ICU: Innovations are leading to better patient outcomes

ICU: Innovations are leading to better patient outcomes

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | December 17, 2015
Siemens SOMATOM Scope
From the December 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

A typical patient room in an intensive care unit (ICU) is filled with anywhere from 50 to 100 pieces of medical equipment that are manufactured by different companies and rarely communicate with each other. That’s becoming an issue now that health reform is demanding better outcomes and lower costs. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine announced plans in late October to redesign how medical devices in the ICU communicate. Companies will work to develop a health IT solution that gathers data from different monitoring equipment and identifies important trends that can help physicians prevent injuries and complications.

Johns Hopkins will provide the clinical expertise and Microsoft will provide technologies including its Azure cloud platform and services and software development expertise. Azure works by collecting and integrating data from different devices and providing critical analytics, computing, database, mobility, networking, storage and Web functions.

Microsoft will also help Johns Hopkins improve its Project Emerge, which aims to redesign the ICU workflow, culture and technology by bringing together clinicians, systems engineers, bioethicists, human factors specialists, patients and their families. The project revolves around a tablet application that coordinates and integrates all data from monitoring equipment and information systems.

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The tablet app also includes a harms monitor that keeps track of hundreds of tasks for each patient and categorizes them into seven sections. It monitors which preventive tasks were performed and alerts ICU staff to situations when patients might be at risk. Johns Hopkins and Microsoft are planning on starting pilot projects in 2016.

Cerner Corporation has also done work to enable the devices in the ICU to communicate with its CareAware Critical Care solution, which automates the whole ICU including data from medical devices and patient records. It’s a vender-neutral technology that enables interoperability among medical devices, health care applications and EMR platforms and then aggregates the data so that it can be displayed in a single view.

In August, Cerner and Hospira announced an agreement to advance the integration of IV and EMR technology. Through the agreement, Hospira will connect its infusion pumps to the EMR at the point of care and add functionality for devices connecting to CareAware.

Remote ICU monitoring

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