Increasing Efficiency & Safety in ICUs

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine www.hopkinsmedicine.org/som, and Microsoft www.microsoft.com are working to redesign the way medical devices communicate in an ICU. The two organizations are going to develop a health IT solution that collects data from different monitoring equipment and identifies key trends aimed at preventing injuries and complications in the ICU.

“Today’s intensive care patient room contains anywhere from 50 to 100 pieces of medical equipment developed by different manufacturers that rarely talk to one another,” says Peter Pronovost, Senior Vice President of Patient Safety and Quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine and Director of the Armstrong Institute.

JHU’s Armstrong Institute www.hopkinsmedicine.org/armstrong researches how to develop and use checklists to reduce infections. Their pilot program called “Project Emerge” uses technology to restructure a hospital’s workflow to eliminate the most common causes of preventable harm and to promote better patient outcomes.

Both Microsoft and Johns Hopkins plan to revamp “Project Emerge” to better serve patients in intensive care environments. Johns Hopkins will supply the clinical expertise while Microsoft will provide advanced technologies including Azure cloud platform and services as well as software development expertise.

By using Azure, information will be collected from several modern devices to provide critical analytics, computing, databases, mobility, networking, storage, and web functions. The final product will enable physicians to see trends in a patient’s care in one centralized location and let them access critical patient information from any hospital-approved Windows device. Pilot projects are estimated to begin in 2016.

In another effort to deliver effective collaborative care in the ICU, the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) http://umms.org has been operating their eCare tele-ICU care delivery model since 2013 bringing together experts in critical care and technology.

This tele-ICU program uses two-way sophisticated audiovisual equipment and smart software to provide care. The ICU is staffed 24/7 with experienced critical care nurses and data coordinators along with a board-certified critical care intensivist. The central monitoring location of the tele-ICU is the Central Operations Room and is associated with twelve other ICUs throughout the state.

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