How AI and High Density Storage are Changing Healthcare
You may not think of yourself as an AI (artificial intelligence) expert, but any time you do a Google search, or talk to Siri or Alexa, or call an Uber car, you’re using AI. Simply put, AI analyzes past data to make predictions about the future, customizing the output based on the history of your input. It’s changing the way we live, and it’s certainly changing the way businesses operate.
The benefits of well-designed AI are beginning to be seen in dozens of commercial applications, from facilities maintenance to logistics, marketing, and customer service. Not surprisingly, healthcare is one of AI’s primary growth areas. Britain’s National Health Service has developed a chatbot to assist patients as they seek treatment for non-critical illnesses. A London hospital has created an AI mobile app that monitors kidney patients’ conditions. A Dutch healthcare app sifts through hospital invoices to identify workflow inefficiencies and unnecessary treatments.
Many health-related AI applications, like the ones above, are focused on efficient deployment of services provided by healthcare workers. Some, however, are directed toward the physical environment of healthcare – the buildings and interior spaces where healthcare is delivered and managed. For example, AI can predict when a room will need to be painted, based on usage records, helping facilities managers plan purchases and schedule crews efficiently.
One very productive form of AI examines hospitals’ supply records over a defined time span, and forecasts quantities and timing for ordering new supplies. These predictions allow hospitals to use JIT (just in time) methods to maintain an adequate quantity of supplies without over-ordering. This in turn allows them to refit some of their storage space for other uses. The remaining storage capacity can then be maximized with space-efficient high density mobile shelving, which reduces the storage footprint by 50%.
Hospital bed usage is another area of hospital operations ripe for an AI app. Like supplies, unused hospital beds take up a lot of room that could be reassigned for patient care or administration. Analyzing past usage data lets a hospital right-size its hospital bed inventory. Bed storage can then be further reduced with vertical bed lifts that make use of floor-to-ceiling space. Like mobile shelving, these lifts use far less floor space than conventional storage racks.
There’s no doubt AI is bringing new efficiencies to enterprises of all kinds, including healthcare. Combining AI with space-saving storage systems compounds the efficiencies of both, minimizing storage areas and maximizing patient services areas – a benefit to everyone.
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