Command Centers Improve Workflow Efficiency in Medical Imaging


13 Aug 2020
In 2017, Humber River Health needed to find a way to reduce ED wait times. Bottlenecks in the ED were creating patient flow and efficiency issues across the entire system. In addition, the Toronto health system had limited situational awareness about capacity and missed or delayed patient care activities. 
The solution was to develop a mission control-style location and team that could process real-time data from multiple systems. The Humber River Command Centre is a 4,500-square-foot space with a staff of 20, including a medical imaging flow technologist. 

“The beauty of the command center is not only the data and the technology, but that it is located in a centralized place where everything happens in a synchronized fashion,” said Susan Tory, MD, command center medical director and general internist.

Humber River is one of the first hospitals in the world to use a medical imaging “Tile” (or app). The Tile helps care teams and imaging staff prioritize each scan based on the urgency and location of the exam. Humber River is realizing tangible results using this Tile. For example, the time it takes from a physician order to completion for a CT or an MR exam has been reduced by 48%.

The Command Centre is also having a positive impact on the staff. “From a physician standpoint, having the technology to coordinate and organize the medical imaging requests and tests to get them done more rapidly, and having the medical imaging technologist in the command center in conjunction with the Imaging Tile has been incredibly beneficial to help move things forward,” Dr. Tory said. “If I have a concern, the medical imaging technologist is there as the point of contact so that I don’t have to phone the CT desk or try 10 different extensions to get a scan done more rapidly.”

Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore was one of the first hospitals in the world to deploy a command center. Their Capacity Command Center, which launched in 2016, was designed and build in partnership with GE HealthCare. It uses data, predictive analytics, and machine learning to improve capacity management. 

“I see the command center as the place to expedite patients, to get them in the right spot in the hospital at the right time, and to figure out any barrier that prevents them from being where they need to be, whether it’s getting them out the door to go home, or scheduling them for a test such as an imaging exam,” said Stacey Baldwin, president, Johns Hopkins Medical Imaging and radiology administrator.