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The smart hospital of the future

The ZHAW is working together with other universities and partners to explore how hospitals can implement the digital transformation. In total, it is involved in eight out of fifteen Innosuisse flagship projects.

Modern organisational forms, digital technologies and the networking of processes and data can transform hospitals into intelligent systems and increase both quality and efficiency. Over three and a half years, a consortium headed up by an interdisciplinary ZHAW team has been investigating how hospitals can be transformed to be fit for the future – together with four other research partners, twenty hospitals and twenty-four industry partners. Hospitals are the pivotal and, from a cost perspective, biggest players in the healthcare sector. “We thus have a particularly effective lever here and, to a certain extent, can develop a blueprint for the digital transformation of the entire healthcare sector,” explains ZHAW health economist Alfred Angerer. As a flagship project, “Smart Hospital – Integrated Framework, Tools & Solutions” (SHIFT) is being supported by Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency. The total project volume stands at CHF 5.7 million.

Host of two flagship projects

The Innosuisse Flagship Initiative supports relevant innovations for the economy and society. SHIFT is one of fifteen research projects that were approved as part of the 2021 flagship call. The ZHAW is represented in eight of the flagship projects and, in addition to heading the SHIFT study, is also hosting the “Smart Urban Multihub Concept” project, which likewise has a total project volume of CHF 5.7 million. Here, a logistics concept is to be developed that reduces freight traffic in urban areas in a sustainable manner. In achieving this goal, the ZHAW, which is working together with partners from the realms of retail, logistics and science, wants to boost the quality of life in cities. The targeted solution envisages interaction between three hubs. Starting the journey at a distribution centre located outside the city, goods from various retailers will be transported to a multi-functional transhipping centre within the city’s congestion zone either via road, rail or the “Cargo Sous Terrain” tunnel. From here, they will be distributed to several microhubs within the city districts. “At present, every lorry travels through the city once, distributing goods. With local distribution from the city centre, deliveries can be bundled much easier,” explains ZHAW mobility researcher Maike Scherrer.