Ever since it opened for businesses in 1885, Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, New York, has gone through a series of adjustments as it expanded from a clinic with just five beds to a busy modern health care facility and teaching center for doctors, surgeons, and nurses. But possibly the biggest and most difficult adjustment was made in 2007, when it merged with two other area hospitals fighting to stay alive in the changing healthcare environment. Collectively, the hospitals faced millions of dollars in losses and the management needed strong new operational systems to turn around the new 438-bed entity with 3,400 employees, now called Ellis Medicine.
“Data at our fingertips was critical to our ultimate success in delivering efficiencies across the three hospitals – in patient care, in wait times and in patient and staff satisfaction,” said Paul Milton, chief operating officer of Ellis Medicine. “Bringing together the API Healthcare and GE solutions through this acquisition will continue to help Ellis and other hospitals across the industry to maintain complete transparency while creating accountability across the entire organization, at every level.”
Ellis Medicine deployed GE’s AgileTrac system in 2010 to track both assets and patient flow, which helped Ellis tag and track IV pumps and other clinical equipment, improve workflow, and save $1.1 million over three years. The hospital also rolled out a separate workforce management system developed by API Healthcare in 2011, which allowed management and employees to track everything from staffing data and real-time nurse to patient ratios to payroll and overtime. In just one six-month period, the hospital cut overtime costs by more than 25%, or $720,000, compared to the same period prior to deploying the new systems.
The GE and API systems are such a good fit and perfectly align with GE’s Industrial Internet strategy that GE acquired API Healthcare. “Labor costs represent over 50 percent of hospital operating budgets,” said Michael Swinford, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Services. “With this acquisition, we are now able to address a significant portion of hospital operating costs – from assets to patient and labor – with a mix of software, real-time data, powerful analytics and professional services.”
Healthcare providers across the U.S. and Europe are already using GE software systems connected to the Industrial Internet to track data on beds, patients and doctors in order to help improve care delivery and reduce costs. The Industrial Internet is a digital network that links people with data, machines and software. A recent GE report found that just 1 percent in healthcare savings could yield $63 billion in efficiency gains around the world over the next 15 years. An integrated product offering, including labor productivity services as well as the management services already provided by GE, will help obtain those savings.
“Health care productivity is more important than ever for hospitals as more patients enter the system and operational costs continue to climb,” said John Dineen, president & CEO of GE Healthcare. “In addition to clinical systems, hospitals need operational management systems to drive enterprise-wide efficiencies, reduce unnecessary costs and enable improved patient care. Over the next five to seven years, we believe sales of these systems will accelerate towards double-digit growth and GE Healthcare will lead the way.”
The acquisition of API Healthcare officially closed today.