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GE Healthcare and Summerville Medical Center Hail AgileTrac Success

GE Healthcare and HCA’s Summerville Medical Center have announced the successful completion of a one-year pilot program in which real-time analytics are used to collate data that tracks hand hygiene compliance.

The collaboration is a concerted effort by the two parties to halt the spread of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) that have been on the rise not only in the U.S. but worldwide. In the U.S. HAIs have resulted in 99,000 deaths each year* and cost $3-4 billion in healthcare costs.** In addition, it has been estimated that between 20-40 percent of HAIs are transmitted to patients from hospital employees.*** Proper hand hygiene has been identified as one of the easiest and most effective ways in preventing these infections.

The program began in the spring of 2012 and was first rolled out in the Summerville Medical Center ICU and then expanded to its medical surgery units and the ER. 

By expanding GE Healthcare’s AgileTrac RTLS reach with sensor tags, Summerville Medical Center was able to create a detailed record of each patient’s experience by accurately recording, measuring and reporting hand washing—all without affecting the existing workflow. Each caregiver wears a badge that counts room entries and exits as well as the use of soap or sanitizer dispensers. The data collected from the system is used to model and characterize clinician-patient interactions, providing detailed data to help monitor and modify behavior. This automated system can collect up to 5,000 data points a day vs. 700 per year with previous manual observation. 

“There is no better way for GE to meet our customers’ demands for efficiency and productivity than to provide technology and solutions that can help predict and prevent problems and get the right information to the right people at the right time,” said Fran Dirksmeier, General Manager, Global Asset Management, GE Healthcare. “Our collaboration with Summerville has been invaluable as we look to tackle one of healthcare’s toughest challenges in a data driven way.”

Summerville Medical Center, based in South Carolina was selected to pilot the program because of the hospital’s long-standing relationship with GE Healthcare. 

As a result, Summerville became the first hospital to trial this hand hygiene compliance program. Following positive initial findings, Summerville has now paved the way to extend the program to Summerville’s sister hospital, Trident Medical Center.

“Our innovative culture prompted us to expand our current relationship with GE and tackle hospital acquired infections through the tracking of hand hygiene compliance,” said Louis Caputo, CEO, Summerville Medical Center. “The greatest value of this technology has proven to be the data – the fact you can look at individual workflows and departments and make changes accordingly. It’s a constant reminder to put the patient first.”

The success of GE Healthcare's AgileTrac lies in its real-time, holistic view of how hospital resources are working, at any point in time, to care for a patient. By communicating with the hospital's clinical and business systems, such as the electronic medical record (EMR) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, the operational platform can track the physical location of each patient, asset, and staff member. Certainly in Summerville’s case, the biggest benefit of this solution has been the detailed data that is generated from the solution to be able to look at specific areas or departments.

The AgileTrac technology and the accumulation and analysis of data tap into GE Healthcare’s exploration into the possibilities of the Industrial Internet—an open global network that connects machines, people and data to remove $150B in waste from major industries like Healthcare.

Healthcare is a prime sector for Industrial Internet adoption due to the strong imperatives to reduce costs and improve performance; and the range of applications in global healthcare is as large as the potential to enable safe, efficient operations and improve productivity. GE estimates that a 1 percent reduction in system inefficiencies globally could lead to $63 billion in savings over fifteen years.**** This vision would connect physicians, health facilities and machines to drive higher quality service and improve productivity.



* – Estimating Health Care-Associated Infections and Deaths in U.S. Hospitals, 2002. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public Health Reports / March–April 2007 / Volume 122.
** – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2007.
*** – Weber DJ et al. Role of hospital surfaces in the transmission of emerging health care-associated pathogens: norovirus, Clostridium difficile, and Acinetobacter species. Am J Infect Control. 2010 Jun;38(5 Suppl 1):S25-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2010.04.196.
**** – Industrial Internet: Pushing the Boundaries of Minds and Machines. Peter C. Evans and Marco Annunziata