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September 16, 2010

UPMC, IBM partner on smart hospital rooms

UPMC and IBM are teaming up to bring “smarter” hospital rooms to patients nationwide. Created by UPMC three years ago to bring the correct patient information to the bedside when it’s needed, the high-tech “smart room” now features new capabilities, namely a system for automatically organizing and prioritizing the work of nurses and other caregivers. Under an agreement, IBM will be the exclusive sales channel for the SmartRoom solution and will help to implement the technology for customers.

First tested at UPMC Shadyside, the SmartRoom capabilities have been expanded to 24 rooms at UPMC Montefiore. Using small ultrasound tags from Sonitor Technologies, the SmartRoom system identifies health care workers wearing the tags as they walk into a patient’s room, displaying the person’s identity and role on a wall-mounted monitor visible to patients.

At the same time, the SmartRoom solution automatically provides the clinician with relevant, real-time patient information pulled from the electronic medical record, including allergies, vital signs, test results and medications that are due. The information shown on the caregiver’s monitor is tailored to the needs of the specific worker.

IBM’s funding for SmartRoom comes from a $50 million co-development fund created by UPMC and IBM in 2005, when they entered into an eight-year agreement to transform UPMC’s information technology infrastructure while developing and commercializing clinical solutions.

After developing its own prototype of the system, UPMC worked with IBM to create more open interfaces with back-end systems. By redesigning the solution with a service-oriented architecture, SmartRoom can deploy the technology more broadly at UPMC and other health care providers.

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Filed under: Feature,Volume 43 Issue 2

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