The Smart Hospital initiative builds on the Safe Hospital Initiative and focuses on improving hospitals' resilience, strengthening structural and operational aspects and providing green technologies. Energy improvements include solar panels installations, electric storage batteries, and low-consumption electrical systems, which, in addition to reducing energy consumption, reduce health sector carbon footprint in the environment and provide the hospital with energy autonomy, allowing it to continue running during emergencies and disasters.
Smart Hospitals have already shown their cost-effectiveness and resilience to disasters. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Georgetown Hospital (benefiting from the intervention of a Smart hospital) was the only one that remained functional after a severe storm-affected 39 clinics and the reference hospital (Milton Cato Hospital). In addition, this hospital became a water supply center for the community after the storm, using rainwater reserves.
Although the Smart Hospital concept has not been implemented in Latin America, countries of the Region are aware of the Safe Hospital initiative, as well as the Hospital Safety Index, which is widely disseminated around the world.
SMART HOSPITALS MUST HAVE
- Sound Roof & Foundation
- Improved Security & Signage
- Secured Equipment & Fuel Storage
- Protected & Efficient Doors and Windows
- Good Drainage
- Back-up Power
- Water Reserve
- Disaster Management Plans
- Comprehensive Maintenance Planning
- Disability Access
- Reduced Downtime
- Resilient Structure
- Reduced Operating Cost
- Improved Safety
- Satisfied Patients and Staff
- Environmentally Sound Operations
- Improved emergency care and services for the community
ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND (green)
- Water Efficiency
- Waste Minimization & Management
- Pollution Reduction
- Rain Water Harvesting
- Alternative Power Using Renewable Energy
- Efficient Lighting & Cooling
- Improved Indoor Air Quality
Project Smart Health Care Facilities in the Caribbean
Natural hazards and climatic extremes, like hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and storm surge can cause significant disruption of health services and economic losses. Downtime, during and after an extreme event, limits the ability of health facilities to provide emergency care to victims and ongoing healthcare for their communities.
Many health facilities in the Caribbean are in areas of high risk and need strengthening in the face of repeated damage or increasing climate threats. Health care facilities can also be large consumers of energy, with a significant environmental footprint. With energy prices in the Caribbean among the highest in the world, savings could be better used on improving services.
The 'Smart Health Care Facilities in the Caribbean' project, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) was implemented by PAHO/WHO in partnership with the Ministries of Health in target countries. A regional building code annex, guideline and toolkit for retrofitting existing or new facilities were developed and tested in two countries. The toolkit provides a step-by-step guide and includes the Hospital Safety Index (HSI), Baseline Assessment Tool (BAT), and Green Checklist and utilizes cost-benefit analysis to support investment decision making. Scale-up of the project, also supported by DFID, is being implemented in seven Caribbean countries: Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The purpose of this project will be to provide safer, greener health facilities to deliver care in disasters. The results expected from this project are mentioned below:
- The first output: healthcare facilities will be assessed for disaster safety, water and energy consumption. This will provide a roadmap for risk reduction investment as well as green measures and be incorporated into the national risk exposure database of each country.
- The second output: standards will be implemented in selected health care facilities in Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
- The third output: national and regional capacity will be developed to promote climate-smart health facility standards. This includes health workers and users of facilities; other sectors and climate change platforms or programs; technical stakeholders (construction, engineering; architects etc.) and media.