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Children's Hospital Association: Building the Hospitals of the Future

By Brian Busenbark

Automation, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence—once only seen in science fiction, these futuristic technologies are increasingly becoming realities. Children’s hospitals are integrating them into the fabric of their organizations to make them “smarter.”

Smart hospitals leverage technology to automate menial chores, freeing team members to work at the pinnacle of their training. They use algorithms to crunch mountains of data and predict outcomes, informing important decisions at every level of the organization. They streamline processes to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care.

There’s no definitive blueprint for building a smart hospital, but the possibilities—and potential benefits—are seemingly endless. Here are the technological journeys of three children’s hospitals in their quest to enhance the patient and employee experience, advance patient care and empower the workforce.

Navigating through space and time


The team of highly trained professionals attend to their stations in the 6,000-square-foot operations center, consuming a constant stream of data from a massive wall of charts, graphs and maps. Their mission: Ensure the people in their care get home as quickly and safely as possible. While this buzzing nerve center could be mistaken for NASA mission control, it’s actually the Patient Progression Hub at Children's Mercy Kansas City.

Children’s Mercy launched the hub in April 2023 to streamline a patient’s care from their initial referral through their discharge. Aggregating real-time data from multiple systems into one command center, the Patient Progression Hub uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to optimize patient care flow. The state-of-the-art technology provides improvements across the care cycle:

  • Data-informed staffing. AI functionality provides highly accurate census projections up to 48 hours in advance, enabling Children’s Mercy to align staffing levels with patient demand.
  • Bed management. Managing bed assignments from one central location streamlines prioritization and shortens wait times for transfers.
  • Avoiding delays. Real-time data alerts hub staff to head off potential delays across the organization, such as reducing wait times for patients in the Emergency Department or the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) who are awaiting an inpatient bed.
  • Discharge process. Up-to-the-minute patient tracking and predictive analytics help clinicians streamline the tests and procedures needed to discharge a patient, freeing up a bed for a new patient more quickly.


Read the full article via the Children's Hospital Association

Children's Mercy Kansas City Patient Progression Hub