Tampa General Hospital Opens New CareComm Command Center to Transform Patient Care

20 August, 2019

Tampa General Hospital Opens New CareComm Command Center to Transform Patient Care

On August 20, 2019, Tampa General Hospital officially launched a high-tech “mission control” clinical command center which uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to improve and better coordinate patient care at a lower cost.

The hospital’s new center is called CareComm and has been developed in partnership with GE Healthcare. It features 20 artificial intelligence apps, video walls with 38 large screens, 32 work stations, multiple computer systems, and a multi-disciplinary clinical team that includes doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals.

CareComm staff use these resources to predict the needs of patients and team members before they arise. With CareComm, Tampa General can anticipate potential roadblocks and issues in the care process, ensuring that rooms, equipment and medical professionals will be available for patients as soon as they’re needed.

"The center will improve quality while decreasing costs," said John Couris, President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital.

“CareComm is a huge step in our journey to become the safest and most innovative academic health system in the country,” Couris said.

“We’re grateful to our physicians, nurses, staff, and our GE Healthcare partners for helping us leverage technology to drive quality up and costs down. This means better care and lower costs for patients.”

CareComm’s temporary facility, open since December, already has helped TGH reduce the average patient’s length of stay in the hospital by about half a day. This creates a better experience for patients who are ready to leave the hospital and also allows new patients to get to their rooms sooner. Reducing such inefficiencies has saved about $10 million – savings that ultimately benefit staff and patients.

All this data and analysis is focused on one goal – providing world-class care to patients in a more efficient way.

“CareComm helps us ensure that each patient gets the best possible care right when they need it,” said Dr. Pete Chang, vice president of Care Transitions. “Because our CareComm team is focusing on smoothing each patient’s journey through the hospital, our clinical team at the bedside has more time to spend with the patient.” 

TGH doctors, nurses and administrators already work to manage the flow of patients, but it’s a complex task at a 1,007 bed academic medical center that on any given day treats people for cancer, traumatic accidents, heart attacks, infectious diseases and transplant operations.

CareComm uses the best of human ingenuity and artificial intelligence to manage this process.

Part of the reason that CareComm is working so well is because our team work elevates technology,” said Kelly Cullen, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We’ve got teams from across the hospital – from nurses to transport staff to environmental services – sharing and acting upon information in CareComm to help our team members make sure our patients get the best care.” The center uses technology developed by GE Healthcare.

“Tampa General’s focus on team, patients and innovation was apparent from our first interaction,” said Jeff Terry, CEO of Clinical Command Centers for GE Healthcare. ”It’s a terrific environment. The CareComm program includes a digital twin of TGH and a range of process improvement projects. Today is a terrific milestone for John and his team, the results are already impressive, and there’s so much innovation still ahead.”

CareComm’s features include:

  • 20 artificial intelligence apps, or “tiles,” from GE Healthcare. These tiles process hundreds of messages every minute, apply advanced analytics, and then provide decision support for CareComm staff
  • Individual “tiles” that monitor patient flow, track any delays in care, and even spot early warning signs that a patient’s health may be declining
  • 38 large screen LCDs so the tiles can be displayed with live data all the time
  • 4 of the LCDs are touch screens so staff can manipulate tiles during huddles and meetings
  • Carefully designed processes used by CareComm staff to help team members in the moment

Why are these changes important? It’s all about improving the care to patients – and improving their health outcomes.

Getting patients connected with nurses, doctors and hospital rooms at the soonest possible time often improves their care.  “We all know the earlier you treat someone, the better the outcome is, generally speaking,” Chang said.

TGH hospital began a temporary scaled-down version of CareComm in December and moved into a new 8,000 square-foot headquarters on the hospital’s main campus today.

The coordination provided by CareComm also has enabled TGH to open a new Departure Lounge to further improve patients’ experience and patient flow. Instead of waiting in their hospital room to receive their take-home medicine or for their ride home, patients are now able to go to the lounge. It has comfortable chairs, televisions, wi-fi, plus free coffee and snacks. This allows patients to wait in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere, and it also opens up hospital beds sooner for those with acute needs.

”CareComm is the kind of innovation that Tampa General stands for,” Couris said.

“Our commitment is to design a system that creates a sustainable and reproducible way to drive up the quality of care and lower of cost. We want to pass this value on to the patients, the payors, and the employers, creating a less expensive delivery model for health care in our state.”

Photos and video from Tuesday’s event will be available here: https://mediashare.tgh.org:8095/tgh_carecomm_event