Digital Medicine

COMMENTARY
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 138--140

Hospitals of the future as economic development hubs Guiqian International General Hospital Launch


David John Wortley 
 International Society of Digital Medicine (ISDM Europe), The Old Barn, Pury Road, Alderton, Northants, NN12 7LN, UK

Correspondence Address:
David John Wortley
The Old Barn, Pury Road, Alderton, Northants, NN12 7LN, England
UK

Abstract

This commentary reflects on the launch of the new, state-of-the-art, mixed-ownership Guiqian International General Hospital in Guiyang and explores its potential as a template for digitally enabled hospitals of the future and economic development hubs.



How to cite this article:
Wortley DJ. Hospitals of the future as economic development hubs Guiqian International General Hospital Launch.Digit Med 2019;5:138-140


How to cite this URL:
Wortley DJ. Hospitals of the future as economic development hubs Guiqian International General Hospital Launch. Digit Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Jul 11 ];5:138-140
Available from: http://www.digitmedicine.com/text.asp?2019/5/4/138/282369


Full Text



 Introduction and Background



The World Health Organization (WHO) constitution preamble drafted in 1946 and ratified in 1948 included a definition for health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”[1] According to Professor Harry Burns, former Chief Medical Officer, the UK National Health Service has failed, along with many other public health services, to adopt this definition as a mantra by focusing on “the absence of disease or infirmity” rather than a more holistic approach of “physical, mental and social well-being.”[2] One of the consequences of this approach to public health is that hospitals are seen as a growing cost burden on society, and public finances are used primarily to treat sickness and disease rather than promote good physical and mental health.

The WHO constitution goes on to state “governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.” The question posed in this commentary is whether digitally enabled hospitals of the future can/should adopt a creative new approach to public health by viewing hospitals as community social and economic development hubs capable of making a positive contribution to the health and well-being of its locality.

 Impact of Technology Investment



Guiqian International General Hospital (GIGH) has invested substantially in some of the latest medical technologies available, making use of digital technologies for rapid diagnostics, robotics, medical records, patient assistance, education and training, and surgical procedures. [Figure 1] shows a hospital banner with some examples of technologies used at GIGH. This investment should not only help to ensure high-quality patient care but also establish GIGH's reputation as an advanced and innovative center of excellence for clinical care which, in turn, is an attraction for high-quality clinical staff who want to work at the cutting-edge technology.{Figure 1}

GIGH Technologies such as the Siemens Aptio automated sample analyzer [Figure 2] are designed to improve not only the productivity of laboratory staff but also the accuracy and level of service given to patients. Throughout the hospital, there are many examples of digital technologies that are innovative and supportive of the patient experience.{Figure 2}

 Personalised and Preventative Healthcare



According to the precision medicine initiative, precision medicine is “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.”[3]

Digital technologies, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, genomics, and phenomics were featured topics in the afternoon presentations to the GIGH medical staff. Dr. Alan Bittles [Figure 3], Emeritus Professor of Community Genetics at Edith Cowan University, gave a very insightful presentation on precision medicine, rare diseases, and community genetics, highlighting the potential of precision medicine and genetics for substantial improvements in the cost-effectiveness of health care, especially for rare diseases. GIGH will be well positioned to use these technologies in its public health strategies with a focus on preventative health care.{Figure 3}

 Guiqian International General Hospital as a Template for Hospitals of the Future



The launch of GIGH [Figure 4] was a remarkable conclusion to a substantial achievement within a very short timescale and a credit to the leadership and management of GIGH President Shaoxiang Zhang. There are many hospitals around the world that have established themselves as leaders in their field and become icons of excellence. Hospitals such as Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children[4] in the UK and the Mayo Clinic[5] in the USA have well-established reputations which have been built up over many decades. GIGH is a new enterprise seeking to apply models of best practice from other hospitals in China and from around the world, combining clinical practice with research and high-quality medical education. GIGH benefits from being essentially a “greenfield” situation located in an attractive environment with substantial investment and high-caliber, experienced staff.{Figure 4}

The medical tourism market was said to be worth $40 billion in 2016 with an annual growth rate of 15% year-on-year.[6] The combination of investment, strong leadership, patient-centric approach, location, and growth potential places GIGH in a strong position to establish itself as a hub for economic growth in Southwest China and a potential model of best practice for new digitally enabled hospitals.

For the existing hospitals, often located in areas of dense population and burdened with modern health challenges such as the aging society and lifestyle-related chronic medical conditions, such opportunities to act as an economic hub are likely to be limited. However, as indicated at the beginning of this commentary, there should be much medical, social, and economic merit in revising public health strategies to focus on the holistic health and well-being of the population as opposed to simply the absence of sickness.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1World Health Organization; 2019. Available from: https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/constitution. [Last accessed 2019 Dec 04].
2Burns H. Make the NHS a Well-being Service, not a Sickness Service; 19 March, 2015. Available from: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27197-make-the-nhs-a-well-being-service-not-sickness-service/. [Last accessed 2019 Dec 04].
3NIH What is Precision Medicine? US National Library of Medicine; 12 November, 2019. Available from: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/precisionmedicine/definition. [Last accessed 2019 Dec 04].
4Great Ormond Street Hospital Our Hospital Site; 2019. Available from: https://www.gosh.nhs.uk/. [Last accessed 2019 Dec 04].
5Wikipedia Mayo Clinic; 1 December, 2019. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayo_Clinic. [Last accessed 2019 Dec 04].
6Murphy B. 4 Quick Facts on the Medical Tourism Market Becker's Hospital CFO Report; 2019. Available from: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/4-quick-facts-on-the-medical-tourism-market.html. [Last accessed 2019 Dec 04].