How a command center is helping Oregon hospitals share data

03 November 2020 4 min. read
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Using an integrated, real-time data sharing facility, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is helping 60 hospitals in Oregon manage bed and ventilator allocation during the Covid-19 pandemic. Providing the tech expertise is GE Healthcare Command Centers.  

Established in 2008, GE Healthcare’s Command Centers business unit offers tech solutions for caregivers globally, aiming to simplify and improve care delivery. The central principle is “real-time healthcare” – a process where vast pools of actionable data is collected and distributed to relevant professionals, where and when they need it. Controlling this integrated caregiving process via a centralized system is GE Healthcare Command Centers.

Real-time monitoring for Covid-19

When Covid-19 impacted the US in March, many worried that there were simply not enough beds or ventilators in the country to handle the sheer volume of anticipated infections. At the time, OHSU’s Mission Control team approached GE Healthcare Command Centers with the aim of using real-time analytics to track bed and ventilator vacancy across all of Oregon.

Two weeks later, 90% of all hospitals across Oregon – 60 facilities – were keyed into a shared, near real-time data center called Oregon Capacity System. More than 7,300 beds – of various types – and 800 ventilators are now being tracked by the system, and the information is refreshed every five minutes. According Jeff Terry, global CEO of GE Clinical Command Centers, this translates into more than 4 million data points per day.

How a Command Center is helping Oregon hospitals share data

All hospitals can access the system via a website, which uses a display similar to an airport arrival and departure board. The data is also segregated regionally to speed up the decision-making. Reports suggest that hospitals are using the system for a wide variety of purposes: some review it daily for emergency preparation, some use it for information on their own capacity, and others use it to consider options when reaching capacity.

Breaking down barriers

According to Terry, much about the new system deals in the extraordinary. One is the speed and complexity of the development process. Most of the 60 participating hospitals operate on different IT systems, which made digitally collating the data a tremendous challenge. “We were able to create a method to extract that data … that is fast to set up and does not include any PHI [patient health information). It's low risk, which was very important to getting the hospitals on board,” he explained.

Then there is the high degree of cooperation among hospitals. “The idea that health systems will be so transparent with their peers is revolutionary. On a day-to-day basis, big health systems are sort of 'frenemies' – they all collaborate a bit, but they also all compete a bit. The fact that everyone came together in Oregon and did this was a big deal, and it also created a North Star.”

“Oregon has a first-of-a-kind automated bed traffic control. Everybody wants that,” said Terry.

Following success in Oregon, GE Healthcare was approached by three hospitals in Florida to develop a similar system, which was implemented at the end of September.

Building the future

This is just one of several instances where GE Healthcare has been involved in pandemic response. In May, the firm teamed up with Microsoft to launch a cloud-based patient-monitoring system allowing hospitals to remotely collect data from ventilators and other machines in real time, while also creating digital medical records and lab results.

While most of these tools are being built for immediate use, experts suggest that the healthcare system of the future could grow tremendously on the back of this innovation. Better healthcare is a tremendous opportunity from an economic and humanitarian perspective, and GE Healthcare Command Centers is among the drivers of innovation in that direction.

Further details: Oregon hospitals share data, create real-time bed capacity system (HealthLeaders).