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Halting the Hype: Humility and Other Trends in Health Analytics

Posted by Matthew Smith on Nov 16, 2018 9:01:58 AM

Scenario planning with simulation analytics and problem-back machine learning make the trend list.

By Jeff Terry and Andy Day

Our team at GE Healthcare uses analytics to help caregivers improve outcomes and efficiency. Our work includes retrospective analytics to assess performance and monitor KPIs, simulation analytics to align leaders with a strategy by testing alternative futures, and actionable analytics to support real-time decisions with predictive and prescriptive information. Here are some recent trends we observe in health analytics:

1. Humility. We notice growing humility among healthcare leaders regarding the use of data and artificial intelligence (AI) to support real-time decisions. It’s quite striking. A few years ago, the CIO, CTO or CMIO of many major institutions would hold forth about their big data strategy and growing army of data scientists. Vendors spoke of data lakes, AI platforms and digital envelopes; it was an international broken record of buzzwords and futures. If only we had all the world’s data, then we’d find something to do with it.

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Jeff Terry is CEO of Healthcare Command Centers, GE Healthcare. Andy Day is a principal, advanced analytics, with GE Healthcare Partners where he leads the global analytic consulting team and the design of GE’s real-time data analytics for hospital command centers.

Why Your Access Strategy Demands Pricing Transparency

Posted by Matthew Smith on Nov 2, 2018 10:38:22 AM

By Nicholas Malenka, MHA, GE Healthcare Partners

Price underpins the basic economics of an efficient market, which is one of the reasons healthcare costs exceed 17 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. Lawmakers recognize this fact and continue to undertake legislative efforts to increase price transparency in the U.S. health system. Any national effort to improve transparency would put pressure on a health system’s market share because it would fundamentally change the way consumers choose their providers. Healthcare leaders are left to wonder how their organizations should prepare for this new world of increasing price transparency.

Lawmakers, managed care payers, and healthcare institutions are engaged in a tug-of-war over disclosing the costs of care. Healthcare trade organizations and lobbying groups have demonstrated repeatedly that they can influence legislation. For example, the industry challenged Ohio’s Healthcare Price Transparency Law and has successfully delayed its implementation effective date. When and if the law is implemented, it will require that providers “give patients a ‘good faith’ estimate of what non-emergency services would cost individuals after insurance before they commenced treatment.”a It’s easy to imagine how patients might carefully evaluate the value of receiving certain care if all hospitals had to disclose anticipated costs prior to providing the service. 

To read this article in its entirety, please click the button below to visit the HFMA website. 

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Topics: Patient Access

Why the CVS-Aetna Merger Will Disrupt Retail Pharmacy Strategy and Healthcare Delivery

Posted by Matthew Smith on Nov 1, 2018 1:08:46 PM

By Karen Tam, MBA, MPP, and Jeff Anderson, PharmD, BCPS, FACHE, GE Healthcare Partners

The news of the conditional approval of the $69 Billion CVS-Aetna mega-merger from the Department of Justice on Oct 10, 2018, re-ignites the debate as  to whether this trend of vertical integration between retail pharmacies and insurers represents a step toward improving wellness for patients and access to care or whether the merged entities’ ability to siphon off profitable revenue streams from traditional hospitals and health systems will leave patients with fewer choices and higher prices.

What's in it for CVS and Aetna?

CVS Caremark, owned by CVS, is one of the three largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that negotiate drug discounts on behalf of health plans.  Meanwhile, CVS has more than 9,800 drugstores and 1,100 MinuteClinic retail health centers staffed by nurse practitioners. Its partner, Aetna, maintains access to valuable health and usage data from more than 20 million health plan members that can be guided to low-cost services in the future. Executives from both companies cite their desires to help predict and prevent health outcomes before they occur through the integration of their extensive customer experience and patient claims data. However, consumer advocacy groups and some professional medical societies view the consolidation as harmful to consumer choice with the potential for additional price increases as the market shrinks to a few, powerful players.

Will the vertical integration of national pharmacy chains and insurers represent a formidable competitor for hospitals and health systems engaged in retail pharmacy strategies and population health risk structures?

Since reaching its apex in 2016 at 47 percent of U.S. hospitals operating an outpatient pharmacy, the trend has dropped to 39 percent in 2018 (1). However, this still accounts for more than one third of hospital and health systems having made significant investments in their retail pharmacy strategy as a strategic asset for many hospitals and health systems. Some of these systems have institutions which qualify for the 340B Program, which is a federal program that provides substantial drug pricing discounts for hospitals that meet specific qualifications, e.g., providing care for a disproportionately large amount of under or uninsured patients. Developing retail pharmacy strategies with these lower prices has been a very important business venture for these financially challenged hospitals. If these mergers direct health plan prescriptions to the corresponding retail pharmacy partner, it will harm these existing business ventures that these health systems have implemented to “balance the books.” As many hospitals and health systems couple other clinical services with their pharmacy strategy for additional revenue, the combined access of prescription drug utilization patterns, methods of delivery, and pricing data for CVS customers and Aetna health plan members can be used to direct valuable revenue streams away from health systems. By taking lucrative walk-in traffic from hospitals, these entrants can leave local and community providers with the highest-cost, most-complicated patients.

When it comes to the value-based approach of getting patients the right care in the right place at the right time, these types of integrations have the potential to disrupt providers that have assumed risk for the total cost-of-care for their patients. While hospitals and health systems continue to struggle to find financially sustainable business models to deliver clinical pharmacy services, CVS/Aetna can potentially out-compete traditional health systems on both cost and quality-of-care for low-acuity patients. If patients who receive their pharmacy benefits from CVS/Aetna are encouraged to fill their prescriptions at CVS, this might compromise health systems' ability to coordinate medication management for their patients. This is particularly evident in the high-margin specialty pharmacy environment with large commercial plans directing patients to their specialty pharmacy network, which may exclude the specialty pharmacies that are integrated within a health system to improve the continuity of care. For chronically-ill patients, this poses the biggest risk since it can lead to lack of medication adherence and increased complications.

What are the competitive advantages of these industry players versus traditional providers?

The first key advantage is access to large, complementary data sets. With nationwide data sets and better business intelligence capabilities than most health systems (combined with extensive marketing and consumer behavior change expertise) players like Aetna and CVS seek to improve health through data-driven health management by directing patients toward retail locations for lower-acuity, chronic care management. This has the potential of dis-intermediating health systems that are also seeking to enhance patient loyalty and play the central role in coordinating care.

Secondly, national pharmacy chains are already providing primary care, urgent care, and wellness services that are the gateway to additional clinical services. They are quickly becoming the neighborhood health destinations where additional clinical services can easily be cross-sold to consumers directly--either onsite or offsite. With an established set of network providers, CVS/Aetna can divert referrals to “preferred” providers that might be in direct competition with similar services health systems are trying to provide.

Thirdly, the extensive footprint and comparatively lower physical plant costs allow players like CVS to operate longer after-hours, improve access to care and potentially decrease traffic to emergency departments and health system-owned urgent care centers. Offering greater convenience to consumers at potentially lower costs will likely be attractive to consumers with lower acuity problems. The question remains, as to whether this ultimately reduces the total cost of care (2). The key will be whether the retail locations will choose to play a strong role in chronic disease management.

Do we expect more integrations, and how quickly should we expect the impact?

Yes, we expect more vertical integrations! With tailwinds from regulatory bodies adding another likely approval of the strategic combination between Cigna/Express Scripts and Walmart/Humana, we expect to see more formal strategic integrations between the PBM and health insurance industries. A solid trend is already emerging with pharmacy being an important component to other combinations. For example, Walgreens announced partnership with LabCorp on Oct 10, 2018, after its failed partnership with Theranos in 2017. Amazon’s acquisition of Pillpack in June 2018, signals another heated race in the e-health market as Amazon views online pharmacy as a key frontier in its bid to be the go-to source for anything a consumer might need in healthcare.

There are still significant barriers that CVS/Aetna will have to overcome despite the competitive advantages they have over hospitals and health systems.

First, it will take time for these large players to integrate their data platforms, turning them into useable business intelligence. They will likely have to overcome additional legal hurdles for data-sharing.

Second, Aetna's decision to divest its Medicare B program with 2.2 million beneficiaries to WellCare, signals the health plan is aware of the legal scrutiny and negative public perception of a monopoly in the pharmacy benefits market. Other mega-mergers such as Cigna/Express Scripts and Walmart/Humana are also experiencing similar public and regulatory scrutiny. It will likely be a few more years before the impact of such mergers are truly felt.

If all goes well on the data integration and public perception fronts, these mergers still must convince patients and their families to seek out these new product offerings outside of the hospital setting.

What defensive strategies should hospitals and health systems deploy?

It’s not all doom and gloom for healthcare providers. Several strategies can still help health systems mitigate the impact of the 800-pound gorilla.

First, re-visit your 340B eligibility and status to lower your drug costs for qualified outpatients of participating institutions as this program provides considerable savings for covered outpatient drugs. Self-insured health systems with institutions participating in the 340B program can also develop strategies to qualify much of their retail prescription volume at a dramatically reduce cost.

Second, focus on closing any gaps in your medical therapy management care continuum. Consider any weak spots in clinical coverage, independent physicians in the market, and quality disparities. Employing advanced practitioners, pharmacists, infusionists, and radiologists can be an effective defense strategy for markets that have largely fragmented ancillary services providers.

Third, assure that your primary care access points are accessible, affordable, and consumer-friendly. This means flexible hours of operation, availability of virtual visits, and transparent pricing. Also, assure that the benefits of receiving care in your network are truly seamless, with integrated electronic health records and simple referral processes.

Finally, allowing for easier and faster visibility into the cost and utilization and referral data will further the investments you make to the three strategies listed above. Rather than focusing on more platforms that fit niche specialty needs, develop an organized data governance model, and deploy a concerted IT strategy that allows your organization to turn the data from multiple sources into actionable information to drive improved quality and cost management.

1. State of Pharmacy Automation 2018. Pharmacy Purchasing and & Products magazine - August 2018. Volume: 15 Number: 8. 

2. In a 2016 study published in Health Affairs, the authors found that improved retail clinic access drove increased utilization patterns, contributing to a $14/person/year net increase in total cost of care for low-acuity conditions. J. Scott Ashwood, et al. March 2016. Retail Clinic Visits For Low-Acuity Conditions Increase Utilization And Spending. Health Affairs. Accessed 2018. 

Jeff Anderson is a Senior Consultant-Pharmacy with GE Healthcare Partners. Jeff’s expertise is rooted in health system pharmacy leadership and operations, clinical pharmacy program development, medication safety, and education. He is a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist (BCPS) and board-certified in healthcare management as Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). He may be reached at

Karen Tam is a Manager with GE Healthcare Partners specializing in the areas of hospital strategy development. She brings over ten years of experience in healthcare research and consulting, serving hospital executives and medical device company leaders in the U.S. and abroad. Karen has worked with multi-specialty health systems and community hospitals to develop strategic growth plans and redesign enterprise planning and activation processes. She has advised on projects ranging from hospital-physician strategies, network strategies to position for population health, service line growth, and governance structures. She has also led clinical transformation efforts for surgical and scheduling services. She may be reached at

Topics: retail pharmacy merger

GE Healthcare's Command Center Solution Recognized at Frost & Sullivan Innovation & Leadership Awards Gala

Posted by Matthew Smith on Oct 17, 2018 10:23:57 AM

GE Healthcare's Command Center solution was recognized by Frost & Sullivan at its 2018 Growth, Innovation & Leadership Awards Gala held on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, at Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego, CA.

Bree Bush, Principal, GE Healthcare Partners, accepted the award at the gala event.

Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Awards are presented each year to companies that are predicted to encourage significant growth in their industries, have identified emerging trends before they became a marketplace standard, and have created advanced technologies that will catalyze and transform industries in the near future.

“Our Best Practices Awards are presented each year to companies that demonstrate top performance in areas such as market leadership, business strategy, product innovation, and customer value. Our recipients’ achievements pave the way to drive significant industry growth while also setting trends before they become the market standard,” said Art Robbins, President of Frost & Sullivan’s Global Consulting Practice and Global Head of the Business and Financial Services Practice.

Based on its recent analysis of the global hospital command centers market, Frost & Sullivan recognized GE Healthcare Partners citing a unique holistic command center solution to optimize patient care delivery. The command center solution helps hospitals and hospital networks improve outcomes and efficiency by employing the most advanced technologies such as prescriptive and predictive analytics, machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision in a new “command center” department in a purpose-built space manned by newly empowered staff helping front-line caregivers 24x7.

In its AwarReport, Frost & Sullivan cites GEHCP command centers for:

  • A breakthrough capability for patient and staff experience, outcomes and efficiency.
  • A combination of artificial and human intelligence to predict risk, orchestrate complex care activity and support evidence-based medicine; and provide a center of gravity for cultural integration and continuous improvement
  • The employment of technology to drive action by applying AI to constant real-time data from machines, devices, EMRs, and other software.

“We’re delighted to be recognized by Frost & Sullivan for our Command Center work,” says Jeff Terry, CEO Command Centers, GE Healthcare Partners. “It’s a testament to the tenacity, innovation and focus of both our team and the caregivers we’re honored to serve.”

To learn more about the GE Healthcare Partners’ command centers please click here. To read the full press release announcing the award please click here. To contact the GE Healthcare Partners team for more information or to request a time to speak, please click here


Topics: Command Center

Performance Partnerships & Command Centers in the News

Posted by Matthew Smith on Oct 10, 2018 11:30:17 AM

As Performance Partnerships and Command Centers continue to gain traction with hospitals and health systems, GE Healthcare remains at the forefront of the conversation. Read more about GE Healthcare Partners' involvement via the links below:

From Healthcare to Health: Transforming the Health System for Everyone’s Benefit

Via Healthcare Business Today, Navicent Health + GE Healthcare Partners share efforts behind the Performance Partnership collaboration.

Video: CHI Franciscan's Hi-Tech Mission Control Hospital

Via King-5 NBC. Dr. Jessica Schlicher of CHI Franciscan talks about how the new mission control center will improve overall patient care.

CHI Franciscan Launches Washington State's First AI-Powered Hospital Mission Control Center

Via Imaging Technology NewsCHI Franciscan becomes the first health system in the state of Washington to introduce command centers to help bolster patient care.

GE Healthcare Expands Oregon Hospital's Mission Control Center to Address Sepsis Care

Via Becker's Hospital Review. An expanded partnership develops a software application that will make care recommendations for patients at high risk for developing sepsis.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals to Scale ‘Wall of Analytics’ With New Command Centre

Via Digital HealthBradford Teaching Hospitals scale ‘wall of analytics’ with new command centre.

Why More Women Than Men Are at the Helm Inside Hospital Command Centers

Via GE Healthcare. 76% of the mission control staff who work inside GE Healthcare’s first command center that coordinates care across a multi-hospital system are women.

Healthcare Command Center Aims to Simplify Healthcare Access

Via TechTarget. By creating a centralized hub to coordinate patient care, organizations hope to simplify healthcare access for patients and expedite provider access to patients.

GE Healthcare’s Command Centers Commended by Frost & Sullivan for Impacting Broad Range of Patient and Caregiver Challenges

Via GE Healthcare PartnersGE Healthcare’s “command center solution” recognized with Best Practices Award for Global Visionary Innovation Leadership.

Topics: Hospital Command Center

Bradford, GE Healthcare Announce AI-Powered Hospital Command Center, First of its Kind in Europe

Posted by Matthew Smith on Oct 4, 2018 11:23:58 AM

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is collaborating with GE Healthcare to build a Command Center - like an air traffic control - at the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), UK. A first of its kind in Europe, the Command Center will transform how care is delivered and organized as the number of patients at the hospital continues to increase. Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI), it will provide a clear, instant, and real-time overview across the 800-bed hospital and help staff make quick and informed decisions on how to best manage patient care.

Up to 20 Trust staff based in the Command Center will monitor a “wall of analytics” that constantly pulls in streams of real-time data from the multiple systems at the hospital. Advanced algorithms will help staff to anticipate and resolve bottlenecks in care delivery before they occur, recommending actions to enable faster, more responsive patient care and better allocation of resources. The data will be displayed on multiple high definition screens in the Command Center - as well as on tablets and mobile devices, providing 24-7 support to busy medical teams across the hospital.

The Command Center will be located centrally in a refurbished space at the BRI site. It will help to reduce unnecessary time spent in hospital after a patient is medically ready to leave, increase the proportion of patients who arrive and are admitted, transferred or discharged from A&E (Emergency Department) within four hours, and help ensure that patients are always treated in the wards best suited to manage their care.

Over 96% of bed capacity at BRI is used regularly and it has 125,000 A&E attendances each year, up by more than 40% over the past decade. The Command Center program helps meet the vision of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to decrease length of stay, alleviate the need for additional wards and beds – especially during peak winter times – and reduce cancellations for non-emergency surgery.

“Demand for services is growing at Bradford Teaching Hospitals every year" said Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. "The Command Center will enable us to optimize our use of resources and improve how we move patients around the hospital for treatment and successful discharge. Around 350-400 patients come through our A&E every day, and relieving pressure on our 6,000 staff means they can spend more time delivering care, and less time organizing care."

“Hospitals are increasingly looking to boost the efficiency of their operations so they can continue to deliver high quality care as patient volume increases. Command Centers help to orchestrate the delivery of care across the organization, bringing consistency to processes, prioritizing actions, eliminating waste and predicting tomorrow’s pressure points,” said Mark Ebbens, European Command Center Lead at GE Healthcare.

Command Centers have been adopted by several hospitals in North America including The Johns Hopkins Hospital, a major not-for-profit 1,100 bed hospital in Baltimore, US, and Humber River Hospital, Toronto, Canada. Since the Command Center began operating at Johns Hopkins, patients from other hospitals are transferred 60% faster, Emergency Room (A&E) wait times have been cut by 25%, and time spent waiting in the operating theatre for a post-surgical bed decreased by 70%.

“GE Healthcare’s vision is to enable precision health. We are honored to serve the NHS Bradford team as they look to deliver the most effective patient care,” added Jeff Terry, GE Healthcare’s Command Center CEO.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ Command Center will open in spring 2019.

Topics: Command Center

CHI Franciscan Partners with GE Healthcare to Bring First AI-Powered Hospital Mission Control Center to Washington State

Posted by Matthew Smith on Sep 27, 2018 8:40:22 AM

CHI Franciscan Health and GE Healthcare have joined forces to implement a NASA-style “Mission Control” command center to effectively and efficiently synchronize all elements of a patient’s hospital experience. The artificial intelligence (AI)-powered system will support caregivers to enhance patient safety, orchestrate seamless care delivery and, ultimately, get patients back home sooner.

CHI Franciscan will be the first hospital system in the state of Washington – and the fifth globally – to utilize the leading-edge technology to improve patient care.

“We’re leading the way in Washington with our state-of-the-art Mission Control Center, which will allow CHI Franciscan to provide a much higher level of sophistication and efficiency in our hospitals,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO, CHI Franciscan Health. “We will be able to simultaneously monitor every single patient in our system and utilize real-time data to tailor their experience to provide the highest quality care.”

The Mission Control Center will use the power of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to optimize care coordination, speed care delivery, and improve the patient experience, while maintaining patient privacy. The powerful system works by looking at each individual hospital as part of a larger system, continually examining real-time data and using machine learning to recommend actions that can predict and prevent risk, balance staff workload, and streamline the discharge process so patients can get home sooner.

“CHI Franciscan’s Mission Control will be among the most comprehensive in all of healthcare, combining virtual hospital, care coordination, and new mission controllers working to expedite care,” said Jeff Terry, CEO, Command Centers, GE Healthcare Partners. “It’s an honor to serve CHI Franciscan.”

From the Mission Control Center, licensed providers will monitor and leverage analytic apps, or “tiles,” to optimize patient care operations at each facility, and trigger actions to best leverage resources across the system. Each tile is carefully crafted to solve a specific issue, taking into account the highly nuanced real-world challenges of caregivers and patients. For example, one tile will help streamline the discharge process by monitoring all patients scheduled for discharge and identifying and addressing “pinch points” that can cause significant and preventable delays. The key is that the real-time data in the tiles is predictive and actionable.

“Often, patients scheduled for discharge just need one more test, such as a CT scan, for the doctor to review,” said Jessica Kennedy-Schlicher, MD, medical director for care transformation at CHI Franciscan. “The people scheduling the CTs are running through a list of patients, often as first-come first-served. Mission Control will be able to prioritize the list and flag patients to move up on the list. By optimizing the process, we can speed care delivery and get patients home sooner.”

“The purpose of any new technology in health care is to enable providers to deliver better care, bringing doctors and nurses closer to their patients,” Patel said. “Mission Control’s powerful predictive analytics identify potential issues and allow our care teams to proactively solve problems and improve care rather than react when issues arise. With the AI focusing on the important nuts and bolts of operational efficiency and care logistics, our caregivers can devote more time to providing the best care and delivering the best outcomes for our patients.”

The Mission Control Center will complement CHI Franciscan’s already best-in-class Virtual Hospital, which includes regional telemetry monitoring, virtual companion, virtual ICU, virtual hospitalist, and other services. CHI Franciscan’s virtual care teams complement on-site teams, for example, by providing continuous surveillance of cardiac rhythms for inpatients, which allows on-site staff maximum time at the bedside. The virtual ICU team, which includes physicians and nurses, monitors all CHI Franciscan ICU patients, resulting in shorter ICU stays and better outcomes.

CHI Franciscan Mission Control will be organized with a system-wide Mission Control Center, and smaller centers located at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, and Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale.

CHI Franciscan is the fifth health system to join GE Healthcare’s Command Center Ecosystem, which also includes The Johns Hopkins Health System, Humber River Hospital (Toronto), Oregon Health Sciences University, AdventHealth Orlando, and Tampa General Hospital. 

Topics: Command Center

GE Healthcare "Command Centers" Recognized with Frost & Sullivan's 2018 Global Visionary Innovation Leadership Award

Posted by Matthew Smith on Sep 20, 2018 9:48:18 AM

Frost & Sullivan, a growth partnership company, awarded GE Healthcare’s “command center solution” its Best Practices Award for Global Visionary Innovation Leadership.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan recognizes the company that demonstrates excellence in growth and customer value. It recognizes the superiority of the product/service, as well as the overall customer, purchase, ownership, and service experience delivered, which has resulted in the recipient company seeing above-market growth and greater share of wallet. The award lauds the growth, diversification, and sustainability strategies of the company.

Based on its recent analysis of the global hospital command centers market, Frost & Sullivan recognized GE Healthcare Partners citing a unique holistic command center solution to optimize patient care delivery. The command center solution helps hospitals and hospital newtorks improve outcomes and efficiency by employing the most advanced technologies such as prescriptive and predictive analytics, machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision in a new “command center” department in a purpose-built space manned by newly empowered staff helping front-line caregivers 24x7.

"Unlike competing command centers that serve specific objectives, GE Healthcare Partners’ solution is holistic and custom-fitted, covering the entire hospital or health system’s operations and targeting multiple tasks based on the facility’s needs," says Siddharth Shah, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. "The approach is technology-agnostic, but relies on the data collected by various technologies implemented in the hospital. This makes the command center scalable, and expands its application scope to cover patient access, patient throughput through the length of stay, clinical pathways, clinical imaging, patient discharge, and even telehealth and population health initiatives."

In its AwarReport, Frost & Sullivan cites GEHCP command centers for:

  • A breakthrough capability for patient and staff experience, outcomes and efficiency.
  • A combination of artificial and human intelligence to predict risk, orchestrate complex care activity and support evidence-based medicine; and provide a center of gravity for cultural integration and continuous improvement
  • The employment of technology to drive action by applying AI to constant real-time data from machines, devices, EMRs, and other software.

“We’re delighted to be recognized by Frost & Sullivan for our Command Center work,” says Jeff Terry, CEO Command Centers, GE Healthcare Partners. “It’s a testament to the tenacity, innovation and focus of both our team and the caregivers we’re honored to serve.”

"Hospital departments typically work in silos, but GE Healthcare Partners’ co-location approach promotes synergies as well as facilitates future technology adoption of tele-ICU, telehealth services, home health services, and population health efforts," noted Shah. "One of the reasons for the success of GE’s command center is the company's decision to not disrupt the front-line care team members, but rather empower and support them in their daily duties. The combination of human and artificial intelligence has proved a winning move and positioned the company for further growth."

GE Healthcare Partners will be formally recognized and presented with the award at the Frost & Sullivan Growth, Innovation & Leadership Awards Gala on October 2, 2018, at the Paradise Point Resort in San Diego, CA.

To learn more about the GE Healthcare Partners’ command centers please click here. To read the full press release announcing the award please click here.

Topics: Command Center

GE Healthcare to Expand OHSU Mission Control Capabilities to Support Sepsis Patient Care

Posted by Matthew Smith on Sep 12, 2018 1:32:11 PM

Portland, OR. — September 12 2018  GE Healthcare today announced plans to increase the capabilities of OHSU’s Mission Control Center by developing a software application, or “tile,” that will suggest actions to support better management of sepsis patient care.

GE Healthcare’s new tile will support early sepsis detection and timely, precise ongoing management of at-risk patients and those who are on the sepsis patient pathway, monitoring all patients not only those who are in the intensive care unit.  Once the algorithm detects risk, it will flag mission controllers who will research the situation and help care teams as needed to ensure a rapid response and the best possible patient care.

“Sepsis is difficult to diagnose, and if not treated early, is associated with high mortality rates,” said Matthias Merkel, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of adult critical care and chief medical capacity Officer at OHSU; and professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. “The objective of this new sepsis tile and algorithm is to provide our team with a head start to help us catch sepsis before it strikes.”

In July 2017, OHSU opened its Mission Control Center to reduce delays in patient care, improve patient transfers and utilization between the three hospitals within the health system; reduce length of stay; and connect disparate data systems.  One year later, the results demonstrate improved clinical and operational outcomes in the following areas:  

  • Accepted 554 more transfer patients - 6.4 percent increase
  • Declined 92 less transfer patients – 18 percent reduction
  • Increase in transfer acceptance rate to 96 percent - 1 percent improvement
  • 519 transfers accepted to partner hospitals
  • Outcomes amount to > 7x return on investment (ROI)

“The year before we opened the Mission Control Center, we declined more than 500 transfer patients from referring hospitals,” says James Heilman, M.D., M.B.A., chief medical transfer officer at OHSU; and assistant professor of emergency medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine.  “Today patient transfers to our partner community hospitals have increased, which gives us the confidence to expand the program to include a sepsis solution to help with early detection.”

OHSU is the first hospital in the Pacific Northwest region to launch GE Healthcare’s NASA-style Mission Control Center to coordinate care between an academic health center and partner community hospitals. 

“OHSU is taking its program to the next level by supporting sepsis patient care,” said Jeff Terry, CEO of Command Centers, GE Healthcare. “This is a great example of the scalability of the command center concept.  It’s an honor to serve the OHSU team.”

Infographic, Sepsis, Command Center, GE Healthcare

Transformation at the Frontline--A Nurse’s Perspective on Enablers of Outcomes-Based PI: Value Stream Mapping

Posted by Matthew Smith on Jun 27, 2018 5:55:50 PM

By Tina Hallberg, RN, Senior Consultant, GE Healthcare Partners

The Value Proposition for Value Stream Mapping in Healthcare

Those who are well-versed in Six Sigma and DMAIS are familiar with using process maps to define borders and high-level steps. A process map visually describes the flow, sequence, and interactions of related activities from the beginning to the end. From a manufacturing perspective, this makes sense. However, in healthcare every process is patient-centric, including non-clinical processes, and must be viewed from the lens of keeping and creating value for the patient. To identify steps as value added, non-value added, or non-value added but necessary, the clear choice is to utilize a value stream map (VSM).

To keep the focus on the true customer, every process must be viewed from the patient lens, including non-clinical processes. In the laboratory, for example, we must view the widget as the patient’s specimen; in surgery, the patient’s case cart; in records, the patient’s chart; in housekeeping, the patient’s room. Keeping the patient front of mind, ensures everything we do has their best interestsat heart.

Many people interchange a VSM with a process map or even a flow chart, but they are immensely different. A VSM is more than just borders and high-level steps, a VSM:

  • Is a visual tool with real-time data to see and understand the flow from the patient’s perspective.
  • Places a focus on improving the whole process rather than isolated task optimization.
  • Is a road map to improvement--helping to see and eliminate waste while adding value.

Traditional v Value Stream Mapping: Where to Optimize?

In traditional work flows, the focus lies on optimizing what’s directly in front of us; our environment. We rarely consider what happens in preceding processes that directly affect us, or in succeeding processes that our work may impact. Graphically, business as usual can be represented as the following:


A VSM approach has us remove the blinders to look both upstream and downstream. What processes are inputs or are feeding our work? What effect do we have on the next set of processes downstream? Where can we remove waste and add value for the patient? How is my work adding value? Is it something the patient is willing to pay for?


Not all our work may be 100 percent value added, but we must ask what value is derived from each step of the process. Some activities may seem repetitive or non-value added, such as asking the patient about his or her allergies or having another nurse double check the insulin dosage. In this case, there is a safety component incorporated, so these steps may be determined to be either value added or non-value added but necessary.

To enable the patient to see the value, we must set clear expectations, such as: “I’m sure you’ve already discussed your allergies with other staff, however I want to be sure I have them listed correctly” or, “From a safety standpoint, Mrs. Jones, we have all our insulin dosages double checked to ensure you are getting the accurate dose.”

Why Value Stream Mapping?

  • Identifying your current state allows you to see flow.
  • Analyzing your current state allows you see opportunities for improvements in quality, cycle time, lead time, and patient satisfaction.
  • Understanding your current state allows you to develop a vision for improved flow.
  • Displaying your current state in your area allows for transparency of the flow and planned improvement work.

Consider that every process has, at a minimum, three versions:


The objective is to get everyone to embrace reality before moving to the ideal. Value stream improvement is primarily a management responsibility. Management must be able to see the overall flow, develop a vision of improvement for the future, and lead the improvement implementation. A current-state map and the effort required to create it are pure waste unless you use it to create and implement a future-state map depicting where the process will be (realistically) in 12 months.

Choose a process

Mapping for the Future

While creating a VSM requires more time investment up front, the information it yields is of far greater value than a process map, particularly because its utilization sets the stage for the future state. Your future state VSM is:

  • a vision of the health care experience, process, or service flow without waits, stopping, batching, mistakes, or other waste.
  • a document used to drive detailed implementation plans.
  • an improved design so the patient can pull the product or service when they want it.
  • a process that meets your patient’s value expectations:
    • Quality – no defects.
    • Reliable delivery – right time, right product.
    • Rapid response to changing needs.

Once the future state VSM is drafted, planning commences for the implementation work. Planning and discipline are required for success with reaching the future state. Examples of future state improvement targets:

  • Reduce the lead time for the patient’s experience.
  • Reduce the number of patients waiting.
  • Increase the percentage of patient touch-time by staff.
  • Increase capacity to provide service.
  • Decrease the area footprint.
  • Eliminate defects and mistake-proof the process.

The point of value stream mapping is not the maps, but to understand the flow of the patient through the healthcare experience to drive improvements. The map is a tool created from real-time direct observation and measurement of the actual process. The future state VSM shows the vision of the process without waits, stopping, batching, mistakes, or other waste 12 months into the future. Many lean practitioners see value stream mapping as the fundamental tool to identify waste, reduce process cycle times, and implement process improvement, all creating value for the patient, who is the focus of the process.

HallbergTina Hallberg, RN, is a highly experienced registered nurse and senior consultant at GE Healthcare Partners. Her leadership and managerial skills are coupled with 20 years of nursing experience in acute hospital settings, including transplant and flight trauma, long-term care, and clinic settings including the roles of Chief Nursing Officer, Director of Nursing, Case Mix Manager, Staff Development Coordinator, and Operations Supervisor. Tina maintains sensei-level expertise in the application of Kaizen methodology to healthcare. She obtained her training under the tutelage of Taichii Ohno’s protégés through multiple missions to Japan. She may be reached at

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