US project looking at the development of "smart patient rooms" in hospitals.

THINK of the future of medical technology and the image of hand-held scanners from the world of Star Trek might come to mind – machines able to diagnose anything in a few moments.

But Star Trek did not show the practicalities of health care in the future. There was no washing of hands and no guard rails on beds to prevent falls – very much still issues in Scottish hospitals and elsewhere. The question now being asked is: how far can technology actually go in caring for patients?

A new project in the United States is looking to develop so-called “smart patient rooms”, creating a constantly monitored and assessed treatment space to ensure patient safety and maximum efficiency.

GE Healthcare, the firm behind the project along with Bassett Healthcare, argues the technology will help reduce infections and falls, and thereby keep hospital beds from being taken up by repeat treatments.

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