GE Healthcare Camden Group Insights Blog

Humber River Hospital: Building a Digitally Advanced Command Centre

Posted by Matthew Smith on Jan 25, 2019 2:00:33 PM

Topics: Hospital 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

Humber River Hospital in Toronto Turns to Advanced Analytics to Improve Patient Care

Posted by Matthew Smith on Jul 26, 2017 11:36:47 AM

As populations grow and age, many hospitals are being stretched past their limits. Rather than apply temporary or partial fixes to address the challenges that underlie this busy, acute care hospital, Toronto’s Humber River Hospital has chosen to implement a holistic, state-of-the-art hospital Command Center that will enable it to achieve radical gains in quality and efficiency.

The hospital partnered with GE Healthcare Partners to conceive, design, and build the new 4,500 square-foot Command Center, a cornerstone of which will be GE’s Wall of Analytics that processes real-time data from multiple source systems across the hospital. Using complex algorithms, predictive analytics and cutting-edge engineering, the hospital intends to do two seemingly contradictory things: improve quality of care and patient access while at the same time reducing costs.

That may sound like an out-sized ambition, but there’s a good precedent for such a radical increase in efficiency: airports. Air traffic control technology was a guiding inspiration as GE designed a better way to extend reliable healthcare to meet the needs of more patients.

Blue-Sky Thinking

The introduction of air traffic control technology in the 1960s allowed airports to swiftly transition from scheduling a few hundred flights a day to managing thousands. Whereas, the volumes of aircraft and flights have increased tenfold, they all vie for the same space. Many airports now see millions of passengers pass through every day.

Despite the vast complexity of such a logistical challenge, the airline industry became significantly safer and more efficient in the process. So it’s no surprise that when GE Healthcare began developing a comprehensive approach to enable hospitals to better manage congestion, they modelled their solution on air traffic control.

Adding a digital Command Center was a natural fit for Humber River Hospital, not only because it’s recognized as North America’s first fully digital hospital, but also because the busy facility must serve a region representing more than 850,000 people. 

The extremely high demand became quickly apparent. After construction of the new hospital was completed in 2015, the hospital was slated to reach full capacity in five years. Instead, they reached that point in just five months.

“We’re at full capacity and we’re only going to see more and more patients through our front door. How are we going to deal with that?” asks Peter Bak, the hospital’s CIO. “We can’t just say, Sorry, you’re going to wait longer. That’s not acceptable.”

Powered by Digital

Bak and his team have overseen the implementation of the many tools that earned the hospital its high-tech notoriety, from software that empowers patients to review their own health records, to fully automated robotic systems for delivering supplies and dispensing medication.

These digital systems offer incredible efficiency, quality and safety benefits. For example, a doctor at Humber River Hospital can expect the results from a lab test in under sixty minutes, guaranteed. In a traditional hospital, the same manual process can take up to four hours and is prone to labelling errors and other defects.

But even though Humber River Hospital’s digital approach has yielded great results, it has not yet been fully harnessed. What the Command Center will do is amplify the impact generated from digitized processes, work flow and information flow by offering a holistic real-time view of how the hospital is operating.

Seeing the Big Picture

“People work in their focus area, and so they don’t see the big picture,” Bak explains. “They’re not seeing what’s happening at the other end of the hospital, and how what they do might have a bearing on what’s happening somewhere else.”

The aim of the Command Center is to empower a team of co-located staff to monitor, prioritize and expedite activities with the goal of driving far greater efficiencies. At Humber River Hospital, those efficiencies are anticipated to enable the hospital to deliver care to more patients with the same number of beds its operates today, and avoid a projected shortfall of 40 or 50 medicine beds by the year 2021.

Increased capacity isn’t the only outcome that the hospital is anticipating from its new Command Center. Another is improved reliability. “We need to drive hospitals to a point where they don’t make errors,” says Bak. “The Command Center acts as a second set of eyes and allows us to reduce the potential for mistakes.” By integrating systems and applying analytics a small team can observe the “outliers” and intervene ensuring that delays will not go unidentified, resources will not go under-utilized and patient care actions are taken accordingly.

The Command Center will also enable much better integration across levels of care. “We want the hospital to be the hub of an ecosystem that drives health for the 850,000 people in our community,” Bak explains. “Instead of patients having to physically go to the hospital to access specialty services for diagnosing and monitoring a condition, in many instances the patient can remain in the community and be serviced remotely with the use of technology.” Someone in the Command Centre will be monitoring, intercepting risk and expediting action when it is required, using analytics powerful enough to monitor the status of thousands of people, and not just the ones in the physical building.

“There are plenty of digital tools to make healthcare better, but they’re less effective when they are working independently of one another,” explains Bak. “Humber River Hospital’s new Command Center provides the much-needed synthesis to make all those systems work together.” The outcome? Reliable, high-quality care for more people.

Topics: Command Center, Hospital Command Center, Wall of Analytics

GE Healthcare Included in Fortune Magazine's Healthcare Tech Reinventors List

Posted by Matthew Smith on May 19, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Fortune Magazine recently previewed what a tech-optimized healthcare future might look like and identified 21 innovative companies in five categories—each of which is challenging the conventional approach to medicine.

GE Healthcare made Fortune Magazine's' list of reinventors with its work building a hospital command center at the Johns Hopkins Hospital

Of the partnership between GE Healthcare and the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Fortune writes:

"Cutting costs and catching on to illnesses as early as possible are major goals for this type of tech. But it can also be used to combat administrative headaches like long hospital wait times. Last October, GE Healthcare and the Johns Hopkins Hospital launched a fully digital hub to better manage everyday operations. The Judy Reitz Capacity Command Center gets a constant influx of data about important events at the hospital; it receives about 500 messages every minute from more than a dozen different Hopkins IT systems and with the help of predictive analytics turns this swamp of data into suggestions for action that prevent bottlenecks and get patients both into and out of the hospital faster.

And, according to Johns Hopkins at least, it’s showing impressive early results. The hospital says the command center has shaved more than an hour off the time it takes to dispatch an ambulance to another facility and that emergency room patients are assigned a bed 30% faster than before."

To read the full article in it's entirety on the Fortune Website, please click the button below:

Hospital Command Center 

Contact GE Healthcare to request more information about hospital command centers via the button below:

Capacity Command Centers

Topics: Hospital Command Center, Fortune Magazine, Healthcare Technology

Navigate the March Madness of Hospital Operations

Posted by Matthew Smith on Mar 22, 2017 11:07:51 AM

By Stephen Verdi, MS, Manager, GE Healthcare Camden Group

As a lifelong sports fan, a former athlete, and a Duke alum, there’s no month on the calendar that commands my attention quite like March. With March comes brackets, Cinderellas, buzzer-beaters, nail-biters, and the best 67 basketball games of the year. It’s time for the NCAA men’s Division I basketball tournament – affectionately and appropriately known as “March Madness.”

More than 350 teams have played through their 30-game regular season schedule for the opportunity to compete in the tournament. Now, for the 68 teams who made the cut, the real season starts. The National Championship is in sight, but now the stakes are higher, the room for error is gone, and the pressure is on.

In the world of hospital operations, it feels like we have entered our own version of March Madness. Years of process improvement and creative solutions to complex access challenges have served us well, allowing us to provide care to our patients as bed capacity has dwindled. We’ve competed well in a tough environment over the course of time. Despite our sweat and tears, the capacity challenges haven’t let up, and an evolution of policy, demographics, and models of care have put pressure on costs, created volatility, and continued to fill our beds. This has created a new environment that demands a different operating point to be successful. We’ve made it through our own sort of "regular season," but the tournament has started, and the games have gotten tougher.

At GE Healthcare, we work with health systems to develop Hospital Command Centers that shift us to a new operating point. We stay true to our belief that a strong foundation of mindful strategy and efficient process still punches your ticket into the tournament, while also recognizing that the decision support, situational awareness, and visibility offered by a Hospital Command Center are now necessary to excel in healthcare’s March Madness.

Fundamentals – Your Ticket to Play

To get the chance to compete for the NCAA National Championship, a team must first be one of the 68 teams selected to play in the annual tournament. The teams selected are those that assemble the best bodies of work over the course of the regular season (or those who get an automatic bid by winning their conference championship, but let’s keep it simple). Success in the regular season comes to those who generally get the fundamentals right-–take smart shots, limit turnovers, box out, hit free-throws, play hard-nosed defense, and so on. Strong execution of the basics helps a team win games, and teams who win games get the chance to play for the Championship. During the regular season, individual games matter less than the sum of a team’s performance. No single turnover will wreck the season. No single loss will exclude a team from contention for the NCAA tournament.

Like a team fighting to make the tournament, when we think about a hospital striving for world class operational performance, we first imagine a hospital that is nailing the basics – staffing nurses and ancillaries to match demand, aligning discharges to bed requests, reducing waste from the bed assignment process, designing efficient OR block schedules, right-sizing their bed mix, and so on. This is the work that many of us have been doing for a long time now, fending off the high costs of inefficiency. Process improvement has allowed us to operate at inpatient utilization rates near 80 or 85 percent. We still may not always feel comfortable at these occupancy levels, but we can care for our patients and deliver good outcomes. We may have declined the occasional outside transfer or left the occasional bed open while patients lined up in the Emergency Department, but we have performed well overall. By building smart capacity strategies and activating them through process improvement, we have made it through the regular season portion of our journey to top performance.

Stepping Up Your Game

After Selection Sunday, when the 68 tournament teams are announced, the whole game changes. There is a new level of pressure on teams who are now just one loss away from falling short of their goal. Whereas individual mistakes may not matter in the regular season, they can spell the end for a team during March Madness. Without a doubt the fundamentals these teams relied on all year will be critical during the tournament, but they now need to reach a new level of performance. They need to play flawless basketball through six (or seven) games while under intense pressure.

Today, under the many stresses of healthcare, our hospitals and health systems need to find ways to reach that next level of performance. We need to continue to pull the levers of capacity strategy and performance improvement, while also finding new ways to perform under more and more pressure. We are getting used to managing at 80 or 85 percent occupancy, but the time has come where we need to be capable and comfortable operating at 90 percent or 95 percent without sacrificing outcomes. Now is the time we look to Hospital Command Centers to raise our operating point. By bringing people, data, and information together, we make decisions faster and act faster. A Wall of Analytics with custom-built analytic tiles provides us with the situational awareness we need to see around corners. The ability of those tiles to make accurate predictions about the future allow us to prevent problems before they arise. With more information, more insights, more speed, and more operational horsepower, we hit a new level of performance. We no longer have to decline that transfer, or board that patient in the Emergency Department, or cancel that surgical case.

The Lasting Impact of Success

Winning the NCAA National Championship delivers much more than a banner in the rafters. The team that takes the trophy achieves a new stature on the national stage, forever to be recognized as a national champion. This recognition helps them recruit talented players who want to be part of a winning team. Better recruits lead to better teams, and better teams get prime-time games on television that attract viewers and sponsorships--further filling the recruiting funnel. On April 3rd, one of the 68 teams will win that last game of the tournament and be crowned National Champion. And while the celebration that night will be a good one, the real impact of the win will be felt for years to come.

A large East Coast academic medical center partnered with GE Healthcare to set out on their Hospital Command Center journey, seeking to bring their people and information together to help them better manage the operations of the hospital. In the summer of 2016, they opened a 2,550 square-foot Hospital Command Center in the center of their main hospital. While the opening ceremony was a great day for the staff and patients, the Command Center has continued to produce results well beyond the ribbon cutting:

  • Patient transfers from other hospitals: There has been a 60 percent improvement in the ability to accept patients with complex medical conditions from other hospitals around the region and country.
  • Ambulance pickup: A critical care team is now dispatched 63 minutes sooner to pick up patients from outside hospitals.
  • Emergency Department: A patient is assigned a bed 30 percent faster after a decision is made to admit him or her from the Emergency Department. Patients are also transferred 26 percent faster after they are assigned a bed.
  • Operating room: Transfer delays from the operating room after a procedure have been reduced by 70 percent.
  • Patient discharges: Twenty-one percent more patients are now discharged before noon, compared to last year.

For the next few weeks I’ll be tuned in to see how each of the 68 teams perform under the bright lights of the NCAA tournament. Each of them has done their job to deliver a strong regular season performance, now they will be shifting into a different gear to succeed in the tournament. By relying on their basics and playing mistake-free basketball, they’ll give themselves a good chance. At the same time, our hospitals will be striving for a path to their own version of success under the bright lights of high occupancy. By supplementing a culture of process improvement with the horsepower of a Hospital Command Center, they’ll get there.

Verdi.jpgMr. Verdi is a manager with GE Healthcare Camden Group specializing in the areas of patient throughput, capacity management, hospital simulation, data analysis, and change management. He also has experience in operating room scheduling, governance, care management, and length-of-stay reduction. Mr. Verdi brings over 10 years of GE experience in engineering, project management and healthcare consulting. He may be reached at 

Topics: Hospital Operations, Hospital Command Center, Capacity Management, Stephen Verdi

Early Data Show Hospital Command Center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital is Leading to Positive Impact on Patient Care

Posted by Matthew Smith on Oct 27, 2016 2:07:29 PM

The Johns Hopkins Hospital has launched a state-of-the-art, advanced hospital control center. The Judy Reitz Capacity Command Center, designed and built with GE Healthcare Partners (GE), combines the latest in systems engineering, predictive analytics and innovative problem-solving to better manage patient safety, experience, volume, and the movement of patients in and out of the hospital, enabling greater access to Johns Hopkins’ lifesaving services. The Capacity Command Center incorporates systems engineering principles, which are commonly seen in most complex industries, such as aerospace, aviation and power. But for health care, an industry that deals with critically ill patients, integrating these tools has been difficult.

Since it opened earlier this year, representatives from 50 health systems across the U.S. and from four countries have visited the Capacity Command Center. Early results demonstrate improved patient experience and operational outcomes in the following areas:

  • Patient transfers from other hospitals: There has been a 60 percent improvement in the ability to accept patients with complex medical conditions from other hospitals around the region and country.
  • Ambulance pickup: Johns Hopkins’ critical care team is now dispatched 63 minutes sooner to pick up patients from outside hospitals.
  • Emergency Department: A patient is assigned a bed 30 percent faster after a decision is made to admit him or her from the Emergency Department. Patients are also transferred 26 percent faster after they are assigned a bed.
  • Operating room: Transfer delays from the operating room after a procedure have been reduced by 70 percent.
  • Patient discharges: Twenty-one percent more patients are now discharged before noon, compared to last year.

To read more about the Command Center and its results, please click here.

To speak to the GE Healthcare team about Capacity Command Centers, please click the button below:

Capacity Command Centers

Topics: Command Center, Hospital Command Center, Capacity Command Center

Digital Twins Revolutionize Strategic Planning in Healthcare

Posted by Matthew Smith on Aug 29, 2016 1:04:36 PM

By Jeff Terry, MBA, FACHE, Managing Partner, GE Healthcare Partners

What’s a Digital Twin?

A digital twin virtualizes a hospital (or other) system to create a safe environment in which to test the impact of potential change on system performance. In other words, to play “what if?” with system dynamics. This is important because healthcare delivery is massively complex. Common sense, spreadsheets, and statistics just don’t have the horsepower to inform strategic decisions. 

Are Digital Twins New?

Not exactly. Digital twins use discrete-event-simulation techniques which have been around for 30 years and applied successfully in healthcare to model departments like radiology. But modeling a hospital above about 400 beds has proven too difficult for all but the most experienced modelers using the best tools. 

What is New?

What’s new is using digital twins to design efficient new hospitals and to redesign system dynamics in existing large hospitals. "System dynamics" includes bed mix, staffing, model of care, floorplan, bed algorithm, etc. This is becoming more common with better toolkits and more experienced practitioners at companies like GE and EY. For example: GE analytics consultants using our healthcare-specific simulation platform have modeled >1,000 bed academic medical centers 75% faster than teams of PhDs using traditional methods.  

How are Digital Twins Revolutionizing Strategic Planning?

Digial twins enable massively collaborative, data-driven, and scenario-based decision making. Without a digital twin, leaders rely on tribal knowledge and basic analysis to plan new facilities and next year’s budget for existing facilities. This is normal but it leaves much to be desired. With a digital twin, leaders virtually test changes to bed mix, bed algorithm, task assignment, floorplan, equipment, ALOS, model of care, staffing etc.

The traditional answer is to do our best and see what happens.

  • For example: neuro has recruited two new surgeons, medicine is closing a unit, we’re opening a transitional care unit, the State is buying our rehab unit to convert it to psych beds, and we expect to reduce ALOS for knees by .75 days and for general medicine by 0.2 days. What will that do to ED Boarding? What is our maximum volume with different scenarios of growth by cohort? Can we accommodate the neuro volume? What’s the best day to add these cases to the OR schedule?
  • With the Digital Twin, we learn that we can accommodate the volume but only if the ALOS work succeeds. We add the cases Wednesday and shift two orthopods from Thursday to Tuesday. Alternatively, we could upgrade the transitional care unit to an ICU (but that’s expensive). These answers lead to new questions… which are tested in the digital twin.

Digital Twins Revolutionize Planning in Four Ways:

Digital twins close the gap from “requirements” to system dynamics. Today this is a leap of faith. The simulation model closes that gap when we design new facilities, when we redesign existing patient flow, and when we convert service-line volume plans to annual budgets.

  1. Digital twins target process improvement efforts by putting each process improvement project into larger context. This enables us to charter projects with specific goals tied to both local and system performance. 

  2. Digital twins facilitate massively collaborative strategic planning. Health systems are full of super smart leaders with ideas. Those ideas need to be heard and tested. The digital twin gives us the tool do so. In many cases the result is to demonstrate that some ideas are bad. That’s a great result because it allows that leader to move forward and embrace the eventual strategy the Digital Twin helps to clarify.

  3. Digital twins can also power ongoing short-term forecasts. For example, when we build a digital twin in our Hospital of the Future Analytics Platform to redesign a medical center's system dynamics, we use the same simulation model to power predictive decision support apps outside-the- EMR.

In the end, digital twins help leaders design and execute models of care which are good for patients, families and caregivers. Revolutionary.

 Digital Twins, Capacity Management, Hospital Operations

Jeff_Terry.jpgMr. Terry is a Managing Principal of Healthcare Partners, the consulting arm of GE Healthcare that works with healthcare systems to define and achieve transformational outcomes related to quality, access, culture and cost. Partners' capabilities include management consulting, mobilizing change, technology integration and advanced analytics. He has a diverse background in consulting, sales, product development, Lean Six Sigma, business strategy, and services. Areas of focus have included clinical asset management, patient safety, patient flow, hospital operations, radiology and advanced analytics. He may be reached at


Topics: Hospital Operations, Command Center, Jeff Terry, Hospital Command Center, Capacity Command Center, Capacity Management, Digital Twins, Hospital Occupancy

NASA-like Command Centers are Coming to Hospitals

Posted by Matthew Smith on Jun 20, 2016 2:40:16 PM

By John Flannery, President and CEO at GE Healthcare

I often ask those who work in other fields how they view healthcare. Do they see an industry rife with cost challenges and complexity? Do they wonder why we want to be a part of it?

They wouldn’t be wrong, but I wouldn’t choose any other job.

Yes, the volume of patients needing care is rapidly increasing, but so is the data available to make decisions about that care. Resistant diseases are smarter, but advanced technology and medicines are outsmarting those diseases. Managing a hospital is more complex today, but building a digital and analytics infrastructure to manage these logistics is more possible than yesterday.

I saw this in action at The Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) this month. In the center of their campus in Baltimore, Maryland is a room with walls made of 22 high resolution screens. Numbers, charts and live video flash across them. The hospital staff flows in and out, scanning the screens and making quick decisions based on what they see. It’s what I imagine the inside of NASA might look like before a rocket launch – in fact, JHH calls it their Capacity Command Center. From here – the first predictive patient-experience control center – the staff is running their hospital with the help of a new source: predictive analytics.

One app on these screens uses a digital-twin of the hospital to predict patient activity for the next 48 hours. Another algorithm tells the staff which room turn or patient discharge would reduce wait time. Yet another senses when pressure on a unit is nearing a dangerous situation for patient care, a rare but critical measure.

When JHH, one of the leading health institutions, told the GE Healthcare Partners team that high demand was challenging their capacity to see more patients, we worked alongside the hospital staff to find a holistic solution. In this case, it was the Capacity Command Center, including GE custom-built software that could transform how they manage operations.

Back to my earlier questions: such transformations let a business like us seize the opportunity to be more than a technology provider. Because of our scale and reach, we work with healthcare providers of all shapes and sizes across the world, from Baltimore to Bangalore, to solve similar challenges. We have an obligation to use that vantage point to find and share solutions that work. To be a leading ideas provider.

For a 124-year old startup like GE, it’s an exciting time when we can adapt to what the world needs.

For patients, it promises to be a welcome improvement of less wait time and improved care. For clinicians, it can mean more time freed up to focus on those patients.

And if you ever want to meet people in healthcare who would never change what they do, speak with these clinicians, the care teams who work tirelessly, NASA-like Command Center or not, to help others get better.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? That’s reason #2.

bio_Flannery.jpgJohn Flannery is the President and CEO of GE Healthcare, an $18 billion business unit of General Electric that provides transformational medical technologies and solutions to the global healthcare industry. GE Healthcare supports customers in over 100 countries with a broad range of services and systems, from diagnostic imaging and healthcare IT through to molecular diagnostics and life-sciences. John was appointed to his current role in October 2014.


Topics: Hospitals, Command Center, Hospital Command Center, Healthcare Transformation, John Flannery, Capacity Command Center

5 Things to Get Right in Your Hospital Command Center

Posted by Matthew Smith on Apr 14, 2016 11:56:48 AM

“Command Centers” are happening in healthcare. A few examples:

  • The Johns Hopkins Hospital set a new bar with their “Capacity Command Center” in January (View overview video here)
  • On a smaller scale, New York Presbyterian opened their “ Patient Placement Operations Center” in February
  • UCLH in London published an RFP for a “Coordination Center” in March

But how to design your “Command Center?” How will it help patients? How much to budget? How will it pay for itself? What IT is needed? 

Last week, six GE leaders met to discuss their work imagining, designing, and building command centers in the US, UK, Canada and Saudi Arabia. The first aha was that while every situation is unique and national health systems vary, the strategic objectives of providers investing in command centers are strikingly similar around the world:  How to optimize utilization of limited resources while preserving clinical quality, patient experience and staff experience? How to achieve a step-function improvement in integration and coordination of care? 

This is a huge topic. Here are five considerations for every team thinking of investing:

1. Command Center design is about more than apps and a room. The important thing is to design each facet of the command center based on the specific problems the command center is meant to address. Without being dogmatic, GE’s approach considers at least seven dimensions:Command_Center.png
  • Functions. What functions must your Command Center perform or enhance? Real-time operations management? Patient scheduling?  Staff scheduling? Risk surveillance?
  • Location. Where is the Command Center? Best to consider several options and make a final decision as other aspects of the design mature and constraints become clearer.
  • Shared Information. What information on the “big board” will creates situational awareness, risk awareness and drive action? Information must be real-time, simple, actionable, and take data from many source systems.
  • Interactions, Procedures and Operating Mechanisms. What actions do staff take in response to alerts? How?
  • Physical space. How big should it be? Ceiling height? How many workstations? How many conference rooms?  How should the environment be designed to maximize productivity and engagement of Command Center staff?
  • What staff will be collocated? What new roles will be created?  How will roles and responsibilities change? 
  • Goals & Metrics.
  • Multi-Generational Plan.
  • Contact GE here for a full description of our design methodology
2. Command Centers are exciting but not a silver bullet. They will not by themselves solve patient flow, utilization, safety, and capacity problems. Command Center must be part of an overall transformation. Command_Center_Sacred_Cows.pngWithin the context of that larger program the Command Center should play two essential roles:
  • Central hub for decision making in the context of the enterprise-situation and for the benefit of every patient
  • Center of gravity for continuous improvement. A great Command Center should capture the staff’s imagination and send a clear signal about the imperative to reach next-level efficiency. This should be a catalyst to take on sacred cows: from scheduled variation to disputes between services to better coordination with upstream and downstream providers. In short: Command Centers use data to focus improvement efforts and capture knowledge to enable continuous learning.

3. Command center apps must be agnostic to source systems. Command Center apps create information by applying logic to data from many source systems. At our client’s Command Center in Baltimore, for example, we process real-time messages from 18 different source systems from 8 different vendors. Just as an air traffic control tower is more than just flight ops, so a hospital command center is much more than bed management. Command_Center_Trees.pngWhat’s important is to connect the dots from many islands of data: beds, ORIS, EDIS, orders, ADT, transport, codes, etc.

4. Coordinating an enterprise is different from coordinating departments. It is the Command Center’s role to make sense of the many flows of patients through many departments across many resources. This requires many sources of data and it requires new thinking from command center staff. Legacy notions of “bed management” and “scheduling” must evolve such that siloes are broken down and staff are empowered and equipped to think for the enterprise rather than a function.

5. Command Centers should anticipate bottlenecks and risk. This is hard to do in healthcare but has been achieved in other complex industries. Imagine running an airport without an air traffic control tower with visibility to food service, ground control, crew scheduling, flight operations, etc. Yet this how we expect our hospitals to function. Command Centers with predictive information that prompts proactive action can change this. To do this, GE creates a digital twin of the hospital which simulates the flow of each patient along their pathway based on the local practice of care. To our knowledge, only GE has been able to achieve unit-census-forecasting with accuracy sufficient to drive action over the next 24-48 hours.

Command Centers are significant investments of time, energy and money. To realize their potential we must design them well.

Related Content

In Command: The Rise of Capacity Command Centers in Healthcare

Meet the Command Center Team

Andy_Day.jpgAndy Day is a Principal of GE Healthcare Partners. He leads analytic design and consulting for Productivity Solutions. 






Geoffrey Martin is an Executive Vice President for GE Healthcare Camden Group. He leads the Care Delivery Management Practice in the US.





Mark_Ebbens.pngMark Ebbens is a Senior Partner of GE Healthcare Finnamore in the UK and Europe.





Zahava_Uddin.jpgZahava Uddin is Director for GE Healthcare Partners in Canada. 





Fida_Ghantous.jpgFida Ghantous is a Managing Principal of GE Healthcare Partners. He leads GEHC Partners in the Middle East and India.




Jeff_Terry.jpgJeff Terry is a Managing Principal of GE Healthcare Partners. He leads Productivity Solutions globally.




Topics: Geoffrey Martin, Command Center, Jeff Terry, Hospital Command Center, Capacity Command Center

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