How AI command centers are helping hospitals harness analytics to manage operations

Cristina Carnovale (CNW Group/Humber River Hospital)

Tampa General Hospital has tapped GE Healthcare to help it build a new care coordination center that will put predictive analytics to work on an array of quality and experience improvement projects – for patients, families and staff alike – at the hospital.

The center will be powered by what GE calls its Wall of Analytics, which can process streams of real-time data from multiple sources and offer to offer alerts and suggested actions to help the hospital track patient progression, predict and prevent safety risks and manage the workload of its staff.

The aim is leverage artificial intelligence to help Tampa General synchronize its approach to care coordination, quality and safety, workflow efficiency and outcomes improvement, hospital officials say.

In the 9,000-square-foot command center, which is set to open in 2019, staff from various departments will be able to monitor data to help with initiatives such as improving patient transports, reducing patient wait times, speeding the discharge process and more.

"We want to leverage this system to improve efficiency and shorten the time patients are in the hospital by better managing their care," said Tampa General CEO John Couris in a statement. "This technology will help to reach our goal of providing coordinated patient care after they leave the hospital."

Tampa General Hospital, a 1,010-bed nonprofit academic medical center, is the most recent health system to build such a care coordination center. Other GE clients include Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Hospital and Toronto's Humber River Hospital.

"In the past, like most hospitals, we were dependent on traditional technology — phones, email and IT systems — to manage the hospital, assign beds, etc.," says Mary Margaret Jacobs, director of patient/family and visitor services for The Johns Hopkins Hospital, when its own coordination room opened in October 2016. "The Capacity Command Center brings the latest high-tech tools into a NASA-like control center here at our hospital."

In Toronto, Humber River Hospital CIO Peter Bak likened its own command center to an "air traffic control concept" – helping the health system harmonize its data to better leverage its own "clinical expertise, advanced digital infrastructure and culture of continuous improvement."

Other recent examples of AI-powered command centers include NewYork-Presbyterian's Clinical Operations Center, an off-site building that can help nurses and other staff monitor goings-on at Weill Cornell Medical Center.

"We have successfully been able to lean on highly complex automated systems that greatly decreased redundancy in tasks performed by registered nurses, doctors and other staff, reduced the number of team members physically required to monitor patients, and sizably cut down the amount of time staff spend inputting patient data," NYP Chief Technology Officer Leo Bodden told Healthcare IT News in 2017.

And at Thomas Jefferson University, a slightly more specialized command center – one aimed specifically at coordinating the many moving parts of an EHR go-live – led to big gains in cost efficiency, as Matthew Ernst, TJU's director of training, documentation and support explained earlier this year. The digital operations center "enabled a faster, more efficient implementation and saved us more than $100,000 just in the elimination of the paper conversion.”

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
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