Mission Critical: Focus on supporting team members so they can do what they do best–care for patients
This week is “mission critical” at TGH as we become the fourth hospital in the world and the first in Florida to open a clinical command center in partnership with GE Healthcare. TGH opened a temporary scaled-down version of this command center, in August 2018 before moving into its new 8,000 square-foot headquarters on the hospital’s main campus this week. The new command center, now termed CareComm, will use artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to improve and better coordinate patient care at a lower cost.
Leveraging this type of technology to support our team members and their work delivering quality patient care is a significant step forward in our journey to become the safest and most innovative academic health system in the country.
CareComm features a “wall of analytics” mounted with 38 computer monitors and individual programs or “tiles” (known as a capacity snapshot) which monitor patient flow, track any delays in care, and even spot early warning signs that a patient’s health may be declining. CareComm staff is comprised of multi-disciplinary clinical teams that include doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals who are using this new technology to predict the needs of patients and team members before they arise, deploying the right resources at precisely the right time.
CareComm helps to ensure that team members have access to the information and resources they need, and each patient gets the best possible care right when they need it. The center enables the staff to anticipate potential roadblocks and issues in the care process, ensuring that rooms, equipment and medical professionals will be available for patients as soon as they’re needed. For example, the group can see that post-surgery patients will soon need ICU beds and can start looking at how to expedite patients ready to transfer out of ICU to create capacity. As our CareComm team focuses on making each patient’s journey through the hospital as smooth as possible, our clinical team at the bedside can devote more one-on-one time to each patient.
When I saw the results of command centers at world-class institutions like Johns Hopkins, I knew the technology could have a significant impact on the delivery of care at TGH. In order to be the best, we must always be looking for ways to better support our team and improve care delivery, and predictive modeling does just that. With CareComm in place, we can better determine if proposed process changes will work before we implement them and allow us to monitor operations to improve efficiency and the patient experience.
TGH doctors, nurses and administrators already work to manage the flow of patients, but it’s a complex task at a 1,007 bed academic medical center that on any given day treats people for cancer, traumatic accidents, heart attacks, infectious diseases and transplant operations. CareComm uses the best of human ingenuity and artificial intelligence to manage this process. It’s taking system-driven logic and marrying it to the unique culture of the hospital.
Since opening the temporary center last year, we have already reduced the average patient’s length of stay in the hospital by over half a day. This creates a better experience for patients who are ready to leave the hospital and allows new patients to get to their rooms sooner. Reducing such inefficiencies has saved about $10 million – savings that ultimately benefit staff and patients.
The coordination provided by CareComm also has enabled us to open a new Departure Lounge to further improve patients’ experience and patient flow. Instead of waiting in their hospital room to receive their take-home medicine or for their ride home, patients are now able to go to the lounge. It has comfortable chairs, televisions, wi-fi, plus free coffee and snacks. This allows patients to wait in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere, and it also provides hospital beds sooner for those who need them.
At TGH, we remain focused on supporting our team members so that they can continue to provide world-class care to patients and CareComm allows us to do that in the most efficient way possible. We’re also continuing to drive innovations because new technologies, new methods and processes have dramatic benefits to both our patients and our team. This allows us to provide thoughtful, genuine solutions to systemic health care problems that will help change the way care is delivered in our community and region.