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Health Spotlight: Hospital smart rooms give control to patients

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The hospital room of the future gives patients something they’ve never had before.

News 8’s Lena Pringle looked at the future of health care and the impact of smart rooms in hospitals.

More than 36 million people are admitted into U.S. hospitals each year. That’s an average of almost 100,000 people every day, and this comes as the country faces a nursing shortage. That’s where smart rooms come in. Hospitals are implementing cutting-edge technology to improve patient care and safety, while giving nurses more time to do what they are trained to do.

Matthew Edwards said, “I was a gymnast growing up and I had jumped into a foam pit that I thought was deeper. Turned out to be really shallow. I kind of over rotated and landed on my neck and fractured my vertebrae.”

Edwards’ world has been confined to a hospital room for the last few months, but his hospital room is giving him something he didn’t have before.

Dr. Jeffery Rosenbluth with Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital at the University of Utah, said, “Every single piece of control that you give back to someone who’s lost, it is really important for every aspect of their life.”

Rosenbluth and his team are behind the world’s first smart hospital rooms, where patients can control everything from the lights, the temperature, the TV, the bed, the blinds and more.

Registered nurse Damaris Zarco with the hospital said, “If I’m paralyzed and I’m going with my wheelchair up to the door, well, I can’t open the door by myself, but I can maybe talk to my device and say, ‘Hey, open the door.’”

Patients have complete control of their surroundings by using their voices, touch, breath, eye gazes, or head movements.

James Gardner with the Salt Lake City hospital said, “We can cater the app to any level of functioning.”

One study found that implementing smart room technology reduced the time nurses spent on documentation by an average of 24 minutes per shift.

Zarco said, “Patients would call just to have the blinds closed or the temperature adjusted in the room, but because they’re able to do that with the app, then it saves me a trip to the room.”

Rosenbluth said, “There are people in those rooms that are on ventilators, that can’t move a single part of their body, that are now able to operate every aspect of that room.”

Also, the Journal of Nursing Care reported that using smart room technology to automate medication dispensing reduced medication errors by 78%.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.