GWA Hygiene and umlaut working on Hospital 4.0 blueprint

03 July 2020 3 min. read

GWA Hygiene, a German company specialised in helping hospitals improve their hygiene levels, has teamed up with consultancy umlaut.

Together the two partners aim to design a blueprint for the “technology-driven hospital of the future”, known as Hospital 4.0, explained Julius Mennig, a manager at umlaut. According to the two firms, digital – in particular emerging technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, internet of things and robotics – have the power to unlock a range of benefits in hospitals, across all facets, from patient experience through to internal operations and safety for doctors and nurses.

Take internet of things as an example. By using sensor technology, hospitals can track people and assets such as beds and medical equipment, and analysing this data can in turn provide insights for the optimal use of spaces, the planning of interventions that need equipment, capacity utilisation and planning/resourcing across departments. 

The technique is already used successfully in the aviation industry for instance, where sensor-provided insights help improve maintenance and aircraft safety, and in industrial sectors, where it is driving huge benefits in asset lifecycle management through predictive maintenance.

GWA Hygiene and umlaut to work on tech-driven hospital blueprint

In the back-office space, automation of processes can benefit most supporting healthcare activities, including the logistics of consumables, the access to medication or the provision of food to patients. In addition, it can also lower the administrative burden faced by doctors and nurses – one of the more onerous and low-value adding parts of their job. 

Meanwhile, by blending in technologies with the growing number of eHealth apps, a smarter doctor to patient interface can be created, which helps patients with earlier insights into their health, while providing hospitals with the ability to work more proactively and optimise the treatment throughout the healthcare value chain. 

“The aim of this partnership is enable the vision of the ‘Hospital 4.0’ to be designed, developed and delivered. This will ultimately improve patient outcomes, reduce employee's workload, and make the healthcare system more sustainable,” said Mennig. 

A partnership of minds

The alliance builds on the deep industry and technology knowledge of umlaut, part of the Nextcontinent network, and the experiences GWA Hygiene recently gained with its NosoEx technology, which emerged into fame in Germany amid the Covid-19 crisis. NosoEx is a tool that uses sensor technology to record disinfection behaviour, providing an integral overview of the hygiene status in hospitals. 

It works as follows. Disinfectant dispensers are equipped with a sensor. Employees also carry a sensor, meaning that the match between the two (a doctor or nurse disinfecting his/her hands) is recorded. Then, If a doctor or nurse comes close to a patient bed without having used the disinfector, a message is sent to the mobile device to ensure the adequate safety measures are taken.

Such safety has always been a key safety priority for hospitals – up to 90% of germs are transmitted via the hands – but due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the issue become a top priority.