Fast-moving demographics (longer life expectancy) and sociological changes (urbanization and more sedentary lifestyles) are requiring hospitals to engage in an ongoing process of transformation and adaptation to address new healthcare needs and the emergence of new methods and technologies.
The French definition of a hospital translates as "a public or private institution for the admission of all patients for treatment"1. It is rapidly evolving towards being: a modern complex in which seriously ill patients are treated at high speed with highly technical equipment and by skilled specialist staff2.
Healthcare is a major social challenge for most countries in the world. Successfully delivering and funding continuous safe, high-quality care requires hospitals to address three new realities:
Ever-increasing expectations of performance and quality: the continual quest for efficiency is intended to improve care quality by simultaneously reducing risks and costs3. Now better-informed patients are demanding more and more in terms of the information and care they receive.
More than 1.4 million people around the world suffer as a result of infectious complications contracted in hospital
Population aging and the rise in chronic diseases5: the aging demographic brings with it a relentlessly increasing number of people with multiple conditions, some of them chronic, which inevitably add to the amount and cost of treatment they require. This new population of elderly patients increases the emergence rate of acute illness and surgical risk, making the process of caring for these patients more complex at every stage of their hospital stay.
Combating nosocomial infections and multi-resistant bacteria: more than 1.4 million people around the world suffer as a result of infectious complications contracted in hospital3. Combating nosocomial infections is now a significant public health challenge and a priority target for hospitals. It requires the introduction of preventive hygiene procedures that everyone complies with.
We are now seeing the development of '4Ps' healthcare4-5. This structured approach enables the delivery of personalized care using targeted therapies specific to an individually identified patient.
Personalized medicine offers therapies based on an individual patient's genetic profile, medical history and environmental factors
Predictive medicine evaluates the likelihood of each patient developing certain diseases at various points in the future
Preventive medicine evolves towards methods and treatments that reduce the risk of individual patients developing certain diseases
Participatory medicine puts patients in the position of taking informed decisions and accepting responsibility for their own health management
New technologies for personalized medicine4-5
The mapping of the human genome, genetic data management, non-invasive and computer-aided diagnosis and therapy, smart systems that provide remote patient care, etc. Most frequently developed and based in hospitals, these patient-centric technologies enable the delivery of tailormade, efficient, effective and affordable care.
The evolving status and role of hospitals in the healthcare system
The hospital is one part of an overall patient care network. As a center delivering efficient short-term therapy, the hospital is a crucial stage on the patient healthcare pathway. It works in partnership with healthcare services to achieve shared diagnostic, re-education or rehabilitation goals.
As an essential part of a new healthcare ecosystem, the hospital is focused on the long-term future of the patient.
As a short-term stage on the patient healthcare pathway, the hospital develops the practice of transferring certain skills, and has a role to play in implementing some types of home care. Organized when the patient leaves hospital, these types of home care reduce the cost of care provision, at the same time as improving patient quality of life.
Educating patients about their therapy
Hospitals are now reorganizing themselves to put patients back at the heart of the care system. This proactive approach requires professionals to work closely together in order to structure medical services and partnerships based on respect for the wishes of the patient and his/her family.
This new vision of patient care also includes educating patients about their therapy and encouraging them to accept responsibility for managing their own illnesses.
As an important contributor to hospital care provision, Air Liquide Healthcare provides products and services to more than 7,500 hospitals and clinics worldwide.
Our technical expertise and our commitment to comply with the most stringent quality and safety standards allow us to support healthcare professionals at every stage of the care pathway – whether in hospitals or at home – in ways that help them improve the quality of life enjoyed by their patients.