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How to balance transformation and tradition

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / vs148)

Digital transformation is a necessity for our all our key sectors from healthcare all the way through to travel facilities, across the country modernization ensures people stay safe. One aspect putting organizations off implementing digital transformation is replacing traditional infrastructures with soulless modern buildings. This does not have to be the case. 

It’s natural to be apprehensive of change. Nostalgia, an idea that originated in ancient Greece and still resonates today, finds itself in many forms, be it stumbling upon photos of memories, revisiting a childhood home, or even reminiscing over an old village hall that has now been replaced with a supermarket.  

For many, digital transformation of current systems can bring a sense of unease; replacing traditional systems, operations and buildings with modern, high-tech alternatives can seem to come at a blistering pace and, with the focus on digitalization now larger than ever, these changes can sometimes seem overwhelming. In the healthcare industry in particular, digitalization is a welcome part of modernization, but it can sometimes come at a pace that is hard for staff to understand - as well as too demanding for the older buildings housing many of the UK’s hospitals. However, thanks to innovations in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, automation and digitalization can come to our older hospital buildings without the need for a radical overhaul of the architecture or large amounts of staff retraining. 

Evolution not revolution 

Facilities management and optimization is crucial, an aspect that has become particularly evident over the last eighteen months during the coronavirus pandemic. Be it helping to lower operational costs, easing the pressure of stretched resources and ensuring customers are kept safe; facilities management is integral in driving value from resources. Driving value from resources is particularly important in a post-pandemic world. Care and health services have been some of the hardest hit during the past 18 months and digital transformation can help these services reduce expenditure and improve the world-class service they provide.  

Utilizing digital transformation in our healthcare institutions ensures a clean, safe, secure environment for people in care and the people who are most in need. The ease of implementing and deploying IoT and sensor technologies enables the digital transformation process to be cost- and time-efficient, as well as leaving people safe in the knowledge that nothing will be taken away from the timeless architecture of some of the UK’s older hospital buildings. 

The idea of simply making do is a time-old tradition across the British Isles; now that the barrier to digital transformation has never been lower, this can be put into practice across the healthcare industry to modernize buildings without having to radically overhaul infrastructure or architecture. 

This ability to easily digitally transform healthcare institutions will solve one of the biggest problems modernizers face; an innate desire to procure the newest, shiniest toys without a real need; For example, Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham was built in 2010 for what was expected to be a cost of £670 million, with taxpayers eventually footing a bill of £2.7 billion. Modern innovations in digital transformation give healthcare facilities the opportunity to provide fantastic, modern and digitalized care without the substantial cost attributed to building entirely new facilities.

Digitally transforming facilities  

Digital transformation of healthcare facilities comes in many different forms; from empowering workforces and allowing for greater collaborating between frontline workers and management to digitalizing records providing a comprehensive system to support maintenance, cleanliness, and upkeep of facilities, each component of digital transformation can have a revolutionary impact on the way services are delivered. Layering digitalization on top of existing operations can also deliver greater cost-efficiency by firstly streamlining the systems in place and secondly making use of the facilities we already have saving hundreds of millions on developing modern facilities.  

Fully leveraging traditional travel, care, and healthcare facilities by deploying IoT technologies with ease allows the NHS, rail companies and other care organizations to concentrate limited resources on what matters most: looking after the customer. Easy deployment of IoT technologies such as sensors and real-time workflow data, empowers organizations to offer an exemplary service within buildings that already exist, no longer having to waste precious time or money on constructing modern facilities which leave our historical buildings redundant.  

Marrying modern technologies with our traditional architecture is a match made in heaven, bringing the best of both worlds together, giving a new lease of life to the architecture and more significantly offering state-of-the-art facilities to customers. Ease of implementation and deployment of these modern technologies means people can travel safely, be looked after properly, and offered the highest value of care all whilst delivering greater financial efficiency for operators.

Making buildings green 

Digitally upgrading existing hospitals and other healthcare settings provides greater cost efficiency, guarantees our facilities stay open and delivers environmental advantages over building entirely new, costly, modern venues. Improving the green credentials of older buildings is a critical part of bringing infrastructures into line with our fight against the climate emergency, the biggest challenge we currently face. Whilst traditional architecture is not renowned for its insulation or energy efficiency, IoT and automation can help to transform older venues by ensuring resources stretch further without the need for costly physical improvements.  

Whilst the construction of modern facilities may improve overall energy efficiency in these venues, the cost (both financially and environmentally) when constructing large new infrastructure projects cannot be discounted. Digitally transforming older buildings to create better energy efficiency is an important tool in the arsenal against climate emergency. 

Bringing traditional facilities up to speed with state-of-the-art technologies through digital transformation is imperative. As we enter a post-pandemic world with finances strained, marrying traditional architecture with contemporary solutions is a no-brainer. The easy implementation of IoT technologies will enable older buildings, including hospitals, to be empowered with real-time insights, connected frontline workers and a greater ability to contribute to combatting the climate emergency.

James Murphy, Head of Customer Success, Over-C

James is Head of Customer Success in Over-C and has been with the company for nearly 4 years. He specializes in the digitization of Healthcare and exploring new industry opportunities for the Over-C solution.