GE Healthcare 'smart patient room' pilot begins; promises real-time monitoring

GE's Smart Patient Room promises to help tired doctors and nurses avoid mistakes by monitoring their actions in real time.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

GE Healthcare announced on Wednesday that its "Smart Patient Room" pilot at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, N.Y. has been cleared to begin collecting data.

The program applies technology to the hospital room, integrating technology to provide staff with real-time monitoring of clinicians' work to improve safety in the harried, exhausting atmosphere of a working hospital.

The top safety issue in hospitals today: medical error. According to the Institute of Medicine, medical error is the eighth leading cause of death in the U. S., accounting for an estimated 44,000 to 100,000 preventable deaths per year.

The system is designed to track staff adherence to protocol, such as washing hands, consistent clinical rounds, and monitoring to ensure that a patient doesn't fall. (Frighteningly, falls cost the U.S. healthcare system $1 billion annually, according to the American Hospital Association.)

The Smart Patient Room collects real-time information, then generates insights to help clinicians manage their workflow. The goal: determine what process and behavioral changes can create a safer patient environment.

The first step is moving from the lab to the real world. GE hopes to learn how well its technology works at Bassett, a 180-bed, acute care inpatient teaching facility.

The announcement was made in conjunction with two other "healthymagination" projects, which I'll detail briefly below:

  • One project has researchers working to develop point-of-care diagnostic tests for quick diagnosis of Tuberculosis in the field.
  • A second project has researchers developing a new imaging platform for the operating room intended to help surgeons better visualize cancerous tissue they are trying to safely remove.

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