The Hospital of the Future: Palomar Medical Center

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Palomar Medical Center (PMC) is one of the most technologically-advanced hospitals in the United States. The new $956 million USD hospital officially opened its doors in August 2012. The innovative facility has been dubbed by PMC officials and others as “The Hospital of the Future.”

Palomar Medical Center

According to Orlando Portale, PMC’s chief innovation officer [1]:

We used a lot of evidence-based design principles to improve the patient experience and the staff experience. It is a radical departure in design.

For example, the 740,000-square-foot, 288-bed hospital has done away with traditional nurse stations. Instead, there are nurse stations outside of patient rooms, where they can do charting while keeping on eye on the patient. Staff are equipped with phones that run over the Internet, allowing them to get real-time patient information.

Additional innovations aimed at improving patient care include:

  • Patient wrist-worn devices that measure vital signs and allow for continuous and remote wireless monitoring
  • Infrared technology that illuminates faucets when someone enters a patient room, reminding them to wash their hands
  • Hydraulic lifts built into the ceiling to help staff with heavier patients
  • Standardized designs so the equipment is located in the same place in every room

Palomar Health Chief Nurse Executive Lorie Shoemaker said [2]:

Patients being awakened from much needed sleep to have their vital signs taken will become a thing of the past. Rather than checking vital signs every several hours, our participating clinicians will be able to obtain continuous measurements without disturbing the patient, and receive instant alerts if a patient’s condition begins to deteriorate. At the bedside, they can simply tap the ViSi Mobile monitor for an instant reading of heart rate and pulse, or they can check from a remote viewing device.

Palomar Medical Center (PMC) was featured recently in a new Bloomberg TV series called BRINK, which focuses on emerging innovators and their cutting-edge technologies that are transforming industries such as health care. Check out the video below.

Technologies that were taped for the show include: the ViSi Mobile System, a wrist-worn patient vital sign device; SafeMatch, a biometric iris identification system; RIVA, a compounding robot that prepares intravenous medications; and Xenex, a robot that disinfects hospital rooms using ultra-violet light.


  1. Now Open, the Hospital of the Future. Palomar Medical Center. 2012 Aug 30.
  2. Palomar Medical Center is first in nation to use wrist-worn patient vital signs device. Palomar Medical Center. 2013 Feb 25.
About the Author

Walter Jessen is Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH Tech. He's also a senior writer at Highlight HEALTH Tech.