID technology, and you can more easily track caloric intake, count carbs and the like. Companies such as BodyMedia and Fitbit produce 24/7 wearable devices that monitor everything from miles walked to calories burned to sleep intervals. Add the new bathroom scales that display percentage of body fat and calculate your body mass index, and you have a lot of interconnected dots working together to make you more physically fit and productive, perhaps even helping you avoid a $63,000 stent operation.

Chance for change

All of that has the net effect of pushing knowledge and its application out to the patient in a helpful, non-judgmental way. Making the shift toward a patient-centered experience for education and behavioral reinforcement for healthy living should be the end vision for the smart hospital. A shrinking pool of medical doctors relative to population growth makes that transformation even more urgent.

As we move in the direction of the "internet of things" and "M2M" (machine-to-machine communication), we can finally move out of the 19th century and create a truly integrated system of smart, knowledge-based healthcare. Who knows, if we can turn the current mishmash into a knowledge flow enabling system, we could all be dancing the "mashed potato" well into our nineties and beyond.

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