Sunday, August 1, 2010

IBM & UPMC Teaming

IBM and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) are teaming to bring “smarter” hospital rooms to patients nationwide and bring technology that will bring the right patient information to the bedside when the information is needed. The new high-tech Smart Room now features new capabilities such as a system for automatically organizing and prioritizing the work of nurses and other caregivers.

The SmartRoom solution tackles everyday problems such as simplifying the workflow and making the documentation easier so that nurses can have more quality time at the bedside,” said Michael Boroch, Chief Executive Officer of SmartRoom, a company wholly owned by UPMC and jointly funded by IBM. “It’s estimated that only 30 to 40 percent of a nurse’s time is spent on direct care and we believe that that number can be raised to benefit caregivers and their patients.”

IBM’s funding for the SmartRoom system comes from a $50 million co-development fund created by UPMC and IBM in 2005, when they entered into an eight year agreement to transform UPMC’s IT infrastructure while developing and commercializing clinical solutions.

SmartRoom capabilities are in use in 24 rooms at UPMC Montefiore in Pittsburgh. Using small ultrasound tags from Sonitor Technologies, the SmartRoom system identifies healthcare workers wearing the tags as they walk into a patient’s room displaying the person’s identity and role. This information is on a wall mounted monitor and easily visible to patients.

At the same time, the SmartRoom automatically provides the clinician with relevant, real-time patient information pulled from the electronic medical record, including allergies, vital signs, test results, and any medications that are due.

Software has been developed to help determine which tasks should be completed and in which order to most effectively and safely care for patients. Unexpected interruptions from new physician orders to lengthy discussions with a patient’s family are factored into the dynamically changing priority list.

The information shown on the caregiver’s monitor is tailored to the needs of the specific worker. A hostess who delivers meal trays, for example, will see only dietary orders and allergy information. A doctor will see different information than a nurse.

Using a simple touchscreen interface on a monitor in the patient’s room, a nurse or aide can document the completion of tasks in just a few seconds, rather than writing the information down and waiting to enter it into a computer later. SmartRoom technology provides real-time links to key clinical systems, including pharmacy and lab services. Patient email, testing schedules, education and other features, are also offered through the SmartRoom technology.

For more information, go to