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Extremely Cool (And Useful!) Technology on Display

February 21, 2011
by Mark Hagland
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Meeting with Dave Sharbaugh and Michael Boroch in the IBM Booth Monday morning was like taking a tour of the optimized patient care delivery future, or at least of one “room” in that future. Boroch, the CEO, and Sharbaugh, the president and founder of SmartRoom™, demoed for me what they’ve been working on at UPMC (the 20-hospital University of Pittsburgh Medical Center health system). I had actually seen some elements of this two-and-a-half years ago onsite at UPMC-South Side, in their test facility; but things have progressed considerably since then, and in fact, SmartRoom is being launched as a commercialized company, based on the successes the SmartRoom developers have achieved at UPMC.

Here’s one marquee stat: nurses at UPMC-Montefiore Hospital, where SmartRoom is live in 96 of that facility’s 244 beds, have reduced by 60 percent the amount of time it takes them to complete the documentation of a host of routine tasks, such as vital signs, activities of daily living “I&Os” (intake and output stats), and the completion of physician orders in the EMR.

There are numerous elements of SmartRoom, including an electronic whiteboard, which is live at UPMC-Mercy, another UPMC facility, and “smart” elements of hospital beds and actual patient rooms. But what Sharbaugh and Boroch walked me through in detail in the IBM Booth (3763) today was the simplified, in-room nursing documentation capability of the SmartRoom solution. It’s really quite amazing, and reinforced for me once again that it is the really smart (pun intended) provider leaders who will always come up with solutions that actually benefit clinicians in their daily work-lives.

A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, so if you’re at HIMSS this week, you should stop by for a walk-through of SmartRoom. At a time when clinicians are ever more dramatically pressed for time, making improvements such as those that Sharbaugh, Boroch, and their colleagues have made will be more and more important for all of us in healthcare, not to mention patients and their families. This solution even tracks and documents clinicians’ hand-sanitizing. Amazing stuff. And not surprising, given UPMC’s unmatched record of IT innovation in recent years.