GE's Unique Approach to Clinical Command Centers
31 January, 2019
Reading through healthcare magazines and websites, you may notice quite a few firms are talking about Command Centers.
More firms than ever before presented their versions at Arab Health, and you probably see the same on LinkedIn and Twitter. You may also know that GE Healthcare is building clinical command centers supporting dozens of hospitals in three countries with more starting each month.
So How is GE's Approach Different?
GE Healthcare’s approach to Clinical Command Centers is agnostic and unique, and we view other firms as current or future partners rather than competitors. We believe there is virtually no overlap between our technology and theirs, and that by working together we can make a bigger impact for providers.
Command Center Landscape, January 2019
What’s different about GE Healthcare?
Our capability is unique in both technology and method. The technology is unique because our platform, Wall of Analytics, is scalable and agnostic (taking data from all sources), and delivers apps that are Real Time, actionable, and create new information with AI. The method is unique because we deliver a holistic transformation. By holistic we mean physical space programming, new role creation, rules-based protocols, data integration, platform and apps, video wall, change, and activation. By transformation we mean that by engaging hundreds of staff in problem-back design and implementation, we not only ensure that staff understand and embrace their Clinical Command Center as an asset rather than a hindrance, but also that we help to achieve a more integrated culture. This approach has evolved through experience and so far has delivered breakthrough sustainable outcomes.
KLAS’s December 2018 report on “Operational Command Centers,” their first report on the topic, may be accessed here. It correctly captures some key points, but misses on a few others.
- Key point: Page 4 correctly notes that GE Healthcare’s technology approach is unique in that we combine streaming data from multiple systems.
- Key miss: The title of the report, Operational, is limiting. The scope of our Clinical Command Centers already extends into quality, safety, and other more clinical topics. We believe this scalability is essential for a great Clinical Command Center or "Mission Control," as some clients refer to their Command Centers.
Frost & Sullivan Award
This was an unsolicited award and came as a surprise when the firm called to notify us of the award. They found that "unlike competing command centers that serve specific objectives, GE Healthcare’s solution is holistic and custom- fitted,” and that “the GE approach is technology- agnostic.”
Epic and Cerner are incredible firms that automate all sorts of workflows… workflows which are the heart of organizing healthcare delivery. Along with Meditech and AllScripts, these are the titans of health IT. (We partner with all of these firms today to stream data into the Wall of Analytics).
The architecture of workflow systems, including EMRs, makes it an unnatural act to surveil risks across workflows in Real Time. Thus the “Command Center” capabilities found in EMRs tend to feature retrospective reports and KPI dashboards rather than patient-level actionable alerts.
EMR companies are, of course, technology focused and we are unaware of any “consulting” services offered by these firms to help clients design and activate the non-technology aspects of Command Centers.
Other companies create workflow systems for patient flow topics like bed management, EVS and transport, and transfer centers.
(We integrate their software today to stream data into WoA).
While many of their modules are often considered better than the EMR-equivalents, many of our clients are nonetheless in the process of replacing these systems with their Epic or Cerner equivalent because the clients believe EMRs are catching up and they want to consolidate workflow systems as much as possible.
The buzz around “Clinical Command Centers” has seen many groups re-label a bed management or transfer center as a Command Center. This makes sense in context, but is different from GE’s approach. By “Command Center” they mean displaying screens from a patient flow workflow system onto large monitors; and KPI-dashboards that show things like door-to-doc time, which is important but not actionable.
Steris, MedWorx, PedalMD, etc.
There are hundreds of other workflow systems in healthcare, but they have not suggested “Command Center” capabilities. (We integrate their software today to stream data into WoA).
Accenture & McKinsey.
These and other consulting firms have suggested Command Center-like solutions from time-to-time. The most notable example was when Accenture won the bid from Rio de Janeiro to build a city health Command Center. But their capability was limited to retrospective BI and, in the end, the project was abandoned.
BI, Reports, and Actionable Analytics
A key factor to consider is the difference between business intelligence dashboards, reports from workflow systems, and actionable analytics.
BI dashboards in healthcare are usually built on data warehouses which update once or twice per day. Tableau and QlikView are the market leaders while Microsoft and others have renewed their offers in this competitive space. These BI tools are useful for thousands of problems, but we find them not useful for Real Time decision support.
Since Clinical Command Centers, in GE’s meaning, are all about immediate action, we find that BI is not fit for this purpose.
Workflow systems also offer a form of built-in BI which most users know as reports or analytics. These too are useful for thousands of problems but not for the Real Time action needed in Clinical Command Centers.
Actionable analytics are Real Time because they are created from high-velocity streaming messages rather than by querying the dB. This is extraordinarily difficult to do--requiring both the right technology and intense services--but when done well can be revolutionary for Real Time decision support.
This is a small niche where GE’s Clinical Command Center approach is making a difference.