Individuals from organizations across the country are pooling their creative minds to bring robots to the living room and real-time analytics to the bedside, all for the sake of improving patient safety – and for the SmartAmerica Challenge.

‘From Home-to-Hospital-to-Home’

18/Apr/2014

 STEP INTO THE FUTURE: Workshop participants demonstrate a robot’s role in triage.

Alone in his home an elderly man falls and is injured. A sensor records and sends the fall information to a monitoring service. Moments later, a robot enters the room, assesses the patient and sends a dispatch to the ambulance service and the hospital. Video and data – sent in advance – enable the hospital to quickly triage the patient upon his arrival. Following surgery, a context-aware system at the patient’s bedside prevents an accidental overdose of intravenous pain medication. And through an online tool the patient’s family is able to view important real time medical information from afar. This is a small glimpse into the future of closed-loop health care.

Individuals from organizations across the country are pooling their creative minds to bring robots to the living room and real-time analytics to the bedside, all for the sake of improving patient safety – and for the SmartAmerica Challenge. A Presidential Innovation Fellows project, the SmartAmerica Challenge is an initiative that connects test beds and technologies around the country to enable innovation. From March 18 to 20, the Medical Device Plug-and-Play (MD PnP) Interoperability Lab at the MGH hosted a SmartAmerica health care working group to demonstrate “Closed Loop Healthcare: From Home-to-Hospital-to-Home.”

“Our lab was initially set up to do experimentation. Over the last few months we have accelerated the way we have been developing to turn it into a test bed for collaborators,” says Julian Goldman, MD, of the MGH Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care and Pain Medicine, director of the MD PnP program, and medical director of Partners Biomedical Engineering. “SmartAmerica gave us the means to bring everyone together. We have just fix numerous things that are going to change the trajectory of our work.” Some 25 people representing five academic groups, four federal agencies, and five companies participated in the workshop – an interim step in a project that began at the White House on Dec. 12 and will conclude with a demonstration at the White House and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in June.

“We are showing that connectivity and interoperability actually improve health care and reduce costs,” said Tracy Rausch, CEO and founder of DocBox, a company that integrates devices at the point of care with data from hospital information technology systems.

The SmartAmerica demonstration used the scenario of the man falling in his home to highlight how data sharing and connectivity can improve patient safety and staff efficiency – from the time of the fall to the patient’s discharge. This is just one of many possible clinical scenarios that could be helped by closed loop solutions, said Goldman.

“We have to bridge the gap so we have access to all the data,” said Edward Ost, director of Worldwide Technology Alliances at Talend, an open integration solutions company. “We want to be able to share patient identity from enterprise systems so there is no possibility for misidentification of a patient. We want to deliver that person’s health care record to get medication information to the point-of-care health care provider.”

The Closed Loop Healthcare working group will continue to develop its demonstration for the June event at NIST and the Presidential Innovation Fellows running the SmartAmerica project will provide feedback about which aspects may be presented at the White House.

“It is really inspiring to watch the team members work together to make disparate components and test beds interoperate, to realize the amazing application scenario that can take health care to the next level,” said Presidential Innovation Fellow Sokwoo Rhee, co-leader of the SmartAmerica Challenge.

“It’s phenomenal to see what in December was a number of disjointed companies and projects come together in such a short period of time with such enthusiasm,” said Presidential Innovation Fellow Geoff Mulligan, co-leader of the SmartAmerica Challenge. “They are working on something so critical for the future of patient safety and for health care efficiencies that can affect the burgeoning health care costs. We are excited about today and what will happen in June.” 



Read more articles from the 04/18/14 Hotline issue.