Mayo, Philips Collaborate On Cloud-Based ICU Alerts

Government grant will support 3-year study involving four hospitals across country. Researchers will look at information overload, best practices in ICU.

Ken Terry, Contributor

December 21, 2012

4 Min Read

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Mayo Clinic and Philips Research North America are working with a consortium of hospitals to develop a cloud-based infrastructure that will help improve care and prevent errors in intensive care units. The effort will build on Mayo Clinic's Ambient Warning and Response Evaluation application.

The Center for Medicare and Medication Innovation (CMMI) has awarded a $16 million grant for a three-year study of this approach to Mayo Clinic in collaboration with Philips and the United States Critical Illness and Injury Trials Group, a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The trials group will design and supervise the study.

The four healthcare systems that will participate in the study with about 10,000 Medicare and Medicaid patients have not yet been confirmed, said a Philips spokeswoman. Between 10 and 20 hospitals and health systems will aid in the development of the technology, said Patricia Katzman, director of interoperability and CDS global marketing strategy for Philips Healthcare, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare.

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Information overload among ICU providers is the main problem the cloud-based clinical decision support system will address. Studies have shown that 27% of Medicare patients in ICUs face preventable treatment errors due to this overload, a Philips press release said. The clinical decision support system will include a secure, bidirectional connection to the cloud platform, where the data will be analyzed, interpreted and sent back to the facilities' care teams to be displayed and mobilized for alerts.

Mayo Clinic has used its alerting application locally in some of its hospitals with good results, Katzman noted. "It provides key information to ICU clinicians in a much more digestible way," allowing them to make better decisions at the point of care, she said.

The cloud-based system will offer additional advantages, she said, because "it allows you to share information across different enterprises. The idea is to share data across different enterprises in different states. It's much more efficient to do that in the cloud."

The pooling of information across facilities, she continued, can help hospitals learn which types of treatment work best for particular conditions and situations in the ICU. "When you have enough data on a number of different patients with similar conditions and you analyze the best course of treatment, that becomes much more refined and more accurate than if you just look at the patients you have in one facility," she said.

In building the system, Philips will use its Intellibridge Enterprise system to acquire, aggregate and normalize the data coming from many different kinds of ICU monitoring systems. The company also will draw on a critical care application that it designed for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Katzman said. But parts of this system will have to be engineered from scratch, she said.

Over the three-year period, the study collaborators will train 1,440 ICU caregivers in the four hospital systems to use the new system to manage ICU care. CMMI estimates that this project will save more than $80 million while creating new health care jobs, the announcement said.

If the study shows that the clinical decision support system improves patient outcomes, it might be offered to other healthcare organizations, although no decision has been made on that yet, Katzman said.

According to the release, "Expansion of the [clinical decision support] system is also allowed, as additional applications can be deployed when technology evolves. Through secure encryption channels, ensuring both patient privacy protection and mobile delivery of data, the system is expected to support this cloud-based delivery model in any ICU in the U.S., or around the world."

Clinical, patient engagement, and consumer apps promise to re-energize healthcare. Also in the new, all-digital Mobile Power issue of InformationWeek Healthcare: Comparative effectiveness research taps the IT toolbox to compare treatments to determine which ones are most effective. (Free registration required.)

About the Author(s)

Ken Terry


Ken Terry is a freelance healthcare writer, specializing in health IT. A former technology editor of Medical Economics Magazine, he is also the author of the book Rx For Healthcare Reform.

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