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Beth Israel Aims to Enhance ICU Care With $5.3M Grant

January 28, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Backed by a $5.3 million granted from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation of California, the Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) will work to use IT and patient engagement to reduce the overall risk of harm in the intensive care unit (ICU).

BIDMC officials say they will use this opportunity to define the “burden of harm” in the ICU, including the loss of dignity and respect, as it moves to a systems approach to eliminating preventable harm.  It has the goal of providing timelier, more informative, and more actionable information to intensive care patients, families and providers. The goal is to develop tools to support interventions designed to eliminate preventable harm in the ICU, officials say.

As part of this effort, a team of BIDMC clinicians and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) system scientists will develop a model for measuring and managing the leading indicators of risk for harm in the ICU, including a dashboard system to raise clinicians’ awareness of conditions that may threaten patient safety.

During the 30-month grant, BIDMC will work with its ICU providers to build upon and improve current practice with IT tools that provide nurses and physicians with the right information for the decisions immediately at hand for each patient.

Even more crucial to the provision of the appropriate care for each patient is a lack of systematic engagement of patients and families in understanding and identifying risks in ICUs, officials say. That failure may result in loss of dignity and respect, particularly when clinicians are not aware of the wishes of patients and their families in terms of how they would like to be involved and how much or how little effort is desired.

With this in mind, two key components of the project are to create checklists that will provide patient-specific information to clinicians, allowing them to make the right preventative-care decisions at the right time. The information would be available to doctors, nurses and other care providers in real-time through a provider-facing interface. A separate interface that relies on easy-to-understand language that facilitates communication between patients and families and providers in the ICU will also be developed.

Finally, the project aims to extend this level of engagement beyond a city-based academic medical center to community hospitals that often face the same challenges. With that reality in mind, select innovations will be piloted at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth.

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