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AT NYU Langone Health, Driving Forward on Technology Innovation at an Enterprise Level

September 14, 2017
by Heather Landi
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At New York City-based NYU Langone Health, healthcare senior executive leaders are leveraging technologies like intelligent automation and machine learning to improve care quality and operational efficiency while also striving to enhance the patient experience.

Paresh Shah, M.D., director of general surgery and vice chair of quality and innovation in surgery at NYU Langone Health, outlined the ways that NYU Langone is leveraging health IT, as part of New York City-based consulting firm KPMG’s Annual NY Health and Life Sciences Summit, which took place at KPMG’s Manhattan office on Tuesday. During the summit, healthcare industry thought leaders tackled the impact of disruptive technologies, such as intelligent automation and robotics, in healthcare.

NYU Langone is an academic medical center that consists of five inpatient facilities and numerous outpatient facilities throughout New York City’s five boroughs. It also was announced this week, as reported by Healthcare Informatics, that NYU Langone Health received the 2017 global Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Enterprise Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence for healthcare technology innovations that improve patient outcomes.

“What does intelligent automation and robotics mean on the front lines? What does it mean for a large academic medical center like NYU Langone Health? Two things: either we use it to do what we already do better. That can mean higher quality, reducing variability and improving speed and efficiency. Or, we use it to do something new, and that can mean a new understanding in terms of how to run the business, how to take care patients, new interventions or new management,” Shah said.

Shah, who also is a professor of surgery at the NYU Langone School of Medicine, said NYU Langone senior executive leaders have a mission to be the No. 1 medical center in the world, and the intelligent use of technology will play a critical role in fulfilling this mission. He discussed how technology will be at the core of NYU Langone Health’s campus transformation project in Manhattan, including the new Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Pavilion, an all-private-room hospital that will open in June 2018. As part of its transformation into what Shah referred to as a “truly digital hospital,” NYU Langone has invested more than $400 million in the last seven years in a variety of IT initiatives and systems across the health system.

The health system aims to leverage technology to create an integrated, seamless workflow that will optimize direct patient care time, improve staff efficiency and maximize patient safety, he said. The new facilities will incorporate technology such as a new iPhone-based tool for clinicians, called the Clinical Mobile Companion, that provides text messaging between providers and real-time telemetry monitoring for patient vitals and lab results. The new facility also will use TUG robots to deliver food and medications throughout the hospitals and the BrainLAB, an integration platform across all of the operating rooms and procedure suites.

NYU Langone also plans to implement new technologies aimed at improving the patient experience, including digitizing many of the traditional in-person or paper activities and providing patients with digital tools. The health system is implementing digital wayfinding tools throughout the hospital and the MyWall system in patient rooms, a tablet-controlled screen that provides patients with information about their care team, information about their condition as well as the ability to control lighting and climate in their rooms.

The Potential of Robotics and Big Data

NYU Langone surgeons have been performing minimally invasive robotic surgery in multiple specialty areas for more than a decade. The hospital performs more than 2,000 robotic-assisted surgeries each year, and the robotic surgeries are performed using one of seven da Vinci surgical systems. Shah noted that healthcare is currently only scratching the surface with robotic technologies. “Most robots in healthcare today perform assistive functions, it’s certainly not autonomous. The da Vinci is not a robot, it’s a very good power-operated instrument. It does assistive functions and helps to reduce variability and improve quality. We don’t have cognitive automation now, but we will,” he said.

Shah said that the robotics marketplace is expanding dramatically and the spectrum of what’s available also is expanding. “We’re going from what was historically massive, in terms of size and cost, much like the original mainframe, and we’re moving away from the mainframe and moving to surgical robotics that are modular, function-specific and lower cost, so more cost effective, easier to use and smaller,” he said.

One of the things that robotics brings into play is the world of big data, he noted. “What we just now are starting to understand is that we’ve got all these operations done with the da Vinci robot and that machine could capture everything that happened in that operation—every movement—and can tell me who is the more efficient surgeon, and show me why that surgeon is more or less efficient. We’re just now beginning to understand that we can pull that data and analyze it. Big data will be transformative in the next three to five years, as we start to get granular about how we physically do this,” he said.

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