Air traffic control-like, multiple screen “command centers,” are proving to be very effective tools for a small handful of busy hospitals to improve workflow efficiency, reduce wait times, allocate resources, and better orchestrate complex patient care and treatment. The new systems combine artificial and human intelligence to analyze real-time data from machines, devices and electronic medical records. Data is continuously streamed to a wall of screens in the command center, monitored by a small staff, and to computer tablets and mobile devices across the hospital. The result is increased transparency on activity throughout the hospital, which enables staff to anticipate bottlenecks, predict risk, and recommend actions which boost operational efficiency and save considerable time, resources and money.
In October, The Bradford Royal Infirmary, a U.K. National Health Service teaching hospital, announced it had contracted GE Healthcare to build the first such facility in Europe, expected to open in Spring 2019. The 800-bed hospital has experienced a 40% increase in patients over the past 10 years, and currently serves about 350 to 400 patients per day. The new facility is seeking to improve the efficiency of hospital operations so that the hospital can keep providing high quality care as patient volume continues to rise.
Such command centers have already been successfully implemented at The Johns Hopkins Hospital (since 2016), Humber River Hospital in Toronto, Canada (December 2017), and Yale New Haven Hospital (January 2018). Plans for similar centers have also been announced this year by Florida Hospital in Orlando, Tampa General Hospital, and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
The improvements and savings realized by these systems appear to be real. The Johns Hopkins Hospital has already reported that patients are being transferred from other facilities 60% faster, emergency room wait times have been cut by 25%, and the time spent by patients waiting for a post-surgical bed has decreased by 70%. Similar gains in efficiency reported by the Humber River Hospital since opening its command center translate to an equivalent of 23 additional beds without the need for new infrastructure, and a cost savings of $65 million (Canadian).