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IBM, UPMC Partner On 'Smart' Patient Rooms

July 29, 2010
by root
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Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), based in Pittsburgh, Penn., are teaming up to create high-tech "smart rooms" that feature a system for automatically organizing and prioritizing the work of nurses and other caregivers. Under a new agreement, IBM will be the exclusive sales channel for the SmartRoom solution and will help to implement the technology for customers.

First tested at UPMC Shadyside, the SmartRoom capabilities have been expanded to 24 rooms at UPMC Montefiore in Pittsburgh. Using small ultrasound tags from Sonitor Technologies, the SmartRoom system identifies health care workers wearing the tags as they walk into a patient's room, displaying the person's identity and role on a wall-mounted monitor visible to patients.

At the same time, the SmartRoom solution automatically provides the clinician with relevant, real-time patient information pulled from the electronic medical record, including allergies, vital signs, test results, and medications that are due. The information shown on the caregiver's monitor is tailored to the needs of the specific worker. A hostess who delivers meal trays, for example, will see only dietary orders and allergy information. A doctor will see different information than a nurse.

Using a simple touchscreen interface on a monitor in the patient's room, a nurse or aide can document the completion of tasks in just a few seconds, rather than writing down the information and waiting to enter it into a computer later. SmartRoom provides real-time links to key clinical systems, including pharmacy and lab services. Patient email, testing schedules, education and other features also are offered through the SmartRoom technology.

IBM's funding for SmartRoom comes from an unusual $50 million co-development fund created by UPMC and IBM in 2005, when they entered into an eight-year agreement to transform UPMC's information technology infrastructure while developing and commercializing clinical solutions. SmartRoom is the largest investment by the fund to date.


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