Nemours Children’s Launches Clinical Logistics Center, Bringing Air Traffic Control Strategies to Healthcare
More than a decade ago, Stephen Lawless, MD, senior vice president and chief clinical officer at Nemours Children’s Health System, recognized similarities between hospitals and airports, and decided to adopt an air traffic control “command center” model to streamline operations in the Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando.
Nemours’ initiative, called the Clinical Logistics Center, is a special unit that uses the latest technology to enable specially trained paramedics to monitor patients remotely using a host of technologies. This allows center staff to follow patients’ vital signs and test results. The center also automatically pulls data from the patient’s electronic health record, displaying it in a dashboard to help draw a clear picture of the child’s health status.
Lawless explains that the driving force for creating this center really stems from his ICU training a few decades ago, when he noticed that so many alarms go off every few seconds in hospitals. With most of them being for non-critical events, staff can become immune to them after a while, and this can pose real risks. The biggest danger with such alarm fatigue is that when a real life-threatening event occurs, staff may overlook the alarm or not respond quickly enough.
“When we initially set out to design this center, I thought we should look to air traffic control for some strategies. All of the flight monitoring is done in a million-dollar shop monitored by two or three people. This made me wonder: ‘Why can’t we adopt something similar?’” Lawless says. This led Nemours to envision its current logistics center, which looks like something out of an action-packed movie, complete with paramedics following patients’ progress on walls of monitors that show key health indicators and risk factors in an easy-to-follow fashion.
Learn more: Is a Central “Command Center” in Your Future?
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