GE begins trials of its Smart Patient Room health-monitoring project at New York's Bassett Medical Center to keep hospitals sanitary and to eliminate medical errors.
received the go-ahead from the Institutional Review Board at Bassett
, in Cooperstown, N.Y.,
to begin testing its Smart Patient Room health-monitoring technology at the
of GE's Healthymagination initiative, the Smart Patient Room can determine,
among other things, whether soap and sanitizer dispensers are used by medical
personnel before and after seeing a patient.
to Scott Gallagher, a senior consultant for GE Healthcare, RFID sensors are
installed in dispensers for soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizers to determine
when medical personnel are using them and following hygiene protocol.
addition to hand hygiene compliance, the technology tracks when patients get in
and out of bed to help prevent falls. The Smart Patient Room also monitors
clinical roundups to ensure that clinicians check in on patients at least once
per hour, Gallagher told eWEEK.
technology consists of optical sensors, RFID tags, facial recognition, computer
vision algorithms, cameras and speakers installed in existing hospital rooms to
monitor patient safety and reduce medical errors, according to GE. Medical
errors are a leading cause of death in the United
States, organizations such as the Institute of Medicine
and Millennium Research Group
to Gallagher, an AI engine sits on top of the RFID signals. "Through
computer vision algorithms, we can detect people and track them as they go
through the room," he said. The monitoring system then issues an
alert when it detects a risk, such as patient movement or facial expressions
indicating a possible stroke. A doctor or nurse can then check on the patient
to either make sure the patient is safe or start treatment.
goal here is to use this approach to sense the motion, action of individuals, and
then determine whether they're within a given policy and work toward better
outcomes," Peter Tu, research scientist for GE's Global Research
, told eWEEK.
the Smart Patient Room platform to an iPhone running an abundance of
applications, Tu expects hospitals to use the technology to detect patient
delirium, particularly as a result of a medication reaction; check for ulcers;
and watch for signs of pain or stroke based on facial expressions.
noted that the wires are connected to sensors behind the walls and that PCs
would transmit motion and action rather than actual video to protect patients'
privacy. "We ensure privacy of individuals," he said.
added that the sensors and monitoring would not be visible to patients.
"What's important is that the technology is transparent to the patient and
to the care provider," he explained. "It's the data that comes from
the sensor technology that creates the value for the hospital."
technology was developed at GE's Global
in Niskayuna, N.Y.,
and will be tested at the Bassett Medical
Center inpatient teaching facility.
The pilot project marks GE's first implementation of the Smart Patient Room in
a clinical environment, according to Gallagher.
to this point we've been refining and developing this technology at the GE
Global Research Center, essentially in a lab setup to mock a patient
room," Gallagher said. He explained that the "chaos and
uncertainty" of a live hospital setting will be required to create a
reliable product that is ready for commercial use.
announced the project on Sept. 15 at its Global
Future of Health Care Technology event. The product could be available for
commercial use by hospitals within a year or two, Gallagher said.