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Connecting Caregivers with Brilliant Machines: How Big Data Can Help

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Increase the number of hospital beds and keep the same number of scanning equipment, all while maintaining high quality care for patients. That was the challenge Houston Methodist Hospital in Sugar Land, Texas faced in the wake of rapid expansion.

The reality is that several hospitals and health systems face similar challenges as increasing cost pressures, consolidation, staff shortages, and asset optimization issues continue to affect the healthcare industry in the U.S. Healthcare providers are increasingly looking at big data and analytics to help combat some of these challenges and usher in improved operational and financial outcomes to drive better patient care.

How can hospitals reduce exam time and length of stay? What are the educational opportunities that clinicians can learn from to address inefficiencies in the care delivery process? The Industrial Internet uses technology and data to create smarter systems, and in healthcare, it helps by connecting caregivers with brilliant machines that provide more accurate information and enable them to spend less time navigating the system and more time caring for patients.

Houston Methodist uses analytics to reduce wait times and improve patient care

Houston Methodist Sugar Land hospital was in the midst of adding 104 beds (bringing their total bed count to 339) and only had 4 MRI scanners to support the expected growth of patients. The hospital deployed a pilot of GE Healthcare’s MR Performance Excellence solution, which combines the collection of MR (magnetic resonance) machine data with targeted education and workflow design to help reduce bottlenecks impacting patient wait and exam times. This solution helped the department reduce 1 hour time slots to 50 minutes, reducing exam durations by an average of 10% and gaining over 2250 slots per year for MRI exams.

“By using Sugar Land’s machine data and combining this with observational research, we were able to show exactly what was happening in their day to day operation,” said Tammy Merisotis, GE Healthcare Clinical Workflow Solutions and Consulting Leader. “Being able to identify which exam types and operators that needed educational intervention was very powerful for the healthcare provider as well. We could get the right help to address the right issues the first time.”

By breaking down silos, using machine data, and implementing effective training and decision-making procedures, Houston Methodist was able to standardize workflow, making it easier for technologists to provide better patient care.

Hospitals are collecting a great deal of information and insights and have the potential to generate even more in the future with new technology, optimized assets and improved operational outcomes. When aggregated and analyzed, big data can help drive more informed decisions, harnessing the power of the Industrial Internet to drive better results and ultimately improve patient care.

“There’s so much information in our machine data that’s not captured anywhere else,” continued Merisotis. “Where we once used this data just to predict uptime and track service, we can now re-purpose the data to help healthcare providers drive measurable outcomes that impact care delivery.” Therein lays the power of the Industrial Internet.

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