CONTINUED FROM 1
HEALTH CARE TECH INVESTMENTS
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital expansions in The Woodlands area have invested in technology, including robotic assistants and touchscreens for patients and sta. Health care educators have also invested in simulation training for students.
SOURCES: LONE STAR COLLEGE SYSTEM, SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY, HOUSTON METHODIST THE WOODLANDS HOSPITAL, MEMORIAL HERMANN THE WOODLANDS MEDICAL CENTERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Catheterization LABS Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center catheterization labs aid surgeons.
Touchscreens IN PATIENT ROOMS Patient rooms at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital have been equipped with tablets.
Robotic ASSISTANTS The robotic surgical assistant, ROSA, is used at Houston Methodist in procedures like knee replacement.
High-fidelity MANNEQUINS Sam Houston State University students practice on mannequins that can simulate bleeding or pain.
Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital and Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center are among the entities seeking to improve patient care and eciency, having each completed $250 million hospi- tal expansions in 2022 that included technological investments in new robotics, surgery equipment, and touchscreen and phone applications. Nathan Way, director of acute care at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital, said the changes, such as increased use of tablets for commu- nication, were one of the only posi- tive outcomes from the pandemic for the hospital. “Things we might have been pon- dering ... about, we pushed forward faster to get them here,” Way said during an April 13 media tour. Justin Gnau, chief information o- cer for St. Luke’s Health, which has two hospitals in The Woodlands, said the hospitals had to adapt early in the pandemic by implementing tele- health. It also added articial intel- ligence for the stroke management team and a virtual preceptor imple- mented in April to help the new nurs- ing sta. At Memorial Hermann The Wood- lands Medical Center, President and CEO Justin Kendrick said the pan- demic heightened the need for more accessible care and led to the use of virtual care visits. “It was really accelerated to provide the experience for what people were
needing at that time and will continue to need,” Kendrick said. The pandemic has also changed the ways future health care workers are learning and incorporating technol- ogy into their curriculum. According to Lone Star College System and Sam Houston State University ocials, nursing and osteopathic students have been learning through simula- tions using high-delity mannequins and electronic medical data.
new tools, such as cardiac care, are focused predominantly on patients age 50 and older. Information from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year Annual Community Survey estimates around 34.2% of The Woodlands population is age 50 or older with a median age around 40. Four new catheterization labora- tories added as part of the expansion use imaging equipment to visualize dierent parts of the heart and are
Well app during the pandemic for a virtual visit from a primary care physician when an incident came up with his father. “Technology … has been a way to enhance community,” he said. “If we have learned anything over the past two years, it is our reliance on tech- nology and being able to have those types of capabilities, so we have been able to make sure all of our spaces are up to speed with the latest and great- est that is out there.” Both Houston Methodist and Memorial Hermann have dedicated space and funding for advanced robotics in their expansions. O- cials from both entities said robotics are used in surgeries, and dedicated spaces prevent the need for machines to be moved as often as they previ- ously were. At Houston Methodist’s Healing Tower, 106 new patient rooms have been equipped with tablets for a variety of purposes including video calls monitoring sta needs. Way said there have been additional ini- tiatives to connect patients at the hospital, including adding Ama- zon Alexa devices into the new patient rooms. “In the very [near] future, patients will be able to call their nurse using this device,” Way said. “They are going to be able to rapidly contact the team if they should ask for help in a concerning way. There is a huge future using this integrated technology.”
“THE PANDEMIC HAS FORCED US TO REINVENT THE WHEEL AND LEAN MORE HEAVILY ON SIMULATION." NICOLE TOWNSEND, LVN FACULTY AT LONE STAR COLLEGEKINGWOOD
Health care professionals said they hope the technological changes brought about by the pandemic will create greater access than previously seen. “All of these technological advance- ments are interwoven,” Kendrick said. “Ultimately, … we need to make cer- tain our patients have access to the latest technology available to them.” New technology Kendrick said many of the techno- logical changes at Memorial Hermann prioritize patient and employee needs as well as communication. With its $250 million South Tower expansion—an eight-story project that added around 150 patient beds— Kendrick said some of the hospital’s
among the most advanced in the country, he said. Memorial Hermann sta members state the tables for a cath lab run around $1.2 million each. Kendrick said other investments have been made in telemetry mon- itoring for systems like respiratory rate and oxygen levels, which directly benets care teams at the hospi- tals and provides safeguards within the catheterization labs to better protect employees. Investments have also been made in communications to keep patients’ families informed of their progress and to build out community spaces in the South Tower with audio and video equipment, he said. Kendrick said his own family has made use of the hospital’s Everyday
COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM
Powered by FlippingBook