SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – More than 36 million people are admitted into hospitals in the U.S. each year. That’s an average of almost 100,000 people each and every day. And this comes as the country faces a nursing shortage. That’s where smart rooms come in. Hospitals are now implementing cutting-edge technology to improve patient care and safety, while giving nurses more time to do what they are trained to do — helping patients.

Matthew Edwards was a gymnast growing up and had a horrific accident.

“I had jumped into a foam pit that I thought was deeper. Turned out to be really shallow. I kind of over rotated and landed on my neck and fractured my vertebrae,” he painfully recalls.

Edwards’ world has been confined to a hospital room for the last few months. But this hospital room is giving him something he didn’t have before.

Dr. Jeffrey Rosenbluth, of the Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital at the University of Utah, says, “Every single piece of control that you give back to someone who’s lost it is really important for every aspect of their life.”

Dr. Rosenbluth and his team are behind the world’s first smart hospital rooms — rooms where the patient can control everything from the lights, the temperature, the TV, the bed, the blinds, and more.

“If I’m paralyzed and I’m going with my wheelchair up to the door, well, I can’t open the door by myself, but I can maybe talk to my device and say, ‘Hey, open the door.’,” explains registered nurse of the Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital at the University of Utah, Damaris Zarco.

Patients have complete control of their surroundings by using their voice, touch, breath, eye gaze, or head movements.

James Gardner, IT manager at the same facility, says, “We can cater the app to any level of functioning.”

One study found that implementing smart room technology reduced the time nurses spent on documentation by an average of 24 minutes per shift.

Zarco adds, “Patients would call just to have the blinds closed or the temperature adjusted in the room, but because they’re able to do that with the app, then it saves me a trip to the room.”

“There are people in those rooms that are on ventilators that can’t move a single part of their body, that are now able to operate every aspect of that room,” Dr. Rosenbluth emphasizes.

The Journal of Nursing Care reports that using smart room technology to automate medication dispensing reduced medication errors by 78 percent.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.

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