Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Health

Tampa General’s new ‘command center’ cuts delays, saving millions

The hospital joins with GE Healthcare to create a new system that tracks patients at every stop in their care, and intervenes when necessary.
Latisha Lynch, a dispatcher in the transport department monitors patients movement inside of the clinical command center at Tampa General Hospital on Tuesday. Tampa General is the fourth hospital in the world, and first in Florida, to open a high-tech, mission control-like command center in partnership with GE Healthcare. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Aug. 20

TAMPA — Tampa General Hospital has become one of only four health care institutions in the world to open its own high-tech “mission control” command center, using artificial intelligence to predict and improve patient care.

The hospital announced the milestone Tuesday, joining with GE Healthcare to open and staff the 8,000-square-foot center, to be known as CareComm. The center will use data to track patients at every stop of their care, streamlining operations and eliminating the chronic delays so common at hospitals. As a result, officials said, patients will receive better care and the hospital expects to save millions.

Tampa General joins Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and Humber River Hospital in Toronto as users of this kind of technology. But it will be the first such center in Florida and the Southeast.

RELATED STORY: Tampa General, surrounded by water, will spend millions to brace for future storms

“We’re taking hundreds of thousands of data points and turning it into knowledge and turning that into action,” said John Couris, the Tampa General CEO. “It’s making us think differently about health care and therefore act differently. We’re seeing improvements already.”

The center opened in a temporary space inside the Davis Island-based hospital in December. Since then, Couris said the 30-plus member coordination team has helped save nearly $10 million in costs and reduced wait times for patients by nearly half a day.

It works by tracking patients as they are admitted to the hospital, helping predict “bottlenecks” before they happen and streamline care.

As the only Level 1 trauma center in the region, the 1,010-bed Tampa General sees an average of 95,000 patients a year in its emergency room alone. So far, the hospital has tracked a 5 percent reduction in readmission rates since the CareComm center has been operating.

“We’re making an impact,” Couris said. “It actually works. It’s helping us on our mission to be the safest and most innovative academic health care institution in the country.”

Large monitors line the walls of the CareComm center on the second floor of the hospital. Some are touch screen. Others chart patients’ care as they are admitted and transferred to specialty units. Some screens track patients who have high-risk illnesses, like sepsis, to help avoid problems, and the medications patients are prescribed after surgery.

RELATED STORY: At Tampa General Hospital, 3-D printers are removing guesswork for doctors and patients

In instances where patients are waiting on lab results before they can be discharged, a member of the CareComm team can step in, see what’s holding up those results, and deliver them if needed. The team, currently made up of Tampa General employees and GE engineers, tracks data entered into the system by hospital clinical staff — from nurses to assistants and physicians.

Mounted screen tiles keeps track of patients health care at Tampa General Hospital's new CareComm center on Tuesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

Tampa General has invested about $13 million in the project, including $2.5 million in building a designated space for the coordination team in the hospital. The TGH charitable foundation donated about $1 million toward the cost. Couris anticipates the center will reduce costs over time to the tune of $60 million to $80 million.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis toured the new facility, alongside Mary Mayhew, the newly named secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, and a half-dozen other state, regional and local officials.

DeSantis said the system will ensure that patients who need hospital care will get it, and that those who need other levels of care are directed to it properly.

“If you told me we were at the Kennedy Space Center in there," he said, "I probably would have believed you.”

__________

CareComm | By the Numbers:

8,000: Square feet inside Tampa General Hospital

38: LCD screens that make up the GE Healthcare “Wall Of Analytics”

30+: Tampa General employees working in CareComm

10+: Hospital departments represented inside CareComm

20: Artificial Intelligence apps

$10 Million: Money saved so far thanks to streamlined patient care since December 2018

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. "Doctor" Jeremiah Corouthers, 8, puts a cast on a teddy bear with child life specialist Amanda Petryszak during the annual Doctors for a Day event in March at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. The burden of caregiving is increasingly falling on Florida families, according to an AARP report. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    There are nearly 3 million caregivers in Florida helping care for relatives, and it’s costing them time and money. But some help is on the way.
  2. Pharmacist Wendy Sullivan gives a flu shot to Luz Acevedo at the Town 'N Country Senior Center in 2012. The 2019-20 flu season is expected to be a hard one, with Hillsborough County already leading the state in outbreaks. Associated Press
    The county leads the state in flu outbreaks so far this season, prompting an official call for parents to get their kids vaccinated.
  3. An opened capsule containing Kratom. The Clearwater City Council was confronted by dozens of concerned citizens at a recent meeting who urged them not to ban the herbal supplement. Tampa Bay Times
    “I think there was a misunderstanding."
  4. Dr. Philip Adler treated generations of Tampa children, including Hannah Millman, who was 2 years old at the time of this visit. Times (1985)
    The Tampa pediatrician also played a prominent role in desegregating local hospital care.
  5. Reginald Ferguson, center, a resident of the Kenwood Inn in St. Petersburg, talks with Rachel Ilic, an environmental epidemiologist, left, and Fannie Vaughn, right, a nurse with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. The health team was encouraging residents to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, part of a larger effort to address an outbreak of the virus in Florida. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The effort started in Pinellas, where health department “foot teams” are knocking on doors in neighborhoods at higher risk for the virus.
  6. A nurse at Tampa General Hospital holds a special stethoscope used for critical patients in the Jennifer Leigh Muma Neonatal Intensive Care Unit there. The hospital received a C grade from Leapfrog, an independent nonprofit which ranks hospitals nationally for patient safety. Times (2018)
    Leapfrog, an independent nonprofit, rated hospitals based on hand washing, infection rates, patient falls and other factors.
  7. Most of the time (55%), older spouses are caregiving alone as husbands or wives come to the end of their lives, without help from their children, other family members or friends or paid home health aides, according to research published earlier this year. [Times (2011)]
    Compared to adult children who care for their parents, spouses perform more tasks and assume greater physical and financial burdens when they become caregivers.
  8. “Coming out,” as providers call it, is not easy. But when people ask her specialty, Dr. Jewel Brown of Tampa owns it. She wants to be an abortion provider. Becoming one, she has found, takes determination at every step of the way. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    Florida providers seek training and work extra hours to give patients anything they might need.
  9. Nurses at Tampa General Hospital came up with the idea to turn sterile mats used in the operating room into sleeping bags for the homeless. From left are: Lucy Gurka, Claudia Hibbert, Karley Wright and Nicole Hubbard. Courtesy of Tampa General Hospital
    The paper-thin material is waterproof and holds heat, “like an envelope that you can slide into.”
  10. Tampa City Hall. TIM NICKENS  |  Times
    City attorneys intend to appeal a U.S. district judge’s ruling last month overturning Tampa’s ban of a treatment that has been deemed harmful and ineffective.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement